Wednesday, April 15, 2009


“Sam Walton didn't care much for technology. The legendary patriarch of Wal-Mart Stores was well-known for his lack of excitement about ‘computers,’ as he called the company's IT systems. ‘Truthfully, I never viewed computers as anything more than necessary overhead,’ he wrote in his 1992 memoir, Made in America. ‘A computer is not—and will never be—a substitute for getting out in your stores and learning what's going on.’ Many still consider Wal-Mart's pioneering, IT-driven supply chain to be the world's most efficient, and the company's technology standards still command respectful attention from its thousands of suppliers.” – (Thomas Wailgum,

The leading innovative progression of technology through Wal-Mart has been a key issue to its success. The technology aspect of the retail giant has kept Wal-Mart’s prices lower than its competition. Wal-Mart’s networks are cutting edge, communicating to every employee in the company from the cashier to the CIO. Strategically outsourcing their technical communication has allowed Wal-Mart to focus on the business itself with efficient mobility and low prices. The biggest move Wal-Mart has made to improve their system intelligence is outsourcing their databases to NCR Corporation bringing their total disk storage to over 7.5 terabyte make it the largest commercial database system in the world. The Neo Vista Company, providing Wal-Mart with software which was tailored to match the requirements of the database environment makes a great collaboration with their NCR databases. The software provided by Neo Vista, ERP, has helped management effectively communicate with other departments such has accounting and human resources which is called Data-Mining. Data mining enables any employee in Wal-Mart to access key information about any particular item sold in real time. To help the communication, Wal-Mart has pioneered satellite system linking stores and headquarters, but has switched to the frame relay method of transmitting data over shared, publicly owned phone lines which is used on its DS3 network that runs at 44.736 Mbps which virtual circuits connects multiple offices. Although from the Blog one can see how a Data-Ware house is the foundation of Data-Mining, the incredible idea of reaching the information from any location has been so innovative that it had brought Supply Chain Management a basis for any retailer.

What my team has found the most interesting about Wal-Mart is the simplistic idea which had created supply chain management. The interesting aspect of the whole idea is how it all comes together. There has been so much though and innovation developed to create the success of supply chain management. The company who controls the database, the company who provides a particular software, the LAN connections, interface and the devices and components such as the network hubs which all collaborate to enable employees to access make sense of the information. Wal-Mart has been the pioneer of Supply Chain Management and it would not exist without the network planning and configuration of the Data-Warehouse, Data-Mart and Data-Mining.

Wal-Mart Trumps Moore's Law” This article expresses the true importance and impact that Wal-Mart has made on the retail industry; stating “Microsoft and Cisco may set technical standards; Wal-Mart sets business process standards”. The article states more about how simple economics takes place but implementing instead of inventing. Wal-Mart being highly productive has forced other industries to follow in its footsteps, setting a standard of business productivity and efficiency. The article states that Wal-Mart has grown so large due to it’s innovation that it could actually effect the software companies fate. For example, if Wal-Mart switched to open source programs, it would effect the whole software industry due to their size and because other companies would follow their lead.