Organizational Technology Plan
Organizational Technology Plan
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Date Created: 11/14/15
Week 5 Team B TEC401 1 Running head: Organizational Technology Plan WalMart Organizational Technology Plan WalMart Running head: Organizational Technology Plan WalMart Overview WalMart Stores, Inc serves more than 200 million customers in over 15 countries weekly. This retail store sells goods and offers a variety of services to include pharmacies, groceries, and eye care. A leader in the communities in which they serve, WalMart stores strives not only be number one as a business, but as a caring member of society. Forbes magazine recently named WalMart number one among retailers as most admired company, due largely to their efforts to continue to give back to the community and make advances in environmentally friendly technologies. WalMart was founded in 1962, with the opening of their first store in Arkansas. In the thirty plus years since its opening, WalMart has grown to over 8,000 retail stores. In 1991, WalMart went international with the opening of its store in Mexico City, Mexico. WalMart stores continue to pop up all around the world, and as a result, they are able to help not only communities in the United States, but all over the world. To aid in running this huge business, technology plays a very important role. Technology helps with the daytoday operations of the stores as well as with helping to save fossil fuels and ensure the safety of future generations. WalMart Technology Assessment In 1975, WalMart leased an IBM 370/135 computer system to maintain inventory control for all merchandise in the warehouse and distributions centers also the system prepare income statements for each store. That same year, they introduced the electronics cash register in more than 100 stores, enabling point –of sales (pos) data to maintain inventory. WalMart continued to transform its operations in the years to come. In 1977, they built a company wide computer network and deployed a system for ordering merchandise from suppliers. In 1983, they started using bar codes for scanning POS data, and in 1984, their employees started using Texlon handheld terminals when ordering merchandise. In 1987, WalMart completed what was at the time the largest private satellite communication system in the United States. It linked all operating units of company and headquarters with twoway voice, data, and oneway video communication. In 1990, checkin systems designed to take full advantage of container bar code labeling, were in the back room of every WalMart store. In addition, that year, a data warehouse prototype was created to store historical sales data. In 1996, WalMart began using the Internet as an application platform and launched online stores. In 2006, Wallmart redesigned Walmart.com, and started experimenting with We2.0 and social networking tools. WalMart also contracted with Oracle and Hewllet–Packard to use their price optimization and BI retail applications WalMart Value Chain Analysis WalMart was designed to offer their customers the lowest prices. For that reason, they buy all their products directly from the manufacturer, storing them in super center warehouses strategically placed throughout the country. They crossdock and consolidate products that each store needs in containers, making shipping much easier. All of the product operations are supported by the company’s communications network. Each store is equipped with technology that can transmit inventory needs. WalMart also has a strong program to keep their employees educated. Employees are educated on the values WalMart holds, the mission and vision of the company, and the use of new technology tools that WalMart utilize in its stores. One example of the technology used is the Texlon handheld terminals. This tool is used in ordering product for stores. Employees can scan empty spots on the shelves and the data is transmitted to warehouses. WalMart utilizes their technology to work in partnership with their suppliers. They are also working with suppliers and partners to find ways to develop green stores. Another program they have is the Retail Link System. The system provides vendors with information on sales trends, inventory levels, and the system is intended to help strengthen the ties of WalMart with its suppliers. WalMart has one of the highest profitability operations for a family store market. Managing Change WalMart manages change through the corporate headquarters and then rolls it out to the retail stores by geographical areas. Having key leadership I by region is one very effective way for this organization to manage, communicate, and implement technology changes. One thing about the retail outlet and an organization such as WalMart is that technology advances impact not on their operations and services, but the very products they offer to their consumers. Having the ability to make informed decisions about what technology needs they have and what is available that would fulfill their needs the most is an important functions of the management team of WalMart – and is generally began at the global level and rolled down store every store as it makes the most sense. Additionally a company of this size must be cognizant of is the diversity of their consumers and how the needs of the communities they live and work on drive the demand in their business. This type of consumer demographic information is very much a driver as to what products and services are offered in what locations and what technology’s facilitate this these in the most efficient and cost effective manner. Key areas in the WalMart business in which there is resistance to technological change would be consumer driven. This would potentially be anything that requires the consumer to be educated in its use and application. For example, self check out lanes, while this is a service WalMart offers, not every WalMart store offers this technology and even for the stores that do, and many consumers do not want to learn the technology associated with self check out and would just as soon wait in line for the cashier to check them out. Another areas that may cause resistance was the change in check writing policy. Many consumers, especially in tough economic times play the check floating game. When WalMart went to the electronic check policy, which instantly debits the account holders funds – many consumers were outraged, as they no longer had the three to five business padding to cover the check they wrote to WalMart. One existing problem for embracing technology and potential problems that might be introduced by emerging technology for WalMart specifically is that they offer so many different services. For instance Pharmaceutical service, Optometry services, some store have Physicians onsite, and some have in store dining. All of these functional areas of WalMart have their own specialized technology that is required in order to offer top tier services for a cost savings the general consumer. Being competitive in so many specialized areas of services requires subject matter experts to be employed and knowledgeable about the technology and emerging technology trends in their specific industry. One thing that certainly affects WalMart at every retail locations and is constantly evolving is the product codes technology. Inventory management is a critical part of WalMart business and represents the largest opportunity for loss. A program like this along with the technology to support it is most definitely handled at the corporate level for over all organization management and then communicated to the region locations and eventually out to each individual store. Managing change of this macro level and backing it down to the micro level of every locations takes an immense amount of planning and communications for implementation to be effective and demonstrates the strong leadership this organizations has in it’s retail setting. Managing change requires that managers at the store level be informed of when the equipment is to arrive. How many shift employees they have working. How many shifts they have, what portion of the employee populations will be working hand on with this technology. How many training sessions will be required, what is the golive date – how are they to report problems, what type of support is available if there is failure in use or applications. The managers must realize how to define success. Success must be communicated by answering the questions, what is the expectation from the senior level management as far as data inputs and outputs, hoe do we create them, how do we communicate them, and how do we communicate this/ What sort of on going maintenance schedules and potentially end user training will be required over time. All of those questions must be answered up front in the planning stage. This is especially prudent when looking at how many stores WalMart has, how many employees they have, and the amount of investment they have made to make this an effective technology application for their organization. WalMart is known for publicly advertising its support of employees and their customers alike. Managing changes seems to be a natural trait for this organization as everything starts from the top and moves throughout the organization. Without the uppermost, levels of an organization that is so wide spread it would be ineffective to expect that change would be well managed or successful implemented. One way WalMart focuses on this is through team building. In addition, they concentrate on communicating to the supply chain, their employees, and their customers their commitment to excellence. This is evident through many of the programs they have available. For example, their community and giving program that the company takes pride in. According to the WalMart corporate website “At Wal Mart, we believe in a philosophy of operating globally and giving back locally. We know we can make the greatest impact on our communities by supporting causes that are important to our customers, right in their own neighborhoods. We’re proud to be a store of the community for all of the communities we serve by helping to provide financial and volunteer support to more than 100,000 charitable and community focused organizations, and by using our locations to provide opportunities for our customers and associates to give back”(WalMart, 2001). Without the global leadership of the WalMart, the organization would be unable to participate in activities that are perceived as supporting the communities would be hard to manage as it takes funding and planning and communications. Additionally it takes employees buy in as it the efforts of the individuals in those locations to make this type of initiative effective. Managing this at every level organization creates and environment for success as it affects change in the communities in which the employees live and work. Social Contract and Global Issues WalMart is one of the world’s biggest and most known retail store chains. They became what they are today not only by selling products and making lots of money, but by giving back to the communities in which they are located. One of their philosophies is to “operate globally and give back locally”. They truly believe as an organization that they can make the greatest impact on communities by supporting causes that are important to the customers that shop at their stores. From providing scholarships to college students, to aiding in disaster relief, to sponsoring local youth sports teams, WalMart prides itself on being a “store of the community”. WalMart seriously believes it has a strong social contract with not only the communities in which it operates, but on a global scale as well. Technology plays a huge role in the efforts WalMart puts into making sure the world will be a better place. Programs they have include, using reusable bags, cutting down on packaging, selling environmentally responsible products, and cutting down emissions from their truck fleet, just to name a few. One of the biggest projects WalMart is running has to do with renewable energy use. It is WalMart’s goal to use 100% renewable energy. They have already begun the process in California, Hawaii, Texas, and Puerto Rico. In 2007, WalMart collaborated with several solar power companies to install solar technology in many of its stores in California and Hawaii. In 2008 alone, these facilities outfitted with solar technology, produced about 7 million kilowatthours of clean energy, and cut out about 8,000 metric tons of emissions. In 2009 they are projecting to produce almost triple the amount of energy and cut out more than 10,000 metric tons of emissions, and this is only for about 40 stores that have been out fitted with the technology. In addition, in 350 WalMart facilities in Texas, WalMart partnered with wind power companies to provide about 15% of the power needed to run these buildings. This is just the tip of the iceberg. WalMart is also working on making their facilities more energy efficient as well. They currently have test stores and warehouses where they are installing and testing various energy efficient technologies. Skylights with sensors are installed in roofs to use more sunlight and less electrical lighting energy. Energy management systems are being installed to control and monitor energy use. Roofs and floors are being constructed with recycled material that not only cut down on emissions created to produce older roofs and floors, but also are energy efficient and cut down on energy use. Signs and fixtures with lighting in them are moving from using fluorescent bulbs to LED bulbs, which cuts energy use by up to 40%. Finally, restrooms are built with water efficient toilets and sinks, cutting down on water usage. Using these technologies and continuing to innovate others, WalMart plans to cut down its reliance on nonrenewable energy and reduce its green house emissions worldwide by 20% by 2012. WalMart prides itself on being an ethical company. Its three basic beliefs are, respect for the individual, service to the customer, and strive for excellence. These beliefs are especially held true in regards to ethics. WalMart encourages its employees to conduct business in a highly ethical manner. To aid in this, they utilize different programs to train and educate employees, vendors and even customers. One such program is WalMart’s global ethics office. This initiatives goal is to promote an ethical culture to all of those who work for or with WalMart. There is a website and a telephone hotline that can be used as a guidance tool in decision making, to learn more about policy and procedure, and to report unethical behavior. The technology of having this program available via the internet allows more employees to feel comfortable in reporting issues rather than having to do it face to face with management. Another program WalMart uses is its global privacy program. With technology advancing daily, more and more personal information is being trusted to retail stores, especially when conducting business online. Handling this information correctly and ethically is important, and WalMart takes this seriously. WalMart is a member of several industry leading privacy protection agencies to include the International Association of Privacy Professionals, the AntiPhishing Working Group, and the Center for Information Policy Leadership. In addition, they make it policy to clearly let customers know what information is being collected, how the information is going to be used, and give the customers the right to deny the use of information at anytime. WalMart even goes the extra mile and on its website, provides additional resources to its customers to learn about data privacy. Besides providing information and training to customers, WalMart utilizes technological training tools to its employees. In the past, almost all training was conducted by the human resources manager. These days, training is almost exclusively automated. WalMart has a CBL, or computer based learning, system that allows employees to take classes such as sexual harassment and ethics, and more job specific classes such as cashier training or inventory management. This type of system not only allows employees to learn more efficiently and at their own pace, but it also allows managers to track each employee’s strengths and weaknesses effectively. The main goal of this type of training and education system is to ensure each employee understands his/her role in the company’s mission of improving lives. WalMart does not focus its efforts in the United States alone. WalMart operates over 3,800 stores in 15 countries around the world, and offers products through the internet as well. There are many laws in each country in which WalMart operates. Because of these laws, WalMart is very careful about how it operates. Besides having a full legal team, they try to keep as much of the operation as local as possible, going to local vendors for much of the products they sell. To avoid other laws and possible fees, their website can only ship locally as well. For example, if you were to shop on the US website, WalMart could only ship to the 50 United States. Each international website has similar regulations in place. Technology allows every store to be monitored by WalMart’s corporate office, and is essential in maintaining each stores personnel and inventory. Without the use of technology, WalMart could not operate as globally as it does. Additionally, because of technology, WalMart is able to give back to the community in many ways, most importantly operating in a more environmentally friendly manner. Conclusion Technology has become an integral part of the business world today and as it evolved over the years, organizations were able to take advantage of its breakthroughs. WalMart is one such company that has tried to make as much use as possible of technology over the years. Throughout this paper, we were able to notice how the use of technology helped WalMart to successfully grow and set some new trends in the market. From customer relations to staff management, the use of technology was incorporated through all the areas of WalMart. However, in some processes of implementing the technology, WalMart was faced with some challenges but this never stopped the company from always upgrading or investing in new technology to make its daily operations more efficient and organized. Even though the customers and employees were, an important element for WalMart to consider when implementing technological changes, the company also gave importance to the care of environment and tried to portray itself as an environment friendly organization. In the section of ‘Social Contract and Global Issues’ we saw how WalMart made efforts in venturing into new areas with the use of technology to protect the environment. By having solar powered technology being used in some of the stores, WalMart was able to give consumers the chance for themselves to identify the company as being an environment friendly company. While reviewing this paper, we can see how the need for implementing the use of computer technology to keep track of inventory, train employees and other operations, turned out to be a necessity due to the size of the company. With having operations in 15 countries in more than 8159 retail units, WalMart was able to monitor all its retail units successfully. By doing so, WalMart was also able to exemplify its operations in the retail industry with the use of technology. References WalMart. (2001). Walmart. Retrieved October 1, 2009, from http://walmartstores.com/CommunityGiving/ WalMart. (n.d.). Walmart stores, inc. workplace alert program. Retrieved October 4, 2009, from https://www.walmartethics.com/ WalMart. (n.d). Walmart stores, inc. renewable energy. Retrieved October 3, 2009, from http://walmartstores.com/Sustainability/7775.aspx
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