Wal-Mart Just Can’t Keep Products on the Shelves (In a Bad Way)

Wal-Mart Just Can’t Keep Products on the Shelves (In a Bad Way)

Wal-Mart has seemingly had a considerable amount of trouble keeping shelves in its stores adequately stocked since reducing the number of employees on staff at once in stores.  This is odd for a retail location since when products are not on shelves, there is not a large chance of them being purchased.  Especially disconcerting is that Wal-Mart has become the largest retailer in the world on the back of a supposed mastery of its supply chain.

Wal-Mart is now taking measures to ensure that the issue with product stocking is corrected.  The latest effort employed to do so is an external auditing process which entails a detailed process of checking each and every Wal-Mart location to make sure that products (when in stock) are on the shelves for consumption.

Wal-Mart refers to whether or not stores are adequately stocked via a metric known as on-shelf availability or OSA.  Due to the recent issues and the need to involve an external company to help stores ensure that they are stocked properly, shareholders are expected to vote at the next meeting as to whether or not Wal-Mart managers and executives should have their performance reviews and potential compensation tied to OSA.

When visiting a Wal-Mart location, check for neon green stickers next to the price tags on certain products; those are the ones that the auditors are going to be looking for.  Originally, the idea was to have the auditors go into the Wal-Mart stores and check on certain pre-determined items (unknown the store employees) and assign a grade based on how stocked those products were.  However, before the actual auditing process ended up taking place, it was determined that it would be beneficial to the employees at the stores to know the products that were being checked because those would most likely be highly driven items for the time of the year.  This entailed a rather tedious process for store managers as they had to allocate employees to the task of sticking green stickers next to products that needed to be stocked instead of actually just stocking them.

While the idea is good in theory, the actual outcome has been less than stellar since a good portion of the stores now have incredibly well-stocked green dot items with very poorly stocked products immediately next to them.  This should have been expected since the employees could focus purely on the products they would be evaluated on.

This situation is a very direct link to supply chain concept discussed in class.  In this case, the retail stores a sort of bottleneck.  After the products are produced and shipped to retail locations, they are not being put out fast enough to get to the customers.  Managers need to focus on properly allocating their limited employee resources to getting the task completed.

Do you think that this process will work?  How else could Wal-Mart improve its product stocking?


A College Graduate’s Worst Nightmare

C.E.O’s and business executives are turning their backs to the recent college graduates claiming that they are under qualified. Link to NYTimes Article “How to Bridge the Hiring Gap”

In the business world today, college graduates are frightful to enter the workforce because they are convinced that their knowledge and degree will never land them a job good enough to pay off their tuition debt. As of late, executives who are looking to hire this bright new knowledge are claiming that they are unable to find applicants who are qualified for the position they seek. When one tries to uncover this paradox of linking those who need work to those who need workers, one will find that there is a divide that is weakening the success of both aspects.

An Economics graduate from the University of North Carolina stated that although they graduated with a 3.6 G.P.A and degree for a major that was high in demand, they believe that the bashing of their generation will never end causing employers to believe that they will never be able to add value to the company. Looking from a different perspective, a large majority of C.E.Os of companies are backing up their hiring decisions in regards to recent graduates by stating that these recent graduates lack the skills and discipline required in the workplace. A main cause of this is that young employees come into a new job believing that they are automatically entitled to a promotion before mastering the assigned tasks for the position in which they started. Executives are trying to encourage young hires that rotating through departments and letting the managers monitor their progress step by step will let them prove their abilities. Managers, executives, and CEOs who are hiring are warning recent college graduates that training programs will only recruit applicants will immediately applicable skills due to the fact that they no longer have time to hire bench strength.

The dilemma of hiring new college graduates proves that  management operations is changing up the game. The basic management functions of planning, organizing, staffing, leading, and controlling will no longer apply to the recent college graduates unless they are truly ready to work from the bottom to the top. If we go by the textbook, staffing is performed effectively by following proper recruitment procedures and then selecting the candidate that is most qualified in meeting all the job requirements. The major ethical decision I contemplated while reading this article is whether this treatment is fair for the recent college graduates. If one is over-qualified for an entry position within a company should they be forced to rotate through departments being encouraged by employers to learn knowledge in which they have already acquired?