Walmart 2003 Marketing Case Study

2217 words - 9 pages

Question # 1In Customer Intimacy and Other Value Disciplines, Treacy and Wiersema highlight three distinct "paths" or strategies to market leadership. They include operational excellence, customer intimacy, and product leadership. This paper will highlight how Wal-Mart has successfully implemented the operational excellence strategy, as well as consider future initiatives within this strategy that Wal-Mart can still incorporate. The discussion will than focus on the customer intimacy strategy and explain how Wal-mart has also incorporated this strategy in a variety of its operations. The product leadership strategy will also be briefly discussed, however, due to its limited scope in this particular environment, it will not be emphasized.Wal-Mart has effectively implemented an operational excellence strategy in its quest to continually lower costs and deliver products and services with minimal difficulty or inconvenience. Whether it be through reducing costs, through its various relationships and practices with suppliers or controlling energy consumption by monitoring and controlling lights, heat, A/C, etc from their head office or even managing inventory efficiently, Wal-Mart has effectively minimized both variable and fixed costs while also ensuring stock outs are minimized. Wal-Mart has also effectively eliminated (non-value) added production steps as it successfully re-defined the integrated retailers relationships with its manufacturers. Wal-Mart has also been successful in implementing a variety of IT systems that have also facilitated this strategy. Whether it's through their own private satellite networks, or their EDI systems with suppliers or even the implementation of UPC scanners at the registers, Wal-Mart has been an industry leader in using technology to facilitate this strategy. Wal-Mart has also successfully incorporated convenience in their strategy, as some stores are open 24-7, and if one was to look at the multiple services offered, whether it be the automotive garage, pharmacy, restaurant, photo lab, they are effectively becoming a one stop shop. (A friend has even joked, that in the future, they will have a day surgery department.)Has Wal-Mart reached the limits of lowering costs? Absolutely not. As indicated, they have a variety of initiatives that are being examined. The first initiative involves using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) with their top 100 suppliers. This will further improve their distribution efficiency, as it will reduce the need for unloading to check products, as well as, serve as an internal control function in dealing with shrinkage. It's been estimated that such technology could unlock supply chain cost savings of 6%. The second initiative, involves improving its efficiency with customers. By using RFID tags in stores to further reduce check out labor requirements, as well as shrinkage, Wal-Mart would again be lowering operational costs due to improved efficiencies. It's important to note, that...

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