Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Walmart Supply Chain

The article I found focuses on the incredible supply chain management that Wal-mart has built up for years. Through the integration of cutting edge technologies into their infrastructure and supply chain, Walmart is able to maintain real time tracking of their inventory, predict future demand of their inventory, and replenish supplies in individual stores faster then any of their competitors. Walmart helped create a database called Retail Link (with Bentonville database) to allow them to track this up to date data.  In addition to this database Wal-mart uses RFID technologies to help feed all their data to their database.
This article highlights many different strategies that Walmart employs in order to maintain their state of the art supply chain. Walmart has developed one of the largest technological infrastructures of any private corporation. Walmart was the first company to implement a Universal Product Code, which allowed the company to immediately upload all sales data and analyze the data instantly. This also allowed Walmart to upload their information to their central database for a more comprehensive understanding of the company’s total sales. The next information technology tool that the article discusses is Walmart’s introduction of Retail Link. Retail Link directly uploads real time sales data and inventory shipping from local Walmarts and Walmart distribution centers, to their data analytics department so that they can ensure products (and types of products) can constantly be kept stocked on shelves and in proper supply. Other technologies Walmart has incorporated is RFID technology and smart tags in their supply chain. By incorporating these technologies into their supply chains employees now have a better ability to track and keep count of their inventory supplies and know what products they need to order in order to quickly replenish and restock their shelves in coordination with their suppliers.

            While reading the article I found that there were some things that the author overlooked. One important oversight that I found was the integration between Walmart’s technology and the technology that its suppliers use. Walmart has encouraged many of its suppliers to switch over to similar technology so that there would be more compatibility in their systems. Another aspect of IT this article overlooked is how Walmart incorporates its supply chain technologies with its drivers. I think its important to understand how their trucks report and track their inventory real time while its being shipped. The final part that I feel was overlooked in this article was how Walmart tracks and prepares to ship its online orders. It is important to understand how they prepare and track shipments to fulfill their online retail.

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