Operational Management SLP 3 (Wal-Mart)


How product design is applied in decision-making of that organization?

As in many corporations product design plays an integral part in the decision making process. Mitchell (2005), confirms that the staying power of Wal-Mart is evident through the product design and their decision making process. The big manufacturers with powerful brands were in charge in the marketplace, and retailers played along. About the only decision retailers had to make was whether to stock a manufacturers product. If consumers wanted it, stores carried it. This led to the rise of Wal-Mart and other big-box retailers, which turned the power relationship on its head. Suddenly, manufacturers had to play by the retailers rules. As consumers were increasingly drawn by the stores low prices rather than the manufacturers brand names, these retailers built enough market shares to start making demands of their suppliers: about prices, marketing, and even product design and production methods. Manufacturers responded in various ways, and with different degrees of success. Some just played along, by cutting costs to shore up margins in the face of ever-lower retail prices.

Others sought to avoid the big boxes by focusing more on selling to businesses other than retailers.

Can you describe a product Life Cycle in the organization?

Sissell (2009), explains that the way that Wal-Mart tends to deal with the question of the product life cycle is rather direct. Wal-Mart says it will develop a worldwide sustainable product index as a “single source of data” for evaluating the sustainability of products. Customers increasingly want information “about the entire lifecycle of a product so they can feel good about buying it. They want to know that the materials in the product are safe. That it was made well and that it was produced in a responsible way,” says Wal-Mart president and CEO Mike Duke. “We do not see this as a trend that will fade.”The company says it will help create a consortium to develop a global database of information on the lifecycle of.