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Thursday, January 20, 2011

You have to solve the questions - “Why did Walmart implemented QR system” and “What are the functions of supply chain management?” These two questions are related to MI0030 (E-Commerce and Web Design) SMU MBA 4th semester. Last time we had talked about “How was ‘protectionism’ practiced?

QR systems was implemented in the 1980s by Wall-Mart. Wal Mart invested half a billion dollars in computer and satellite communications networks, bar-code systems, scanners, and other QR equipment linking each point-of-sale terminal to distribution centers and headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Many believe that it was this system that enabled Wal-Mart to manage the explosive retail sales growth that catapulted the company to number one position in the US retail business.

The system enabled the company to maintain high service levels and increase sales while reducing the inventory costs to one-fourth of previous levels. Also by empowering its individual stores to order directly from suppliers, even overseas, individual Wal-Mart stores reduced inventory restocking time from an industry average of six weeks to thirty-six hours. Moreover, by tracking every sale through the point-of-sales devices to see what product was selling in large quantities, Wal-Mart stores were better able to keep their stores well stocked while maintaining tight inventories and low prices.

Supply Chain Management Functions:

Supplier Management: The goal is to reduce the number of suppliers and get them to become partners in business in a win/win relationship.

Inventory Management: The goal is to shorten the order-ship-bill cycle. When a majority of partners are electronically linked, information faxed or mailed in the past can now be sent instantly.

Distribution Management: The goal is to move documents related to shipping (bills of landing, purchase orders, advanced ship notices, and manifest claims).

Channel Management: The goal is to quickly disseminate information about changing operational conditions to trading partners.

Payment Management: The goal is to link the company and the suppliers and distributors so that payments can be sent and received electronically.

Financial Management: The goal is to enable global companies to manage their money in various foreign exchange accounts.

Sales Force Productivity: The goal is to improve the communication and flow of information among the sales, customer and production functions.

In sum, the supply chain management process increasingly depends on electronic markets because of global sourcing of products and services to reduce costs, short product life cycles, and increasingly flexible manufacturing systems resulting in a variety of customizable products.


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