A tale of two companies


When people think about the biggest discount retail stores, they think about Wal-Mart or Target. For a while now those two stores have dominated the discount retail market. Yet, that was not always the case. From the 1960s to the 1990s the two stores that had the majority of the market share were Wal-Mart and Kmart. Both Wal-Mart and Kmart were founded in 1962 and focused on minimizing cost as their business strategy. From the 1960s to the early 1990s they both experienced a lot of growth and Wal-Mart and Kmart generated revenues of 15.96 billion and 25.63 billion respectively. As the 1990s continued the two companies headed into different directions. Wal-Mart became the behemoth that it is today while Kmart began to dwindle. One of the reasons that happened was because of how they developed or in Kmart’s case ignored supply chain management.

Kmart        walmart    Supply chain management is the integration ofactivities that procure materials and services, transform them into intermediate goods and the final product, and deliver them to customers. Competition is no longer between companies; It is between supply chains.

Wal-Mart was a leading pioneer in supply chain management in the discount retail store industry. Most of the concepts they introduced in the 1990s are still in use today by many discount retail stores. Some of the concepts that Wal-Mart introduced were bypassing the whole-sellers to replenish their stores, developing a network of regional and local distribution centers, cross-docking at the warehouses, owning a captive fleet for store delivery, investing in the data-link connecting stores to the headquarters so that demand can be communicated effectively and without delay, and actively collaboration with suppliers like P&G to share demand data. Wal-Mart saw their revenues soar because of the implementation of these concepts and broke away from the rest of the pack.

Instead of trying to develop their supply chain management and focusing on minimizing cost Kmart bought high end items to stock their shelves, going away from the strategy that made them successful in the first place. In the early 2000s they tried to revert back to their previous strategies but were too late and were heading towards bankruptcy. They merged with Sears and even with the help of Sears, Kmart stores have not been ale to regain their market share. Today very few Kmart’s exist and every week more and more Kmart’s close. The future of Kmart is cloudy. Supply chain management is an integral part of how businesses are ran and has the capability to determine whether businesses are successful.


Do you think Kmart can make a comeback and regain their market share? Or are they too far behind too catch up?

Do you know of any other instances where supply chain management had such a large impact in two or more competing companies? What were the results?


NFL Life Cycle

After reading the product life cycle of bacon, I thought of other products that have similar product cycles. The first product that came to my mind was the product life cycle of the National Football League.


The National Football League began in the late 1800s. When the NFL was in the introductory phase, the most popular form of American football was in the collegiate level. It wasn’t until the 1950s when collegiate football stars began to play in the NFL that the NFL began to gain some relevance among American spectators. In the 1960s other football leagues popped up and rivaled the NFL. These other leagues almost ended the product cycle of the NFL prematurely but the NFL persevered.


In the 1980s the rise of the NFL was unprecedented. It became the United States most popular spectator sport above Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. Although it was already at the top it was still only in its growth phase. Currently the NFL is still the most spectated sport with raging fanatics and no sign of stopping. The Super Bowl is the most watched event in the United States and the National Football League is looking to expand to eighteen games and adding an expansion team in London. NFL teams are on average worth more than a billion dollars. Depending on whom you ask some people still believe that the NFL is in the growth phase. With all the success surrounding the NFL it is hard to dispute that. Although the NFL is continuing to experience all this success and continuing to try and expand there are many obstacles that could ultimately lead to their decline.


Recently the NFL has been portrayed negatively in the news because of the waythey handled the Ray Rice domestic assault charges. Women make up a large portion of their fan base and the way they handled the situation can only negatively affect it. The NFL also faces criticism because of the way they handle player safety. They have received strong criticism for not having a stronger concussion protocol and because for a while they neglected to acknowledge the damaging effects of concussions. Many parents are worried that concussions can really negatively affect their child’s life and are not letting their kids play football anymore. The reason the NFL is so popular is because they have very talented athletically gifted players. A decrease of children playing football can negatively affect athlete pool available for NFL teams, which could make NFL games less exciting.


Although there are many criticisms once the NFL season starts those are pushed aside and all people care about is their teams’ chances of making the playoffs. Do you believe the NFL will lose popularity and enter its decline phase if they continue to face more of these criticisms? Do you think expanding is a good idea even though player safety is a very major concern and will that have any effect?