Sam Walton opened the first Wal-Mart store in Arkansas on July 2, 1962, (Carson, 1999-2013). The vision of Sam Walton for his store Wal-Mart was to provide lower prices and to reflect on the values of the community and the customer. Consumers remember Wal-Mart for its motto “customer satisfaction” and “guaranteed lower prices.” Wal-Mart offers employee training for everyone in the store from the greeters to the managers to ensure excellent customer skills and to instill Sam Walton’s philosophy in the consumers mind. Wal-Mart’s growth leads to the company becoming incorporated in 1969 that has led to stores opening in the nation and globally. Celebrating 50 years of helping communities and customers, Wal-Mart has more than 10,000 stores in at least 27 countries (History Timeline, 2012).
Sam Walton has proven successful management using the four functions of management to grow his business. The four functions include planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Wal-Mart’s success in various levels of management has led to multidivisional structures. Wal-Mart has 13 divisions of strategic management that offers traditional functional areas and geographic areas in the retail operation.
Thomas Friedman wrote “if Wal-Mart were an individual economy, it would rank as China’s eighth-biggest trading partner, ahead of Russia, Australia, and Canada”. It’s marketing strategy of “Always Low Prices” is met by importing the majority of its products from countries where there are lower wages like China. The majority of manufacturing jobs have been moved out of the United states and overseas because of the cost savings and this has impacted the economy here tremendously. Yes we are able to purchase products cheaper but most Americans would trade the cost savings for a job in the end.
Wal-Mart is expanding its growth and world presence by moving into developing countries. The company’s international business includes developed nations like Britain and Canada, but the majority of its developing markets are in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and China. Wal-Mart has also been working on a joint venture in India.
Wal-Mart has had a huge impact both domestically and overseas with its retail stores and its business strategies when it comes to the manufacturing and delivery of the products it sells in its stores. Many don’t agree with these strategies and some even believe that the company is killing the economy in the United States.
Technology just may be the importance to a company’s success, especially in today’s growing competitive market. A company uses measurements such as planning, leading, organizing, and controlling in its efforts of becoming successful. They are known as the four functions of management. An organization will use the four functions of management to set goals, meet revenue targets, and gain new customer base. However, there are factors that always need careful consideration such as internal and external factors. Technology falls into both external and internal factors and can affect the four functions of management. Wal-Mart is an example of how technology is important in leading a company. “For nearly half a century Wal-Mart has led the information technology charge to cope with growth and fuel its global expansion.” This was achievable for Wal-Mart because the company could use the four functions of management in both external and internal ways.
Wal-Mart continued to take pride in staying proactive within the technology scope. The company has over 45 years of experience in seeking out new ways to evolve and stay on top ranked #2 on the Fortune 500 list. Over the years Wal-Mart has found ways to target their audience through constant changes in technology. They offer access to their store website that allows a consumer to shop 24/7. The company also provides consumers the option for onsite shipping to any store location in which it saves the consumer in shipping costs. The success of Wal-Mart since the first store opened has allowed them to stay ahead of their competition. They are always planning, controlling, leading, and organizing starting at the corporate level and working down to the cashiers. Target is one of their direct competitors but Wal-Mart is still well ahead in the Fortune 500 ranking. Wal-Mart continues to find ways to appeal to their consumer base and that stems from solid management and leadership. They are using their resources and making changes both internally and externally.
When Sam Walton had a vision for a business he wanted his store to be run in such a manner that went by three basic beliefs. Those beliefs were to always strive for excellence, to have respect for any individual, and provide excellent service to the stores customers (“Wal-Mart Statement of Ethics”, n.d.). These beliefs were written so employees have the knowledge of what the company expects from them as associates working with the public. Wal-Mart wants their employees to be honest by obeying the law at all times. Also the store is known for hiring people of all races, religions, and those with disabilities. No person should face discrimination and diversity is encouraged.
Carson, H. (1999-2013). eHow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/way_5714916_wal_mart-customer-strategies.html CNN Money. (2013). Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/full_list/ History Timeline, Retrieved February 9, 2013 from http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/heritage/history-timeline Wailgum, T. (1994-2013). CIO. Retrieved from http://www.cio.com/article/147005/45_Years_of_Wal_Mart_History_A_Technology_Time_Line Wal-Mart Statement of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ethics.walmartstores.com/StatementOfEthics/BasicBeliefs.aspx Friedman, T. (2005) The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century
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