The mission of the Wal-Mart is to be a superstore with quality products and services that saves money to customers. It is important to review low pricing strategy of this supermarket. Wal-Mart, through the guidance of its founder, used the strategy as the cornerstone for the company’s success. Besides, it is necessary to review the setbacks of this strategy in terms of its effects on the company growth and development strategies. In addition, it is vital to review the possible reasons for the decline in sales despite possessing the strongest competitive advantage in the US retail industry. Thus, this analytical treatise attempts to explicitly review the activities, strategies, and urgent changes that the multinational store needs to embrace to ensure sustainable business.
Critical identification of key issues
Key issues and opportunities
The primary setback is the evident decline in the performance of the company. Besides, there are series of claims and accusations that Wal-Mart is not doing its best to eliminate unlawful labor practices, protect the environment, and provide real value to their customers. From the case study, it is apparent that top leaders at Wal-Mart were unable to communicate their desire for change in the most articulate and sustainable manner. Besides, the desire to change was not conveyed properly (Thompson, Petereraf, Gamble, and Strickland 84). At the same time, many of the past occupants of the store’s top leadership positions rested on their laurels and refused to engage the critics. According to one of the CEOs, he focused his energy to defend the company from critics (Massengill 15). From the case study, the company has numerous opportunities to restore consumer confidence since its pricing strategy remains one of the best in industry.
The supermarket aspires to build its business model around affordable pricing and unrivalled freshness. The supermarket functions on the elements of being exemplary in product freshness while charging the most competitive prices. As one of the largest supermarkets in the US, the Wal-Mart Supermarket has the opportunity to create a sustainable business through adoption of a dynamic style of management and strategic planning to incorporate efficiency, human resource, and customer centricity (Thompson et al. 24).
Analysis and Evaluation
Through an empirical review of the case study, it is clear that the company has only one way forward, which is to solve the current challenges by serving the interest of various stakeholders. For instance, the company may adopt a pragmatic approach in developing and planning for priorities in a hierarchal manner (Banjo and Krishna 2). At the top of the food chain are the shareholders and investors. Since America is founded on the ideals of capitalism, it is fair to develop strategies that serve the shareholders and investors as a matter of urgency. However, the management must understand the need to share the company’s wealth. For instance, instead of just trying to increase profits, there is need for sustainable growth (Thompson et al. 31).
Shareholders and investors must be ready to make sacrifices because Wal-Mart has become a very successful and highly visible company. Critics can easily sensationalize any problem that is related to Wal-Mart. Thus, it is inappropriate to simply fight critics and not listen to what they have to say. The company should work alongside the critics in diagnosis and providing remedies to various challenges identified (Banjo and Krishna 3). The company has to strike a balance between corporate social responsibility and profitability.
The company must make adjustments on their profit margins in order to make compromises with their suppliers and their employees. In the past, Wal-Mart was content to bully its suppliers to submission. And most of the time, they succeeded because suppliers simply had to consider the returns as part of the Wal-Mart’s supply chain (Thompson et al. 28). However, the pressure to reduce prices placed suppliers between a rock and a hard place. The suppliers were forced to cut corners and bend the law to satisfy the demands of Wal-Mart. Through reaching a compromise with the suppliers, the company will be in a position to restore confidence among these stakeholders (Rubin 3).
Another major obstacle in the need to sustain Wal-Mart’s growth is the perceived willful violations of employee rights. With hundreds of billions of dollars in sales, shareholders and top management must be able to find a win-win solution wherein their profits can trickle down to the employees in form of bonuses, salary increment, and rewards (Massengill 17). The money lost due to demoralized workers coupled with the cost of training new employees can be prevented. The money save from such an initiative can be redirected to provide more benefits to employees. As a result, high turnover rates will be minimized in the long run (Rubin 2).
The third group of stakeholders is the customers. Based on current data, sales plummeted when gas prices are at an all time high. Thus, Wal-Mart had to make significant inroads into online marketing. This business model is not without precedent. The company must study how Amazon.com was able to establish a highly profitable business model that does not require huge superstores to sell products to their customers. At the same time they have to listen to clamor of their customers with regards to the products that they want to see inside Wal-Mart stores (Thompson et al. 31).
Wal-Mart should be willing to give back part of their earnings and reinvest these funds in the adoption of new technologies that can help protect the environment. Unlike the current environmental strategy, the company should implement green living investment to support the local community to secure continuous and cordial relationship with these stakeholders. This will not only reduce the intensity of criticism, but also give the company a competitive advantage as an active corporate social responsibility partner as perceived by the potential and current customers (Rubin 3).
The company must focus on all the stakeholders through a policy oriented strategy. For instance, the suppliers and employees should be given rewards and environment for optimal performance. It is to the best interest of the company to channel funds to improve employee performance, increase customer satisfaction, and enhance their commitment to protect the environment (Banjo and Krishna 3).
Recommendations and conclusion
The top management of the Wal-Mart store must persuade shareholders and investors to give back to the community, improve the work environment of the employees, and urgently address the concerns of the other stakeholders such the suppliers and environmentalists. The brief plan of action will involve creation of employee motivation structure within the current human resource management. As a result, employees will be motivated to perform optimally and not leave the company. This is summarized in appendix 1. Through signing of partnership deal with the suppliers, the company will ensure that is supply chain is reliable and offers the best quality products in the market. And finally, the company should adopt the consumer centricity strategy through incorporation of a flexible Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business platforms to acquire more customers and retain the current customers. This is summarized in appendix 2.
Banjo, Shelly, and Jai Krishna. “Wal-Mart Pulls Back in India.” Wall Street Journal 9.10 (2013): 1-3. Print.
Massengill, Rebekah. Wal-Mart War: Moral Populism in the 21st Century. New York: New York University Press, 2013. Print.
Rubin, Ben. “Doug McMillon to Become Wal-Mart CEO, Succeeding Mike Duke.” Wall Street Journal. 2013: 1-3. Print.
Thompson Arthur, Margaret Petereraf, John Gamble and John Strickland. Crafting and Executing Strategy, Concepts and Cases. 18th ed. 2012. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Print.