This research paper identifies a company with an international presence. The paper provides a brief overview of the company and its departments by literature review. Furthermore, the paper deeply analyzes how the company has established strong command in its business by incorporating Modern technology, efficient management, and leadership skills, and well-organized supply chain management. Finally, the paper summarizes how the company has successfully ventured into new markets and expanded its growth.
Wal-Mart is a flexible corporation which is headquartered in the United States. It was established over 50 years in Arkansas.
Today, it commands about 4,400 supercenters, stores, and corner markets around the world. Wal-Mart is a name associated with providing customers with the products they need at a reasonable price. Wal-Mart stores are spread in over 15 countries around the world and the chain store continues to expand retail growth in new countries. The retail stores are found in 50 States in the US, India, China, Chile among other countries. The major activity of Wal-Mart is operating and managing retail stores. Wal-Mart does these in three ways; online Retailing, Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart.com.
The expansion to wider global markets successfully has been attributed to well management process, sticking and upholding the company’s unique corporate objectives, and using the knowledge base and skills they have gained over the decades in the market. Despite its core business objective, Wal-Mart has been instrumental in upholding corporate social responsibility by supporting communities where they work to enhance sustainability and development. This involves providing products that ensure respect for diverse cultures.
Wal-Mart operates a number of departments. The departments are varied and wide. The administrative departments comprise Aviation and Travel, Finance, Business sustainability, corporate affairs, human resources, Information systems, Marketing, merchandising among others at the Head office. Moreover, it has various brands departments which consist of apparel, furniture, sports and fitness, electronics, pharmacy, and grocery among other many departments.
Management and Leadership style of Wal-Mart
To successfully have a sound business survival and fuel business growth and development, good leadership and management are essential tools. Wal-Mart’s formula for success in the retail chain market has been characterized by effective management and leadership style. Sound management has enabled it to foster a good relationship with its employees and customers. Management and leadership are very important words when used correctly because they provide proper direction to propel an organization (Thornton, 2003, p. 181). The words cannot be used interchangeably because they are different entities.
Management has been described as an aspect that falls under administrative function and leadership has been described as an action. Whereas Leadership entails influencing and directing people to achieve a given goal, management remains an administration aspect (Thornton, 2003, p. 121). Many factors influence how a goal is accomplished and how different leaders incorporate it in formulating their own action plans (Thornton, 2003, p. 133).
Leaders have been known to fall into different categories for example; influential or charismatic, important and lame (Thornton, 2003, p. 65). A good leader is seen as a person who influences the mass to a clear sense of direction and provides the lead. Hence, leadership and management at Wal-Mart have been instrumental in living up to the organization’s goals and objectives for efficiency and strategic planning (Thornton, 2003, p. 16).
Information Technology at Wal-Mart
In today’s global world, technology has been the driving force behind business success. Technology reduces the cost of operations by improving performance and productivity. Wal-Mart has not been behind in modern technology services. This technology has influenced its business and has been in tandem with global information updates. Wal-Mart has integrated the use of SAP Financials Solution, an ERP system to manage its global accounts and facilitate concise communication and accountability in the finance department at the head office and its distributed branches across the world.
SAP ERP Solution plays an integral role in modern business organizations. ERP is an Industry term that outlines a broad set of activities that helps shape and redefine businesses in the management of vital parts of its core business (Cruz-Cunha, 2009, p.113). The Structure and the information that is accrued from an ERP system facilitate key performance required for attaining business corporate goals. The ERP which means Enterprise Resource Planning is where businesses are integrated with modern technology and business management practices.
The integration of business processes with new information technology is critical towards success in the world of today. This integration has been transforming businesses to operate in the modern information age discarding the traditional way of conducting business or managing organizational resources (Cruz-Cunha, 2009, p.132). This has been important to many organizations and Wal-Mart has not been left out because it enhances service delivery to both internal and external customers. With a touch of new technology, business processes have been made faster, easier thus improving organizational output.
The SAP ERP system is composed of three aspects; information technology, specific business goals, and business management practices (Cruz-Cunha, 2009, p.143). Due to its capability, the SAP ERP is designed to provide much-needed facility to geographically dispersed businesses across a multi-platform with its functional units (Leon, 2007, p.104). This has been beneficial for Wal-Mart and its distributed branches across the world to have a centralized system. The market leaders or the best-managed businesses in the world of today have embraced the SAP ERP Financial Solution. The adoption of an SAP ERP financial solution makes financial management more efficient (Leon, 2007, p.42). Financial management is a cornerstone in charting organizational success. SAP solution adopted by Wal-Mart makes financial management easier and efficient due to several factors (Leon, 2007, p.30). SAP ERP functions simply; it has some internally embedded controls in its functions. With internal checks and controls, an ERP solution makes the preparation of accounts and other financial documents easier and fast (Srinivasan, 2005, p. 142). Financial chain management is a feature that is useful in SAP ERP and which allows most companies to easily resolve disputes arising from invoices and significantly reduces their collections via electronic billings and other applications. Moreover, Seamless merging within SAP ERP allows current information and accurate reporting of information (Chorafas, 2001.p. 293).
The SAP ERP has enabled Wal-Mart to integrate its financial systems hence avoiding standalone and homegrown systems which have been in use for quite some time. the installation of optimized SAP ERP from Oracle rather than having homegrown systems has put the retail giant ahead to compete effectively with other players in the same field.
Moreover, technological advancement at Wal-Mart has been in the use of online analytical processing (OLAP). Wal-Mart uses this technology to strengthen its reporting and planning system because of its global expansion and growth. The system provides its suppliers and merchandisers around the world with accurate financial information which helps in designing future planning direction.
Supply Chain Management
Wal-mart has an elaborate supplier chain management. Wal-Mart supply chain management involves meeting the expectations of the customer in regard to time, efficiency, quality and quantity. This helps to customize; plan, deliver goods and production (Srinivasan, 2005, p. 158). They discuss with the supplier at what price they want their product to be sold by Wal-mart. Wal-Mart purchases their products directly from the manufactures hence this saves the chain store costs that would have resulted by involving middles men. The efficiency in the IT systems also facilitates suppliers to know concisely when the Chain store needs more items or not. Elaborate and fast communication done by Wal-Mart makes it better in its chain management and hence this provides efficiency both to the supplier and the Chain store. This helps the suppliers comply with the prices at the same time making a profit. Many companies supply Wal-Mart with huge items.
In conclusion, Wal-Mart has emerged as a successful global chain store across the world by having clear strategic, objective goals. This has been in tandem with its strong business management plan and corporate social responsibility. Good management and leadership strength, elaborate supply chain management, and efficiency in utilizing new trends in the information age have enabled it to deliver timely services and products to the satisfaction of its customers. The Introduction of the SAP solution has facilitated the consolidation of its distribution processes under a central administration point making it concentrate on other core functions of the business.
Chorafas, D, N. (2001). Integrating ERP, CRM, supply chain management, and smart material. Boca Roda, FL: CRC Press.
Cruz-Cunha, M, M. (2009). Enterprise Information Systems for Business Integration in SMEs:Technological, Organizational, and Social Dimension. New York: Idea Group Inc (IGI).
Leon, A. (2007). Enterprise Resource Planning. New York: Tata McGraw-Hill.
Srinivasan, R. (2005). International Marketing 2Nd Ed. New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.
Thornton, P, B. (2003). The Triangles of Management and Leadership. New York: Media Creations.