Academic Level: –
Volume of 3 pages (825 words)
Assignment type : Essay
This assignment continues the analysis of the process described in the previous assignment. For this assignment, please write an essay describing:
1. The end users of the process output. How dependent are they upon the output? If the output were interrupted or delayed, how affected would they be? Do they have alternative suppliers? Could they substitute other goods or services for the process output?
2. The process stakeholders. These are all the entities (people, groups, organizations, etc.) affected in some way by the process. Obviously, the end users are stakeholders. Other stakeholders are the people who perform the process, the suppliers, and the entities who are dependent upon them. Describe the stakeholders and the nature of their dependence on the process.
3. The process “touch points” (places, or points in time, where something specific happens). They may involve different entities or people. Consider, for example, assembling an auto engine. Three (of the many) touch points are installing pistons, mounting the crankshaft, connecting the piston tie rods to the crankshaft.
SLP Assignment Expectations
There are no page limits. Write what you need to write, neither more nor less. Make each sentence count! (Having said that; it’s unlikely that one page would be enough, and very likely that eight pages would be too much.)
Process identification is a crucial initiative which involves a set of events purposed to systematical describes the set of business processes of a firm to enable the establishment of clear standards for prioritizing them. The process architecture, which entails the output of a given process acts as the business process and their interrelations. This design serves as a basis for defining the significances and the choice of process modeling and restructuring projects. This paper aims to discuss the cost-saving process identification in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. which is the most significant retailers in the world.
Wal-Mart Store Inc. exists as the world’s biggest retailer of consumer staple products in the world. This company was started by Sam Walton in 1962, an entrepreneur who came up with the ideology of a store that would offer its consumers the lowest prices in the market. Wal-Mart store Inc. deals with retail and wholesale trades, and it functions through three business sections which include Wal-Mart U.S, Wal-Mart international and Sam’s Club. This corporation offers financial services among other relevant products such as money order, wire transfer, prepaid cards, bill payment and checks cashing. The company also operates discount stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets, supercenters, electronic stores, convenient stores, and apparel stores as well as home improvement stores (Brea‐Solís, Casadesus‐Masanell, and Grifell‐Tatjé 13). This corporation offers grocery products such as meat, naturals and organics, frozen foods and dairy products among another foodstuff. It also provides health and wellness products such as optical, pharmacy and clinical services alongside medical products. The company offers a wide range of services, and also, it provides brand name merchandise, including hard and soft goods and other designated private-label items. This business operates 11,593 stores under 63 banners in 28 States.
As a retail company, Wal-Mart’s operation management addresses the design of the retail services by stressing on the variables of cost-effectiveness and efficiency. This corporation is famous for its low pricing because of its cost leadership generic approach. To satisfy this strategy, the firm gives maximum attention to the efficiency of its retail service employees. Also, concerning goods design, Wal-Mart emphasizes on nominal production cost, particularly for its Great Value brand. For instance, the corporation’s goods are developed in such way that they are easy to produce in bulk. Primarily, Wal-Mart had a goal of offering consumers with the products they want and whichever time they need them. As competition grew in the industry, the company opted for other ways of leveraging a competitive edge over its competitors. In the process, the company decided to develop its cost structure and eventually came up with a system that enabled it to offer goods at lower prices than its competitors on a daily basis (Brea‐Solís, Casadesus‐Masanell, and Grifell‐Tatjé 14). Wal-Mart’s commitment to providing products at low prices every day has been the turning point of the business into the most successful retailer in the world.
Cost Saving Process Identification
Wal-Mart has a primary goal of offering its consumers the lowest price as possible while at the same time being profitable and obtaining high revenue from investments. For the company to achieve this goal, it is obligated to operate at a lower cost than its competitors by adopting a very efficient operational management strategy. Establishment of a cost-saving process is a strategy implemented by Wal-Mart to save to enable the business to meets its low price goal to better leverage a competitive advantage over its rivals while maintaining high profits and revenues.
Resources dedicated to the cost-saving identification process
The company ventures into vast volumes of standardized product and limits customization of services. The business also uses fewer and standard components while restricting the number of models produced as a means of reducing the production cost. In case of a new store, the company uses its transportation system which assists in shipping its merchandise from the central warehouse to stores across the region. With these possibilities, the farm can stock its stores more frequently. Wal-Mart also ventures in highly designed data programs that enable the retailers to have immediate reports of the items in demand. This approach allows the business to decrease the storage costs and thus lowering the final prices of commodities. Also, the company has even ventured in an Electronic Data Interchange with its suppliers which enable the business to cut cost on ordering products and settling bills. This system offers vendors a straightforward insight of the inventory levels of all products in all stores. Vendors can use such information to lower their inventory costs boost their operational efficiency and test the perspective of the new product launched. Wal-Mart also diverts its resources to the supply chain through which it can lower prices through bulk purchasing to enable the business to appreciate quantity discounts. Moreover, the firm institutes competitive bidding for contracts while at the same time squeezing its suppliers on prices to cut on operation costs.
Inputs on cost-saving process identification
• Elimination of the manual processes
Process improvement is one of the most critical steps towards cost saving. For this reason, Wal-Mart eradicated its manuals means of operations and implemented programs and designs programs that would enable it efficiently serve its broad base of consumers and vendors. Towards this end, the business has invested in technologies such as Electronic Data interchange to fasten their business transaction with vendors. This process improvement strategy is a Lean Six Sigma measure meant to eradicate wasteful and unnecessary costs associated with the manual processes which increase supplier costs (Sicilia 6). Improving business processes increased the outputs and lowered the operational costs.
• Venture in technology
At one end, markdown retailers may be pushed to integrate the newest technology in their operations. As such, due to Wal-Mart’s extensive business platform which involves several retail stores all over the world, Wal-Mart decided to invest in a satellite system to increase the efficiency of communication between headquarters, shops, and vendors. As a result, the business managed to cut on unnecessary costs concerning movements of employees to deliver messages from the offices to the retail stores and vice versa. This process improvement is an approach emerging from the Continuous Process Improvement which has significantly benefited the business regarding reduced resource consumption and enhanced operations.
• Pressure on vendors
The ideology to reinforce the business’ relationship with its vendors through an exchange of information concerning sales and inventory levels has enabled the business to increase their worth by reducing transaction cost and increasing their productivity. Wal-Mart’s established a name for hard negotiations with its merchants which has allowed the business to save on cost. With this status, the firm has been able to cost cut by gaining price cut from its dealers for bulk buying. Furthermore, this association led to massive sales volume where Wal-Mart became a primary supply channel for several vendors. This initiative is a feature of a robust Continuous Improvement Process because the system focuses on information sharing and knowledge management with vendors who provide a platform for cross-fertilization and exchange of ideologies and techniques that benefit the parties involved (Sicilia 8).
Output on Cost Saving Process Identification
• Lower Pricing for Products
Wal-Mart’s investments in cost-saving operational strategies have enabled the business to realize its goal of providing low priced commodities. This ability to offer lower prices as possible as opposed to promotional discounts has been the primary feature differentiating Wal-Mart from other retailers. This decision has shaped a low-price status for the company which has, in turn, increased the firm’s transactions volume and reduced the need for frequent promotions.
• Consumer satisfaction
With cost reductions in its operations, Wal-Mart has been able to maintain a system of lower pricing for goods which has not only attracted a large consumer base but also met consumer needs especially for those consumers with a desire to stretch a small paycheck. These lower prices create a friendly shopping environment that has pulled a broad consumer base into the business. Despite the lower pricing, Wal-Mart has been able to maintain its high profitability with high returns on investments.
• Reduced Risks
With efficiency in delivery services due to continuous process improvement via technology, Wal-Mart has been able to risks concerning delays in delivery of goods to the various warehouse and the threats associated with data losses as a result of using manual inventories and data. Moreover, technical management of products and services has enabled the organization to reduce costly errors regarding communication challenges following the business’s investment in latest technologies such as satellite.
Wal-Mart can improve the efficiency of the cost-saving process by increasing its ability to time to avoid lengthy queues for its consumers.
Brea‐Solís, Humberto, Ramon Casadesus‐Masanell, and Emili Grifell‐Tatjé. “Business model evaluation: quantifying Walmart’s sources of advantage.” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 9.1 (2015): 12-33.
Sicilia, D. “Continuous Process Improvement/Lean Six Sigma Guidebook Revision 1” Department of Defense United States of America (2008): 1-15