Walmart part three: planning

Founded in 1962, Wal-Mart has continued to uphold its mission statement of “Save Money. Live Better.” Wal-Mart shows commitment and appreciation to its customers by valuing them through everyday low prices. Customers can trust Wal-Mart because of their low price guarantee. Building a relationship with customers is an essential part of Wal-Mart’s mission because it allows them to meet their customers’ expectations and provide superior customer service. In return of the customer experience, all customers are encouraged to provide feedback to help improve elements Wal-Mart may lack, as well as provide positive feedback in regards to what they’re doing right.

Wal-Mart stays true to its mission statement by continuously returning to the wisdom of their founder, Sam Walton: “If we work together, we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone…we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life” (Farfan). Strategic Goals/Plans: Level 2

It’s important to Wal-Mart’s future as a business, to continue expanding its customer base, increase sales, and stay innovative. It’s no easy feat to achieve, but when Wal-Mart noticed an increase in white-collar consumers because of the recent economic downturn, they seized the opportunity to accommodate their new demographic by embarking on an aspiring U.S. store remodel program as part of its three-year strategic plan appropriately named, Project Impact. At the center of this new plan are 10 strategic words:

Save Money. Live Better. Win. Play. Show. Fast. Friendly. Clean. With Save Money, Live Better, Wal-Mart is hoping to establish trust with their customers by showing their continued devotion towards value, not just low prices.

While price leadership is always an important strategy for Wal-Mart, they want their customers to feel as though they’re not just saving money, but also getting a quality product in return. Their goal, Win, Play, Show, has a more “out with the old and in with the new” approach with a plan to reduce clutter and bring a sense of clarity to their merchandising strategy. Fast, Friendly, Clean, refers to the customer’s overall experience in the store with cleanliness and efficiency as its primary focus. By enhancing the overall convenience and atmosphere of their stores, Wal-Mart hopes to achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Tactical Goals/Plans: Level 3

With the strategic goals set in place, Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart stores, and his team set off to develop specific plans to make these goals a reality. For starters, they reduced store inventory by 15 percent which helped exponentially to de-clutter the store. Additionally, they decided to lower the shelves and develop a more streamlined approach to shopping the various departments throughout the store. While recognizing a possible disconnect with customers from reducing the inventory, they decided to combat this by enticing customers with coveted electronics, as well as integrating private label products.

By adding this collection to the shelves, Wal-Mart will increase revenue and save their customers money by offering a lower price than its competitors. Other departments, such as the craft section also experienced an increase in popular items in order to provide a more satisfying experience. For shoppers who may miss certain products in store, Wal-Mart will offer a more extensive online inventory. Excluding certain low-end clothing lines was also a tactical move toward creating a more refined apparel department that’s comparable to Target’s selection.

With the success of the $4 Prescription Drug Plan, Wal-Mart decided to create a more easily accessible pharmacy by relocating it to the front-middle of stores, thus maximizing profits and demand. The Grocery department also faced changes with the essentials transferred to the back of store, exposing shoppers to more merchandise along the way.

Bill Simon, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Wal-Mart, firmly believes that customer satisfaction is the definitive goal: “The net effect is you open up the customer space, you improve the shopping experience, and you provide access and visibility to departments in the store that were previously difficult to shop” (Daft). Operational Goals/Plans: Level 4

At the operational level, it is Front-Line management’s responsibility to follow through with the tactical plans set forth by middle management in order to achieve the company’s strategic goals. It is now more important than ever to keep shelves fully stocked and to keep an efficient ordering process of products from the distribution center on time due to the 15 percent decrease in store inventory. These two changes will keep consumers coming back because of Wal-Mart’s availability of products.

One of the ways front-line managers can help with the ease of shopping for their customers is by setting up more prominent displays to create a simple shopping environment. By doing so, customers will more likely spark an interest for the item or feel a sense of relief for the ease of finding the item. An indirect way management better serves their customers is by providing proper training to all employees and determining effective employee scheduling to better meet the store’s needs.

This training can engage employees to envision Wal-Mart’s mission statement and effectively execute it. It’s also important that managers enforce policies, follow procedures and adhere to rules set forth by Wal-Mart. Showcasing Wal-Mart’s true service to employees and customers alike, we must look at the core of Wal-Mart stores corporate culture:

* Open Door Policy - Managers' doors are open to employees at all levels * Sundown Rule - Answering employee, customer, and supplier questions on the same day the questions are received * Grass Roots Process - Capturing suggestions and ideas from the sales floor and front lines. * 3 Basic Beliefs & Values - Respect for the Individual, Service to our Customers, Striving for Excellence. * 10-Foot Rule - Making eye contact, greeting, and offering help to customers who come within 10 feet.

* Servant Leadership - Leaders are in service to their team. * Wal-Mart Cheer - An actual structured chant that was created by founder Sam Walton to lift morale every morning (Farfan). It’s up to managers to follow through with these policies and demonstrate leadership by being a good role model to their employees. It’s with their implementation in stores, that tactical and ultimately strategic goals are achieved. Wal-Mart's strategy to renovate its stores is a great answer to the recession in order to win over its new target market. The many goals it has set in place for the future are a positive attribute to its corporate culture and customer satisfaction.