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Wal-Mart Case Study Argumentative

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It opened in 1962 by Sam Walton, Wal-Mart has become the largest retailer in the United States, and with over 3,300 stores Wal-Mart continues to be successful. Under his successor, CEO David Glass, the small discount store chain started in Arkansas has become one of the largest corporations in the world. David Glass lays out the philosophy: “we approach this new and exciting decade of the 90’s much as we did in the 80’s focusing on only two main objectives, (1) providing the customers with what they want, when they want it, all at value, and (2) treating each other as we would hope to be treated, acknowledging our total dependency on our associate-partners to sustain our success.” This statement by Glass shows that Wal-Mart has devised a plan in order to maintain its high ranking in the retail business. The question becomes, can Wal-Mart continue to expand and succeed in an increasingly hostile retail environment? I will discuss the external stakeholders? 2) Do a SWOT analysis of Wal-Mart. What are the company’s distinctive competencies? 3) How would you describe Wal-Mart’s “Grand” strategy for the next decade? In terms of Porter’s generic strategies?

Stakeholders are the persons, groups, and institutions directly affected by an organization’s performance. Some external stakeholders for Wal-Mart include the following: 1) Customers: specific consumer or client’s groups, individual, and organization’s goods and/or use its services. Wal-Mart has grown by paying careful attention to its market niche of customers looking for quality at a bargain price. 2) Suppliers: specific providers of the human, information, financial resources, and raw material needed by the organization to operate. Wal-Mart also has an online system with its suppliers. 3) Competitors: specific organizations that offer the same or similar goods and services to the same consumer or client groups. Target and K-Mart are Wal-Mart’s major competitors. A Company has an obligation to act in ways that serve both its own interests and that of its stakeholders. This is known as corporate social responsibility.

A SWOT analysis examines organizational strengths, weaknesses, environmental opportunities, and threats to that company. A major goal is to try to identify core competencies in the form of special strengths.Core competencies can be found in efficient manufacturing technologies, special knowledge or expertise, superior technologies, or unique product distribution systems. First, looking at the internal assessment of Wal-Mart, I find the following strengths and weaknesses:

Strengths: Wal-Mart has a great reputation. I feel like all my basic shopping needs can be met at their stores without dealing with the high prices of other stores. Wal-Mart believes that by lowering the markup, they will earn more because of increased volume, thereby bringing consumers’ added value for the dollar everyday. Weaknesses: Wal-Mart has had some past planning failures. Their “Bring it home to the U.S.A.” buying program produced controversy when NBC news programs found clothing that had been made abroad on racks under “Made in the U.S.A.” sign in 11 stores. In addition, the program showed a tape of children sewing at a Wal-Mart supplier’s factory in Bangladesh.

An external assessment of Wal-Mart would include the following opportunities and threats. Opportunities: Wal-Mart has gained a competitive advantage in the speed with which it delivers goods to the customer. Given that a typical Wal-Mart store contains more than 70,000 standard items in stock, these innovative devices help to keep up-to-the-minute track of the inventory, deliveries, and backup merchandise in stock. Because of the innovative technology that Wal-Mart has already attained and will attain in the future gives Wal-Mart the competitive advantage. Threats: Wal-Mart faces stiff competition from old and new competitors alike. Privately owned Meijers, is one of the 16 fastest growing companies in the country and the nation’s fifth-largest discount retailer. I believe that Wal-Mart has the core competencies that allow them to be better than their competitors. It is almost impossible to duplicate what Wal-Mart has to offer.

Only for extra exposure and well depth into this case study I have added what Mr. Porter would think about Wal-Mart. Mr. Porter’s competitive strategies model offers an alternative that gives special attention to the organization’s current and potential competitive environment. From Porter’s prospective, a good SWOT analysis begins by examining these competitive forces in an organization’s environment. This provides a frame of reference for further assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses. Wal-Mart is now made up of five retail divisions: Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart Supercenters, SAM’s Club, Bid’s Discount City, and an International Division .

In conclusion, Wal-Mart is doing beyond an exceptional job in creating and maintaining one of the biggest corporal giants in the world. I believe with further future innovation just to keep up with the times Wal-Mart will be more successful than it already is. If any suggestions should be made to Wal-Mart, the only one to be thought of would be to keep up the “Good Work”.

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