Analyzing the issues concerning supply chain management of Walmart
Task: Select a company or organisation with which you are familiar. This organisation may be your employer, or another organisation for which you can access sufficient information. Raw or primary data is not required, you may use publicly available observations or secondary sources of data. Research and conduct an audit / practical assessment / feasibility study on one of the topics from this subject, selecting a potential area of opportunity for your chosen organisation, including recommendations on areas of improvement. Consider the benefits, cost and risks of going forward on one of these topics, and the strategic implications of doing so. The topic covered could be quite broad; for example, use of Industry 4.0 technologies in this organisation’s supply chain, supply chain innovations in the organisation, or it could be a focused investigation on a narrow topic; for example, just-in-time inventory management or direct to store delivery.
A chain of grocery stores, cheap department stores, and hypermarkets are all operated by one of the largest retail companies in the world, Walmart. Sam Walton founded Walmart in 1962, and it has since expanded to become a major force in the global retail market. The company is well-known for its competitive pricing, wide range of products, and effective supply chain management techniques.Walmart runs a sizable distribution network that consists of a network of local distribution centers, fulfilment centers, and cross-docking facilities (Walmart, 2023). Products are distributed to Walmart stores or to customers directly from these facilities after being received from suppliers, sorted, and combined.Sustainability and moral sourcing methods are valued by Walmart. To ensure that social and environmental criteria are being met, the company closely collaborates with its suppliers (Winata&Ellitan, 2023). It has put into place programs like the Sustainability Index, which rates and encourages sustainable practices throughout the supply chain.
In this assignment, we will pay particular attention to Walmart's supply chain management department, which is essential to ensuring the efficient movement of goods from suppliers to Walmart stores (Walmart, 2023). To improve the overall effectiveness of the supply chain, supply chain management entails coordinating several different tasks, such as sourcing, procurement, inventory management, logistics, and distribution.
Background information in theory:
There are various important concepts and frameworks that are included in supply chain management. A well-known framework is the Supply Chain Council's Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model. A supply chain's various components, including plan, source, make, deliver, and return, can all be managed using the comprehensive framework offered by SCOR (Winata&Ellitan, 2023). In addition, supply chain management requires an understanding of ideas like lean management, just-in-time (JIT) inventories, and collaborative forecasting.The Supply Chain Council, currently a component of the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), was responsible for creating the SCOR model. There are five main categories of process in it:
Plan: This area focuses on creating strategies, establishing goals for the supply chain, and balancing supply and demand.
Source: Choosing suppliers, settling contracts, and managing relationships with suppliers all fall under this category.
Make: Schedule, quality assurance, and capacity management are all included in this area, which is concerned with the manufacturing or production processes within the supply chain (Elder,2019).
Deliver: This category includes all tasks involved in completing an order, such as managing the order, running the warehouse, moving the order, and providing customer care.
Return: This category includes methods for managing product returns, repairs, and reverse logistics.
In order to assess performance and pinpoint areas for improvement, organizations can use the SCOR model, which also provides performance indicators and best practices for each process category.Businesses can improve efficiency, lower costs, and boost customer satisfaction by streamlining their supply chain operations utilizing the SCOR model. It offers a structure and common language for supply chain professionals to communicate and collaborate in order to improve their processes.
In the present, Walmart's supply chain management has been hampered by a number of issues, particularly in recent years. Globalization, erratic demand patterns, and disruptive technology have all contributed to the global supply chain's growing complexity, which has become a significant problem (Winata&Ellitan, 2023). Because of these complications, it has become difficult to manage supplier relationships, maintain effective inventory levels, and improve transportation and logistics.
Walmart's supply chain has been significantly damaged by the COVID-19 outbreak, as have supply chains all throughout the world. Due to lockdowns and limitations, there were logistical difficulties brought on by the epidemic, as well as disruptions in the supply of products and increased demand for necessities. In order to satisfytheof consumer demands and guarantee the availability of vital goods, Walmart had to quickly change its supply chain.
Response from the Company
Walmart has made several moves to address the issues in the management of its supply chain. To increase forecasting accuracy, optimize inventory levels, and boost operational effectiveness, the company has invested in cutting-edge technology, including data analytics, artificial intelligence, and automation (Pandey et al. 2021). Additionally, Walmart has concentrated on strengthening relationships with suppliers, adopting environmental programs, and optimizing its logistics and distribution networks.To increase forecasting accuracy, optimise inventory levels, and better plan for demand, Walmart makes use of sophisticated analytics and data-driven insights. As a result, there are fewer stockouts or excess inventories and improved decision-making is enabled (Bal&Pawlicka, 2021).
Walmart has generally responded to issues with the supply chain in a praiseworthy way. The business has shown flexibility in adjusting to shifting market conditions and investing in cutting-edge solutions to enhance the efficiency of its supply chain.End-to-end visibility throughout its supply chain is a priority for Walmart. They may track products in real-time, increase traceability, and respond promptly to problems or recalls by utilizing technology like blockchain and RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) (Bal&Pawlicka, 2021). The business consistently improves the efficiency and reduces costs of its transportation network. To reduce fuel use and emissions, Walmart uses a variety of tactics, including route optimization, load consolidation, and the use of alternative fuels. Walmart places a strong emphasis on continuous improvement and aggressively solicits input from its staff, vendors, and consumers to see where improvements may be made. To respond to changing consumer expectations and market trends, they routinely review and improve their supply chain operations.
Options and suggestions:
Walmart might consider the following methods to better improve its supply chain management:
1. Strengthening Supplier Collaboration: By introducing vendor-managed inventory (VMI) programs, collaborative forecasting, and shared data platforms, Walmart may promote tighter collaboration with its suppliers (Elder,2019). As a result of assisting in raising overall supply chain responsiveness, lowering stockouts, and increasing demand visibility.
2. Implementing Blockchain Technology: To increase traceability, transparency, and confidence in its supply chain, Walmart may look at using blockchain technology (Zhang,2023). In addition to verifying authenticity and expediting procedures like product recalls, blockchain can provide secure and real-time tracking of products.
3. Sustainable supply chain practices: Walmart should keep up its emphasis on sustainability by encouraging green procedures all along its supply chain. In order to minimize waste, cut down on carbon emissions, and improve transportation routes, this may include tight collaboration with suppliers.
These suggestions will help Walmart, to improve its area of supply chain problem. This will also help the concerned organization to maintain a sustainable practices throughout the year.
Walmart should take the following actions to implement the suggested solutions successfully:
1. Identify opportunities for improvement and potential bottlenecks by doing a thorough study of the present supply chain procedures.
2. Participate in cooperative negotiations with suppliers to align goals and create cooperative efforts.
3. To assess the effectiveness of new technology and procedures, pilot test them in a few areas or product categories.
4. During the implementation phase, create training programs and help both suppliers and staff.
5. Key performance indicators (KPIs) should be monitored and measured to determine areas that need more amplification and to gauge the impact of adjustments that have been made.
6. Maintain openness and alignment throughout the implementation process by sharing regular progress updates with stakeholders such as employees, vendors, and other parties.
7. In order to maintain improvement and responsiveness, continuously assess and modify the strategies that have been put into place based on feedback, market dynamics, and developing trends.
8. Create a feedback system to collect opinions and ideas from clients, vendors, and staff to promote innovation and handle any problems or difficulties.
9. In order to stay current on new trends, best practices, and technical developments in supply chain management, work with academics, industry experts, and technology partners (Cao, Zhang& Ma, 2019).
10. Walmart may efficiently implement the advised choices and strategies by adhering to this thorough implementation strategy.
Walmart's supply chain management is essential to the company's success as a major international retailer. In spite of obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic's disruptive effects and the world supply chain's growing complexity, Walmart has proven its resilience and adaptability in dealing with these problems.The business has proven its dedication to improving supply chain performance through its responses to supply chain difficulties, which have included investments in cutting-edge technologies, solid supplier partnerships, and sustainability programs. Walmart has been able to improve operational effectiveness and client happiness by employing theoretical frameworks like the SCOR model and applying ideas like lean management and collaborative forecasting.
In the future, Walmart should think about enhancing supplier cooperation, utilizing blockchain technology for greater traceability, and fostering sustainable supply chains.practices. These choices could improve the performance of the company's supply chain even more, raise awareness, and promote long-term sustainability.In order to successfully execute these suggestions, Walmart should do a thorough study, include stakeholders, pilot test new initiatives, offer the required support, and constantly monitor performance using key performance indicators. Walmart can maintain its competitive advantage in the retail sector by implementing these actions to further strengthen its supply chain.
Bal, M., &Pawlicka, K. (2021). Supply chain finance and challenges of modern supply chains. LogForum, 17(1), 71-82.
Cao, Y., Zhang, J. H., & Ma, X. Y. (2019). Optimal financing and production decisions for a supply chain with buyer-backed purchase order financing contract. IEEE Access, 7, 119384-119392.
Elder, S. D. (2019). The impact of supermarket supply chain governance on smallholder farmer cooperatives: the case of Walmart in Nicaragua. Agriculture and human values, 36(2), 213-224.
Pandey, R., Dillip, D., Jayant, J., Vashishth, K., Nikhil, N., Qi, T. J., ... &Qhi, L. Y. (2021). Factors Influencing Organization Success: A Case Study of Walmart. International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality in Asia Pasific (IJTHAP), 4(2), 112-123.
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Winata, M., &Ellitan, L. (2023). The Effectiveness of Technology Development Towards Walmart’s Sustainability Supply Chain Management. J-CEKI: JurnalCendekiaIlmiah, 2(2), 224-248.
Zhang, D. (2023). Understanding Enterprise Risk Management of the Retail Industry During the Pandemic-Case Study of Walmart. In SHS Web of Conferences (Vol. 154, p. 01018). EDP Sciences.