Walmart's Use of Technology for a Competitive Advantage Term Paper

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Wal-Mart's strategy is to be the low cost seller in the market, but how does a company sell at a lower price that the competition all the time? The answer lies in Wal-Mart's supply chain. While many rightfully point out that Wal-Mart's buying power is better anybody else's (Lu, 2014) , because it is the biggest retailer in the world, technology also plays a huge role in how Wal-Mart is able to sell at prices below all the other companies (Fishman, 2003).



Wal-Mart has long recognized that the only way to offer the lowest prices is by sourcing its goods at the lowest price. This does not necessarily mean buying power – Costco, Target, Amazon and others can more or less match Wal-Mart's buying power – but it means getting goods to the store shelves as cheaply as humanly possible. Purchasing is only one part of that, and Wal-Mart has long been a leader at total supply chain management as a means of extracting competitive advantage.



As an example, a few years ago Wal-Mart was an early adopter of RFID technology, which allows for tracking of goods in real time. By tracking in real time, using radio frequencies, Wal-Mart was able to not only know where goods are to help route them better, but the company is able to gather a lot of data about the movement of goods through its supply chain, and then use this data to make the supply chain more efficient (Kosasi, Kom & Saragith, 2014).

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This is just one example of Wal-Mart using technology to leverage competitive advantage in the supply chain. The company has a track record of early adoption of promising technologies, and of being a leader in supply chain automation. Part of Wal-Mart's strategy is to tie different information systems together so that its stores report back sales to a system that does the ordering – identifying need in real time, then relying on a the automated supply chain to trigger orders, and suppliers to respond immediately to those trigger (ASA, 2011). In fact, if a supplier does not agree to accept Wal-Mart's technology, it will be removed as a supplier, such is how seriously Wal-Mart takes having not only the most modern technology but utilizing a streamlined stack in its supply chain.



Wal-Mart continues to be a leader in….....

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References

ASA (2011). Supply chain. Accounting Software Advisor. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from http://www.asaresearch.com/ecommerce/supplychain.htm

Fishman, C. (2003) The Wal-Mart you don't know. Fast Company. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from https://www.fastcompany.com/47593/wal-mart-you-dont-know

Kosasi, S., Kom, M. & Saragith, H. (2014) How RFID technology boosts Wal-Mart's supply chain management. International Journal of Information Technology and Business Management. Vol. 24 (1) 29-37.

Lu, C. (2014) Walmart's successful supply chain management. Trade Gecko. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from https://www.tradegecko.com/blog/incredibly-successful-supply-chain-management-walmart

Prisco, G. (2016) Wal-Mart testing blockchain technology for supply chain management. Bitcoin Magazine. Retrieved December 19, 2017 from https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/walmart-testing-blockchain-technology-for-supply-chain-management/

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