Question # 1
In Customer Intimacy and Other Value Disciplines, Treacy and Wiersema highlight three distinct "paths" or strategies to market leadership. They include operational excellence, customer intimacy, and product leadership. This paper will highlight how Wal-Mart has successfully implemented the operational excellence strategy, as well as consider future initiatives within this strategy that Wal-Mart can still incorporate. The discussion will than focus on the customer intimacy strategy and explain how Wal-mart has also incorporated this strategy in a variety of its operations. The product leadership strategy will also be briefly discussed, however, due to its limited scope in this particular environment, it will not be emphasized.
Wal-Mart has effectively implemented an operational excellence strategy in its quest to continually lower costs and deliver products and services with minimal difficulty or inconvenience. Whether it be through reducing costs, through its various relationships and practices with suppliers or controlling energy consumption by monitoring and controlling lights, heat, A/C, etc from their head office or even managing inventory efficiently, Wal-Mart has effectively minimized both variable and fixed costs while also ensuring stock outs are minimized.
Wal-Mart has also effectively eliminated (non-value) added production steps as it successfully re-defined the integrated retailers relationships with its manufacturers. Wal-Mart has also been successful in implementing a variety of IT systems that have also facilitated this strategy. Whether it's through their own private satellite networks, or their EDI systems with suppliers or even the implementation of UPC scanners at the registers, Wal-Mart has been an industry leader in using technology to facilitate this strategy. Wal-Mart has also successfully incorporated convenience in their strategy, as some stores are open 24-7, and if one was to look at the multiple services offered, whether it be the automotive garage, pharmacy, restaurant, photo lab, they are effectively becoming a one...