Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Thoughts on reading a book on Wal-Mart

I think that Wal-Mart was (in the past 30 years), and still is, the greatest retail company on Earth. They are the only hypermarket, or 'supercenter', that defines all-in-one-stop retail.

It stemmed from a visit to Wuhan, China not too long ago, when I met the friendliest 'associates' and the cheapest goods, in a nondescript setting in a central city, even more so than the friendliest in Singapore.

Never mess with Wal-Mart!

They have a strong central management system, they invest a lot in both human capital and investment. They got the Walton International Scholars Program.  They also have the IBM 370/135 computer system, leased. The result? They serve to increase the economies of scale Wal-Mart can use to have savings to pass on to consumers - $700 million currently.

For now, Wal-Mart just seemed to have a PR problem in sexual equality, which, in my opinion, seems to be overblown. Wal-Mart was embroiled in a lawsuit against former employees, for charges of sexual discrimination as women. The Supreme Court had ruled the case in favor of Wal-Mart.  PayScale surveys show that male and women are paid on equals, and women are employed on a professional basis in Wal-Mart, just as men do. Perhaps this stemmed from the early 1970's, when Wal-Mart had openly followed the corporate values in the Southern United States, which seems to emphasize a lot on the sheer force of the men, in a (mostly) women-engaging retail setting, like Wal-Mart.

But even that had changed, from what is seen in PayScale's survey on Wal-Mart pay and job scopes.

Maybe the only thing I gripe about Wal-Mart is the way the store architecture and interior is - plain, boring, and nothing interesting. But hey, they do make construction and maintenance costs cheap, which can be passed on to the Orange juice I buy, am I right?

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