Transportation-Global Logistics 2
Wal-Mart Inc is a multinational retail company, operating a chain of warehouse and discount stores. It is a family owned corporation, which has great revenue and is the leading private employer. The corporation offers several retail arrangements including food and drugs, clothes, cash and concession stores, general commodities and supercenters. It is also considered among the world’s valuable firms by market value.
Wal-Mart’s Transportation Structure
In Wal-Mart’s supply chain, there are components such as procurement, where the company considers the customer requirements in the orders and makes available the right product. There is the component of distribution, logistics and finally inventory management (Chandran & Gupta, 2003, p. 24).
Distribution Centers: These are Wal-Mart’s business activity hubs. It is enabled with a fleet of trucks and trailers, provided with enough drivers. The hubs are strategically located, stocked and functioning on a daily basis, enabling a smooth flow of products in the company’s stores (Kasilingam, 1998, p. 165).
Trucks and Drivers: Wal-Mart moves its products from its distribution centers with privately owned trucks and professionally trained truck drivers. This arrangement makes it easier when delivering goods to customers and when transporting them from the storage or distribution hubs. The delivery process is conducted using the most efficient routes, thus, reducing cost, maximizing the merchandise and reducing the environmental effect (Kasilingam, 1998, p. 165).
Technology based logistics: In sales maximization and cost minimization, Wal-Mart sells its products online, on its privately owned website. This makes it possible for the company to sell volumes of products while still distributing locally on trucks. The firm uses e-business distribution systems for an improved customer service through convenience, reduced costs and customization. This click-on click- e- business involves improved order visibility, and more accurate forecasting. Moreover, to facilitate a swift and a flowing supply chain, the company has trade link software that is available online, where sellers make hauler appointments and also acquire data on the merged loads. This procedure compiles the retailers’ scorecards for on-time performance accessibility (Kasilingam, 1998, p. 165).
Which type of transportation is most important in Wal-Mart’s supply chain?
Road transport is the most used type of transport by Wal-Mart. They use thousands of trucks with skilled drivers that deliver the ordered goods to the customers, at the right place. The company has instituted cross docking at its stores, which enables the movement of stock directly to customers, from the departing or the arriving trucks. The items are packed and stored temporarily in the warehouse; before it is transported to the specified destination. The usage of several vehicle fleets with different drivers makes the company reliable and consistent in product delivery to its customers. It also saves on time, thus, creating more time to deliver the current ready orders. This methods result to reduced cost for the inventory storage and a better control of the existing stock (Chandran & Gupta, 2003, p. 24).
Could Wal-Mart use a different mix of transportation modes to improve its efficiency?
Wal-mart can implement other types of transportation while delivering goods to its customers. Air haulage is the most resourceful and a faster mode; it is effective and most advisable for perishable products. It reduces on cost and time, while meeting the customer’s delivery time. Rail transport is efficient for heavy items, and those that can be transported on larger volumes. Considering today’s technology, this mode is faster and can assuredly operate with complete convenience. This type of transport can be operated by brokers, who make sure that the consignment is safely delivered to the customers, form the distribution point. Door- to- door delivery can also be conducted though motor transportation. This can apply to small packages, which are potable and that are being delivered to short distance locations (Kasilingam, 1998, p. 165).
Wal-Mart can use Intermodal transportation, where it can combine several transportation modes for a more efficient delivery. Likewise, Containerization can be used in the intermodal integration for an enhanced interconnects between land and maritime transportation. Telecommunications is also a network that can help in the distribution of information during the transportation time. High networks during the business results to a low distribution cost. This network used during distribution has no physicality, although it can offer substitution for individual movements in various economic sectors. Like the rail transportation, maritime distribution of products can also be used for shipping large quantity goods over a longer distance. This mode can be used when shipping goods overseas, thus, reaching all potential customers (Kasilingam, 1998, p. 165).
Wal-Mart focuses on the end purchaser, and this makes this retail company great. Its consignment mode, which reduces cash to cash sequence, benefits both the retailer and the partners to the firm. This is because new efficiencies help in the movement of other customer fright items on equal swift schedules. Additionally, keeping the company’s shelves stocked maintains new and existing customers and most importantly, concentrates on the firm’s Supply Chain associates, in great ways that benefit Wal-Mart’s end customers (Chandran & Gupta, 2003, p. 24).
Chandran, P. M., & Gupta, V. (2003). Wal-Mart’s supply chain management practices. ICFAI Center for Management Research case collection.
Kasilingam, R. G. (1998). Logistics and transportation. Great Britain: Kluwer Academic Publishers.