Today, Walmart is a retail giant and a leader in the number of products sold worldwide. The “monster” company has shown the whole world what an effective business is, and every day, more than one billion dollars worth of goods are sold in the chain’s stores. Walmart has more than thirty thousand suppliers worldwide, but its production costs remain among the lowest in the retail industry. Moreover, this firm is widely known for its fresh views on the trading system and its innovative approach to the processes of purchasing and selling products.
The company has achieved high efficiency due to the reforms, within the framework of which relations with partners were built in a new way and the system of storage and delivery of goods was adjusted. Information systems under the guidance of specialists from Walmart bring the company stable revenues, high sales results, and millions of positive feedbacks from customers. Walmart’s information management system is one of the key elements of the company’s prosperity and business development.
Walmart’s Information Management System
Walmart’s information management systems are built on the principles of storing, integrating, and exchanging various important data and information. Walmart uses an information base that monitors the state of affairs throughout the company. It is essential for the firm to identify trends in consumption, determine the most successful formats and based on this information, deliver the right goods to their stores in the right quantity. The company uses a fairly wide range of capabilities for certain data but focuses more attention on the barcode system. It is a fairly simple but effective way to determine the sales, type, and price of most purchased products (Jawad, 2017).
Hence, suppliers can easily track the sale of products and provide customers with good offers. Thus, Walmart minimizes risks and losses since suppliers will know the dynamics of sales growth and decline. Therefore, all Walmart information systems are interconnected and are not limited only to the presence of a barcode system. It applies a more comprehensive approach to the storage and transmission of information.
Relation with the Business Objectives
The system used by Walmart correlates with the company’s business objectives as follows. Primarily, it provides certain specialists with the information necessary to make strategic decisions. These decisions aim to ensure the organization’s survival in the long term, its development, and increasing competitiveness. Moreover, this system helps to create more detailed forecasts based on the dynamics of both internal and external environment indicators. This process also needs to carefully study some phenomena, events, and new trends, which may strengthen and become factors that significantly affect the organization’s activities. Therefore, the formation and development of information management systems are necessary for the survival and competitiveness among other companies and to improve the quality of business processes of the enterprise.
Technology Used to Manage Transportation and Warehousing Network
The information management system helps to manage Walmart’s transportation, logistics, and warehouse networks in the following way. Firstly, it reflects the actual quantity of product stocks. Secondly, the system allows one to predict a more accurate demand for a specific product and the likely level of stocks in certain periods. Thirdly, it also allows specialists to create the most efficient and fastest transport routes. For example, before any holiday, there is a high demand for specific products. As a rule, before Christmas, people buy gifts, souvenirs, and various products with holiday symbols. Accordingly, with the help of technology, Walmart will find out which goods are in higher demand to provide the goods that customers need as quickly as possible and in the right quantity.
Walmart’s IMS in Providing Competitive Advantage
It is worth noting that Walmart’s IMS helps the company be competitive among similar companies, stay afloat and support business development. Thus, IMS is a unique system that allows leading specialists and managers of the Walmart network to manage inventory, consider the quantity and quality of goods, sales and disposal. In short, IMS also provides employees with the opportunity to manage the company’s inventory system competently and correctly. Consequently, the company will be able to be competitive because, in this way, the combination of high-quality customer service is considered at the expense of strategy, logistics, warehouse, transport, technological aspects and many others.
The unique features of IMS include the following elements. Firstly, this system provides more accurate, up-to-date information and forecasts. Secondly, it facilitates the process of managing deliveries, parcels, and stocks. Thirdly, IMS supports a continuous chain of various business processes, a supply chain. Fourth, suppliers and purchasing firms can easily exchange the necessary information for each of the parties. Fifth, the technology helps to reduce some costs and increase profitability while keeping the current inventory level under control.
Consequently, the unity, detail, efficiency, and completeness of information about all network objects make it possible to obtain up-to-date analytical estimates both for each object and for the entire enterprise as a whole. Ultimately, technology plays its main role, combining the flow of information about goods, people, and finances without delays and distortions, allowing one to make the right management decisions.
IMS in Coordinating Between Supply Chain Partners
It should be noted that Walmart’s information system tracks consumer demand and the number of products and perfectly coordinates the actions of suppliers and business partners. For example, as mentioned above, the company’s technology shares the necessary information with the supplier. A certain person or a company cooperating with Walmart determines the number of sold goods, correlates them with the existing stock of products, and provides the company with a new batch of goods for sale. In the future, information will contribute to the rapid and productive quality of work and activities performed, increase flexibility, and reduce costs and complexity (Jawad, 2017). Therefore, Walmart’s information to its partners is very valuable and important since it determines further opportunities and possible ways to develop and expand suppliers’ production.
IMS in Monitoring Orders and Inventory Levels
Walmart’s IMS system does a great job of tracking orders and stock levels of products in the following way. For instance, in 1974, it was Wal-Mart introduced barcoding by a strong-willed decision, obliging all suppliers to use this method of identifying goods and the result was amazing (Ali & Hingst, 2018). Today, the company is trying to instill a new concept in the world, which is based on RFID radio frequency identification technology (Ali & Hingst, 2018). Hence, RFID makes it possible to remotely read personal data from goods; it allows the company to abandon the use of manual barcode scanning. Therefore, the barcode information system based on RFID technologies provides Walmart employees to manage supply chains more efficiently and efficiently and control the amount of inventory in warehouses.
Why Managing Information is More Important than Moving Products
The information management system is considered the most important parameter affecting productivity, efficiency, and profitability instead of moving products for the following reasons. Primarily, information management provides automation of the activities of managers and specialists of the organization based on various innovative technologies. With the help of Walmart’s IMS, staff will not only have all the necessary modern knowledge. Still, it will also be incorporated into the intra-company process of knowledge production in accordance with the needs of customers, employees, and the goals of the organization.
Consequently, with IMS’s help, employees can look at the situation and picture what is happening with a broader view and deeper understanding. Unlike the simple movement and transportation of products, IMS provides the company with fast productivity and smooth processes at every level. In addition, the technology allows one to save on unnecessary expenses and get a big profit. The technology pays off quickly, mainly due to reducing the number of errors in order processing processes and reducing the amount of labor involved in inventory processes.
In conclusion, Walmart today is the leader of the retail business on a global scale. In addition, the company’s business approaches are among the most effective and profitable in terms of the relationship between technology, organization of work, and new forms of the market. Finding a revolutionary IT solution and integrating it into its business processes allowed Walmart to take a leading position in global retail. Information systems, including the introduction of barcoding and a competent logistics management system, have improved the quality of accounting and planning of the global activities of the retail network, as well as the speed of settlements with each buyer. Walmart continues to this day to conduct its activities, delight customers successfully and effectively with high-quality service and products, and at the same time remain one of the best among competitors.
Ali, O., & Hingst, R. (2018). Improving the retailer industry performance through RFID technology: A case study of Wal-Mart and Metro Group. In A. Krishnan (Ed.), Cases on Quality Initiatives for Organizational Longevity (pp. 196-220). IGI Global.
Jawad, S. (2017). A literature analysis of Walmart’s supply chain excellence in terms of integration, distribution and operations [Bachelor’s Thesis, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences]. Theseus. Web.