Walmart is one of the largest retail stores in the world, but they are also a company that has information systems. The walmart information systems department recently hired me to design their latest web application project for walmart’s website. I was very excited about this opportunity because walmarts is such a large and well known company!
Wal-Mart Company, which was opened by Sam Walton in 1962, is among the largest retail stores in the world. Walton opened it to sell products at reduced prices in order to give customers an opportunity to save money and use it to improve their lives. The company was therefore started as a small discount store.
Prices start at $12
Prices start at $11
Prices start at $14
Prices start at $12
Wal-Mart was committed to satisfying the needs of its customers by serving them in a friendly manner and offering them low prices. Until today, the company maintains its initial commitment to serve its customers.
The company’s shares started trading at the New York Stock Exchange in 1972 (McKeefery 3). Currently, Wal-Mart has more than 9600 retail outlets that are spread in different countries and a total of 2.1 million workers. Most of them are based in the United States.
General Explanation of Wal-Mart’s Business Process
Wal-Mart has limited competitors because it has been able to establish a big business empire. It operates about 700 discount stores in the United States and 2900 supercenters, which stock groceries. In addition, it has smaller format stores that have been growing fast. The company has stores that perform well in Canada and Mexico and runs its activities in several Asian countries (Organizational Structure 6).
Wal-Mart’s use of Information Systems
Wal-Mart is among business organizations that have been able to implement information systems successfully. The company’s information systems aim at centralizing its operations in order to develop common practices, which can be applied in its stores around the world. All business activities carried out by Wal-Mart use technology. For instance, technology is applied to keep records of inventories from suppliers and maintain a good relationship with customers, which attracts and retains them.
Application of information systems has benefited Wal-Mart since it has enabled the company to maintain its status as a leader in the market. One of the most important information systems that Wal-Mart applies is bar code system. The company is among organizations that successfully organize data gathered from different places into meaningful information.
The data, which are gathered from bar codes, are used to monitor sales. Wal-Mart has access to information on product sales such as the type of products purchased and their prices price. This is combined with advanced telecommunications to facilitate transfer of information between different branches and the centralized system. This enables Wal-Mart to sustain a real-time database equipped with adequate data on company transactions.
Radio frequency identification, commonly referred to as RFID is another information system that is used by Wal-Mart. This is a technology that uses small tags, which contain microchips with data on particular items. The technology transmits radio signals along short distances. The signals are received by RFID readers, which pass the data to computers for processing.
RFID tags are easy to work with hence the company is able to access information that is used to identify different products (Wal-Mart stores Inc 5). This type of information system enables Wal-Mart to increase its effectiveness in terms of inventory control and management of supply chains. The company can track its products along supply chains (Laudon & Jane 45).
Wal-Mart is also credited with the introduction of self-checkout lanes. Since the company serves many customers at the same time, sometimes, they are forced to queue for many hours. This information system makes it easy for customers to move in and out of the company’s premises without difficulties.
Ways through which Information Systems would Improve Wal-Mart Processes
Information systems would bring numerous benefits to Wal-Mart since advancements in technology have compelled companies to embrace the concept in order to serve their customers better. Information systems would enable Wal-Mart to reduce costs and increase profits. For instance, RFID would enable the company to monitor its supply chains (Wailgum 5).
This would eliminate possible losses that occur due to a lack of proper tracking of different processes. Information systems would also ensure that both customers and the company’s employees do not waste a lot of time.For instance, self-check-out lanes would facilitate entry and exit of customers into the company’s premises. Without this system, customers would be required to queue for many hours. However, this problem would be solved through the use of information systems.
Suggestion for Improvement
Wal-Mart should take several measures in order to improve service delivery. The first thing that the company should do is to redefine the RFID mandate by restricting it to products that do not have high amounts of liquid and metal. This would give vendors and suppliers enough time to confirm the reliability of tags for all products.
The company should use its powerful nature to develop a buying consortium. Wal-Mart should also endeavor to ensure that its customers are aware of the different information systems that the company uses. This would ensure that its investment in information systems is utilized accordingly.
A management information system (MIS) is a technology or procedure that provides data for managing businesses. Management information systems supply the information required by business managers to make decisions.
Early business computers were used for simple activities like tracking inventory, billing, sales, or payroll data, with little detail or structure. Nowadays, advanced methods such as ERP, EPM, SCM, and SAP have been supplanted by simpler techniques. Management information systems are different from normal information systems in that they are employed to analyze other operational processes inside the company.
Mis in different functions of the organisation
In the realm of retail, Wal-Mart has one of the most sophisticated distribution networks known as Retail Link. This network connects each shop to headquarters and over 2,000 suppliers so that they will never run out of or have too much product.
Wal-Mart places a higher value on inventory than any other retail store. Providing their foreign outlets is the most pressing issue right now, especially as they expand this area. To be more efficient in international markets, Wal-Mart created a Customs Brokering division to handle its worldwide procurement, which saves them brokering and freight forwarding costs and gives them greater control. They’ve also started to “demand” that their suppliers be physically located in the nations where Wal-Mart is expected to establish facilities.
Procurement of material
Walmart is a major customer, so it uses a centralised purchased system that eliminates all intermediaries and middlemen. This is important for lowering cost while still offering excellent pricing. They first identify possible suppliers before negotiating with everyone based on the offer’s cost structure.
With the aid of E-Discovery, you can efficiently manage this information wall. It’s a computer-based system designed to track orders and shipments between Walmart and its vendors. Suppliers may use EDI to download purchase order data from one store to another, including sales statistics for their goods such as how many items were sold and how many items were received.
When the information about sales of various items is transmitted, the supplier immediately sends the needed goods to numerous walmart distribution centers. Basically, it’s a high-speed integration system that connects a supplier with Walmart and is extremely beneficial in speeding up and automating the procedure.
Wal-Mart has a private trucking operation that transports goods from warehouse to store in less than 48 hours. This allows Wal-Mart to restock its shelves four times faster than the competition. The largest and most sophisticated computer system in the commercial sector is owned by Wal-Mart.
It uses a MPP (massively parallel processor) computer system to keep track of stock and movement, which helps it stay up with swiftly shifting market conditions. Sales and inventory information is released via a sophisticated satellite communications system.
The goods are tracked by the efficient satellite communication system. The information for this was sent through an advanced satellite communication network, which is why it occurs automatically and instantly generates data and passes it on to the transportation department. As a result, the logistic facility is safeguarded.
To track sales and inventory levels in all of its stores across the country, Walmart invested heavily in IT and communication systems. To meet this need, a good communication system is required. And Walmart is utilizing the technique of PRETTY DARN QUICK DISPLAY (PDQ) TECHNIQUE to do so. The firm asked its suppliers to transport items inshore-ready displays called pretty damn quick (PDQ) displays as part of this method.
Packaged goods were loaded onto PDQ displays that were waiting to be mounted on the racks at the shops. Instead of refilling each and every item at the racks, Walmart workers may simply replace empty racks with fully packed ones.
MARKETING FUNCTION (MIS)
Marketing activities are designed to plan, promote, and sell products and services in order to satisfy consumer demands and company goals. Marketing information systems assist with marketing mix decision-making by providing data on product price, place of sale, promotion.
The following are some of the sources of data and information for marketing: The boundary-spanning and transaction processing subsystems of a marketing information system take in more external information than other organizational information systems. It includes two boundary-spanning subsystems – one that gathers market data and another that collects market intelligence – as well as two transaction processing systems. The aim of marketing research is to collect data on real consumers and potential customers, also known as prospects.
The identification of the customer’s requirements is a crucial beginning point for total quality management (TQM). It’s easy to collect data when electronic commerce is conducted on the Internet. The use of statistical analysis software in marketing research enables companies to link consumer behavior with many different physical, demographic, and psychographic variables.
Competitive intelligence (competitive) is the study and analysis of data on competitors, as well as the sharing of competitive information with the appropriate individuals. The majority of competition data comes from corporations’ annual reports, media trackers, and paid publications obtained from off-shore sources, including on-line database services. Competitive intelligence has gained a significant presence on the Internet.
Marketing Mix Subsystems
The marketing mix subsystems assist in the decision-making process for product introduction, pricing, promotion (advertising and personal selling), and distribution. These choices are fed into the sales forecast and marketing plans against which future sales results are compared.
Job Hierarchy at Wal-Mart
Human Resources. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest non-governmental employer. They know that in retail, employee turnover is high, but their employees are one of their most valuable assets. Their associate agreement contains the following statement: “They are exhorted to maintain the highest ethical and moral standards.” To work for Wal-Mart, you must pass a multiple-choice exam and choose what are considered suitable “Wal-Mart” answers in order to be hired.
Because Wal-Mart tries to keep costs low, they do not pay very well. They employ a lot of part-time and temporary staff, do not provide benefits to these people, and do not compensate them sufficiently to live on. Because their labor is non-unionized, Wal-Mart has a 20-30 percent cost advantage over the competition. Aside from being sued for failing to compensate employees for overtime there are several complaints regarding discrimination based on gender (female) that females are frequently not selected or advance as managers.
Walmart Information Systems was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, who went on to become the world’s largest retailer. Walmart promises to “reduce people’s costs so they may live better” (Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 2014) as a result of Mr. Walton’s 10 rules for building a company. One of them is to “keep your expenditures lower than your competition (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2014)”.
Walmart is known as a pioneer in bringing cutting-edge technology and procedures to help companies reduce expenses and outperform their rivals. In the commercial sector, competition is intense, and Walmart has perfected the art of lowering costs in order to offer goods at reduced prices to consumers.
The Five Forces Model, created by Michael Porter, may be used to analyze the competitive pressures in the retail sector in terms of buyer power, supplier power, risk of substitute items or services, threat of new entrants, and rivalry among existing competitors (Cummings & Haag 2013).
Because many merchants provide the same or comparable items, buyer power in the retail sector is considerable. Walmart has utilized their information systems to enhance efficiency and cut expenses, allowing them to offer the same goods at lower prices in many cases, which distinguishes them from other businesses and reduces buyer power.
Other stores, such as Target, are narrowing or eradicating the price gap by selling comparable items at comparable pricing as determined by a Supermarket News price check poll in 2014 (Gallagher, 2014). Maintaining market dominance in an industry with lots of buyer influence demands hard work because most methods are not long-lasting. Between Walmart and end consumers, supplier power is low between Walmart and suppliers since other retailers provide similar or identical goods.
Walmart is a billion-dollar retailing behemoth. Walmart has integrated a variety of information systems into their day-to-day operations over the years. Walmart is recognized throughout the world for its continuous improvements and adoption of new information technologies in order to stay ahead in the retail business.
The information systems that Walmart employs are essential to its continuing success. With the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Walmart is able to transmit and receive real-time data to their networks. This is why Walmart has been able to stay competitively priced and manage their inventories successfully. This article will demonstrate how Walmart utilized a variety of information systems throughout its history in order to manage both financial and human resources.
In the late 1940s, a man named Sam Walton was franchising Ben Franklin’s store in Newport, Arkansas. As a merchant, Walton was constantly on the lookout for suppliers who could offer him with excellent deals on goods. If a retailer obtained an excellent deal from a wholesaler, they would often keep their retail pricing at normal and make extra money by keeping prices unchanged.
In other words, by allowing the company to take a certain percentage of any profits he made as a result of its success, Walton was empowering consumers with a financial incentive to make purchases from his store. This insight would become the basis for Walton’s business strategy when he started Walmart in 1962.