If you happen to be standing in the middle of a big box retailer such as Target or Walmart, and you look around, you happen to be witnessing one of history’s greatest logistical triumphs. Retailers such as Walmart
, Best Buy
and Home Depot
stock thousands of items from all over the world. At any given time, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, manages around $32 billion in inventory from items made in more than 70 countries.
With numbers such as these, it is imperative to have an effective, and efficient inventory management system
. Walmart’s particular system helps it maintain its signature “everyday low prices” by informing store managers which products are selling and which are taking up shelf and warehouse space.
It is easy to attribute Walmart’s incredible rise to #1 retailer in the world to great products, cheap prices and strategic placement of stores. It has the “highest sales per square foot, inventory turnover, and operating profit of any discount retailer“.
However, the Walton family
, founders of Walmart are all eager to admit that it was due to their heavy investment in IT and communications systems to effectively track sales and inventory that enabled them reduce ineffective inventory, appropriately price products, and keep real-time track of logistics and product placement.
Although dreaming of becoming Walmart is a touch unrealistic, learning from them and other great companies is what makes us move onward, and one day, just maybe, become chief supplier to Walmart. And although we can’t invest $4 billion dollars in IT systems like Walmart, we must understand the reason behind their investment and that we can on a smaller scale create the proper infrastructure.