Is Wal-Mart a force for good or for evil? We’ve all heard the arguments… on one side Wal-Mart’s pricing pressure is driving manufacturers to outsource overseas or even to close, but on the other hand they are lowering the cost of basic commodities for consumers at the lower end of the income scale. We won’t get into the socio-political discussion, but one thing is clear: Wal-Mart continues to take a lead in driving efficiency, excellence, and new technology into the supply chain.
Over the past couple months Wal-Mart has taken a lead in the wide-spread implementation of RFID. In 2003 they set a goal to have their top 100 suppliers on their RFID standard by 2005. An ambitious goal, and in reality only 30-40 will achieve it on time, but that’s still impressive. RFID has the potential to revolutionize the speed of information in the supply chain, and the Wal-Mart factor is helping accelerate its adoption… and is therefore something that other manufacturers and distributors will want to keep an eye on.
Charles Fishman, an award-winning author who currently works for Fast Company magazine, is writing a book to document how Wal-Mart has affected the business landscape beyond retail. How it has affected factories and manufacturing operations, design efforts, and the supply chain itself. He needs your help! Charles is looking in particular for stories and examples of Wal-Mart’s impact from the world of factories and manufacturing. If you have had experience changing your operations to better respond to Wal-Mart, he’d like to talk to you. Even if you don’t deal directly with Wal-Mart or have moved to a non-consumer-products company, all stories are welcome and confidentiality is assured. Please contact Charles by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.