November 14, 2004

Guest Post: Sterling Wright Reviews the CNBC Wal-Mart Special

The following is a review of the recent two hour CNBC special report on Wal-Mart. The author is Sterling Wright, who works for WM, and blogs at

The CNBC documentary talked about the competitve keys that made Wal-mart
unique and the largest private employer in America. Wal-Mart's competitve
edge might be driven by its logistics and information systems; however,
it cuture is the most significant factor. If one visits the Headquarters of
the largest company on the face of the planet, one will find a culture od
thrift. Simply stated, the CEO's office looks exactly the same as the store
managers on the front line.

More importantly, the documentary touched on the fact that Wal-Mart's
culture of thrift also correlates to they way it interacts with suppliers
and competitors. One the main entrance wall of Wal-Mart's heeadquarters
which looks like a gaint factory, you will find wanted posters of the CEO's
of its top competitors. Vendors will also notice that each meeting room has
the golden rule for supplier's, "no gifts accepted!". Wal-Mart has acheived
much of its growth because it walk's the walk of the timely preached lessons
of Sam Walton: "giv[ing] your customers what they want".

Sam Walton focused on building a shopping experience that offered a wide
assortment of good quality merchandise, the lowest possible prices,
guaranteed satisfaction with customers buy, friendly, knowledgeable service,
and convenient hours. The documentary touched on Sam's relentless
efforts. One of his friends noted that he was once on a plane flying to a
meeting, when Mr. Walton spotted a very empty Wal-Mart parking lot. He
immediately "nosed dived" the plane and landed. He went straight to the
store and asked the store manager what "we were doing wrong". The store
manager explained that a local holiday event was going on for 2 hours in
which the entire town participates. He told Mr. Walton not to worry and to
stop back by in 2 hours.

Wal-Mart is successful because of the work ethic culture it built. It's not
unusual to see everyone in the office by 6:15 a.m. Some people even arrive
well before 5:00 a.m. Every Saturday morning, Wal-Mart's management
throughout the world get together at 7 a.m ,going over what's working and
what's not! Even the semi-annual managers' meeting kicks off by 6 a.m.
Simply stated, the documentary touched on the fact that Wal-Mart's hard work
and information gathering and dissemenation techniques are the secret to its

Posted by Kevin on November, 14 2004 at 07:08 AM