Walmart and the elements of business

The history of Walmart is quite interesting and goes all the way back to the 1960’s. Walmart was started by a man named Sam Walton and his brother. Mr. Walton had a degree in economics and used this degree to secure a management trainee position at JC Penny’s. With his degree and experience he gained working at JC Penny’s he, along with his brother, opened a Ben Franklin store. By the late 50’s they owned 9 Ben Franklin franchises. Mr. Walton and his brother had a vision to bring large retail stores with low, low prices to small towns.

They took this idea to Ben Franklin franchise owners but they did not agree on dropping the prices as low as the Walton’s believed they should in order to be successful. Because of this, the Walton brothers decided to open their own retail store, and so it began, the first Walmart store was opened in 1962 in Rogers, AK by the Walton brothers.

Today there are over 4,000 Walmart Stores in the U.S. and over 3,000 internationally so they must be covering the elements of business quite well. For starters they believe in and value excellent customer service, as well as taking care of their associates. They care about the store wide morale amongst their associates in each and every store. They want to know from the insiders perspective what changes could be made. They do surveys amongst consumers and their associates to stay on top of the ever changing needs of the retail world and its clients.

They want to know what the people want from both sides of the ball game so to speak. Legally, the environment is quite complicated in today’s world. Back in 1962, things weren’t so complicated but just like technology, laws and regulations are always changing and being created. In today’s world many laws have been created, so many that keeping track of making sure you follow them as a business can be quite tricky.

Particularly, the lawsuit is so popular these days that Walmart, as well as, any retail business must be careful to cover all bases with its consumers as well as its employees. For instance, a law suit could arise because of discrimination or sexual harassment in the work place from the employee side of things. Or, a law suit could arise from the consumer side of things.

A consumer could slip on an icy walk way leading into the store and sue because the business didn’t make their entrance walk way safe. These types of lawsuits are filed in the work place every day all over the world. As for regulations, Walmart has a huge job taking care of following regulations properly. This is so important because they vary from state to state and nation to nation even. A mandatory regulation in one state, city or town may not be the same in another.

Things work the same in overseas stores; they must follow the guidelines and regulations of the country they are in. I’m sure Walmart has a great team of legal representation to handle all of these issues. The social environment of a business is also a key consideration. Every time Walmart opens a new store they must factor in the social environment. The social environment is very important because a business must look at the social and cultural background of the people that populate the area the business plans to open in. You wouldn’t market Mexican food in an area that was populated with Chinese people.

Well you could, but chances are you’d fail before you even started. Socially Walmart looks at location and decides where to put a store based on the people that populate the area they are interested in opening a store. Economically, Walmart provides jobs to a community and also provides goods and services to the consumer. Walmart makes a big impact because of the low prices it offers consumers.

However, recently they have been under attack regarding labor issues and relations. It is important that Walmart sticks to their motto of always listening and caring about what their associates ideas and experiences are. It has been said in the recent past that Walmart says they treat their employees well but there have been cases recently where this was found not to be true unfortunately.

Treating employees unfairly could have a negative economic impact on the community because if workers aren’t treated fairly then no one wants to work for the company that’s not treating their employees well. Which then has a domino effect because chances are, if that’s the case, then people will begin to bash Walmart driving consumers away to possibly purchase from other retailers. This would not be a positive economic environment at all and the chances of the business failing would be pretty good. To best maintain a thriving legal, social and economical environment Walmart needs to have in place a good management structure and for the most part I think they do.

If they didn’t they would not have risen to be one of the largest retailers in the world over the past almost 50 years. They have a company-wide management structure that all stores abide by. This structure includes planning and promotions, goal setting amongst employees, organizing how operations flow on a day to day basis, directing its employees and controlling finances.

In order to operate Walmart has to provide services to consumers and make a profit off providing these services. To do that Walmart must constantly stay on top of how the stores are run on a daily basis. To operate a business and be successful you must treat your customers well and provide them with a top notch product. You must maintain a clean environment. You must treat your employees fairly. You must watch your employees and make sure that they are doing what they should be doing. Operating a business is a big job but if you operate it to the best of your ability following all proper procedure you will be successful. I think Walmart does this for the most part.

Financially, a lot of issues come into play when running a business and Walmart has seen a lot of issues. They have been successful financially but they have also had issues with labor disputes which have cost them financially in the recent past. This is just one area of concern when it comes to finances and running a business. Financial issues have to do with how much money you spend to run your business vs. how much money you make by selling your product. You always want to sell more than you spend. If you don’t you could find your self in debt and this could lead to the failure of your business.

Walmart has never really had serious financial issues because of the way it’s marketed the products they offer. They sell products for cheap and keep a low spending budget on the other end. They also purposely build stores near their warehouses so that they don’t have to spend a lot to get the products to the stores to sell. They save a lot of money by doing this.

Financial issues also have to do with employee compensation. Walmart recently had problems with employees feeling like they didn’t make enough money for the work and hours they had to put in. In some cities, these employees felt like they weren’t being compensated for their time because they were working long hours and not getting paid overtime. This was because Walmart had a strict policy about overtime. While it’s good to have such policies to save money, you can’t expect people to put in long hours and not be compensated. This is just another example of a financial issue a business may face.

Finally, when it comes to the ever changing technology, I feel that Walmart has done a terrific job with keeping up with the fast paced technological environment. The biggest example in my opinion is Walmart.com. I feel that by taking Walmart to the internet it has only increased its potential profits. There are so many people that shop online these days that Walmart is smart to have online shopping opportunities for its consumers.

To sum it up I feel that Walmart is a fine example of a business well run in today’s every changing competitive business society. I am a loyal customer and plan on being one for many years to come! References

“Walmart” Dictionary of American History. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. 11 Jul. 2010 Walmart.com

References Carbone, Jim; Make or buy? Now, it's a little easier to decide. Purchasing; 7/11/96, Vol. 120 Issue 11, p116, 2p