Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

(Branded as Walmart) is an American public corporation that runs a chain of large, discount department stores. It is the world’s largest public corporation by revenue, according to the 2008 Fortune Global 500. The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962, incorporated on October 31, 1969, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1972. Wal- Mart is the largest private employer

and the largest grocery retailer in the United States. It also owns and operates the Sam’s Club retail warehouses in North America. Walmart operates in Mexico as Walmex, in the United Kingdom as Asda, in Japan as Seiyu, and in India as Best Price.

It has wholly-owned operations in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Wal-Mart’s investments outside North America have had mixed results: its operations in South America and China are highly successful, while it was forced to pull out of Germany and South Korea when ventures there were unsuccessful. Conversely, others point out that Wal-Mart’s rapid growth and logistical efficiency has enabled it to bring lower prices to consumers and more low paying jobs and new small businesses to the communities in which it operates.

WAL-MART’S SUPPLY CHAINProcurement and distributionWal-mart always emphasized the need to reduce its purchasing costs and offer best prices to its customers . The company procured goods directly from manufacturers bypassing all intermediaries. wall mart was a tough negotiator on prices and finalized a purchase deal only when it was fully confident that products being bought were not available else where at a lower price. Wal-mart had over 40 distribution centers located at different geographical locations in the US. Over 80000 items were stocked in these centers.

Wal marts own warehouses directly supplied over 85 % of the inventory as compared to 65% by competitors. Each distribution center was divided into different sections on the basis of quantity of goods received. The distribution center ensured a steady supply and consistent supply of products to support the

supply function.Wal mart used sophisticated bar-coded technology and hand held computer systems, managing the center became easier and more economical. Every employee had access to real time information regarding inventory levels of all products in the center. Logistics management

An important feature of wal marts logistics infrastructure is that it was fast and responsive transportation system. The distribution centers were serviced by more than 3500 company owned trucks. This vast fleet allowed the company to ship goods from distribution centers to stores within two days and replenishes the stores shelves twice a week. Wal mart generally moved the merchandise loaded trailers from the distribution centers to the retail stores serviced by each distributing center.

Retail stores were considered as customers by the distribution centers. To make the distribution process more efficient wal mart made use of a logistics technique known as cross docking. In this system the finished goods were directly picked up from the manufacturing plant of a supplier sorted out and directly supplied to customers. The system reduced handling and storage costs.

Inventory managementWal mart had developed an ability to cater to the individual needs of its stores . Stores could choose from a number of delivery plans . For instance there was an accelerated delivery system by which stores located within a certain distance of a geographical center would receive replenishment within a day. Wal mart invested heavily in IT and communication systems to effectively track sales and merchandise inventories in stores across the country . wal mart set up its own satellite communication system in 1983 .

wal mart was able to reduce unproductive inventory by allowing stores to manage their own stocks, reducing pack sizes across many product categories and timely price mark downs. Instead of cutting inventory across the board wal mart made full use of its it capabilities to make more inventories available in case of items customers most wanted while reducing overall inventory levels. Wal mart networked its suppliers through computers. It also helped in identifying items which were low in stock and automated

ordering. It also made use of bar-coding and RFID to manage its inventories . it invested 4 billion to build a retail link. By making efficient use of technology in all its operations wal mart successfully provides uninterrupted service to its customers suppliers stock holders and trading partners

ConclusionThe benefits of an efficient supply chain management included reduction in lead time faster inventory turnover accurate forecasting increased warehouse space reduction in safety stock and better working capital utilization. It also helped in reducing the dependency on distribution center management personnel resulting in minimization of training costs and errors. Stock outs were also completely eliminated