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Sample Essay on Company Information and Supply Chain Assessment

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Sample Essay on Company Information and Supply Chain Assessment


History and Background

Walmart is one of the largest retail corporations in the US operating a chain of hypermarkets, grocery stores, and discount department stores. It was founded in 1962 by Sam Walton with its incorporation coming in 1969. Its headquarters are located in Bentonville, Arkansas, USA, although it has over 11,534 stores and clubs in 23 countries.According to the Fortune Global 500, in 2014, Walmart was the largest company by revenue and the biggest private employer worldwide with over 2.2 million employees.

Supply Chain Outlook

The success of Walmart is a largely attributed to its effective supply chain management.The giant store’s supply chain managers, often located at the headquarters in various countries, make financial payments to suppliers for the supply of goods and other materials. The suppliers then transport the procured goods to Walmart’s distribution centers, which later are accessed or transport the goods to retail stores. The retail stores further communicate with supply chain managers through video links and other platforms regarding the exhaustion and decrease or increase in demand for goods. A diagram of Walmart’s supply chain is as follows:

Strategic Alliances

In a bid to minimize cost entry into new markets, manage risks and sharing costs, as well as to exploit economies of scale, Walmart has since its foundation formed strategic alliances with companies such as Humana, Li Feng, and Stanley Works.

Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Walmart’s greatest supply chain vulnerability is failed implementation of supply chain technology, such as the RFID saga that had a huge negative impact on the company’s supply chain. Other supply chain vulnerabilities at Walmart include intellectual property loss and workers’ strikes(Dittman 21).


History and Background

Kmart is a chain of American discount department stores founded in 1962, although it purchased Sears in 2005 to form a new corporation named Sears Holdings Corporation. Its headquarters are in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA, although it has several other stores in Guam, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, and Eastern Europe. It is one of the largest retail stores in the US after Target and Walmart(Williams and Glenna 40).

Supply chain outlook

Kmart’s ineffective supply chain management has been one of the reasons behind its downfall in recent years. However, significant changes made to Kmart’s supply chain have seen direct supply of materials from its corporate headquarters or stores to consumers(Williams and Glenna 41). A diagram of Kmart’s supply chain is as follows:


Strategic alliances

As with the case of Walmart, Kmart has since its foundation in 1962 formed strategic alliances with companies such as Sears and Martha Stewart.

Supply chain vulnerabilities

One of the supply chain vulnerabilities at Kmart is the inability to master supply-chain technology. Other key supply chain vulnerabilities at the company include natural disasters and damage to goods during exportation or importation.


History and Background

Harbor Freight Tools is a renowned privately held discount tool and equipment retailer with its headquarters in Calabasas, California, USA.It was founded in 1968 by Allan Smidt but was later rebranded as a mail-order business in 1977 by Eric Smidt, Allan Smidt’s son(Jones and Mark 146).  It operates a chain of retail stores, a mail-order, and other eCommerce businesses in 47 other states in the US.  It offers over 7000 tools and related products and employs more than 11,000 in the US.

Supply Chain Outlook

Harbor Freight Tools’ effective supply chain is one of the reasons behind its success. Once tools and other equipment are manufactured, they are distributed to various distribution centers or stores via trucks. The said tools and equipment are then distributed to retail stores from the stores through trucks as shown in the diagram below.

Strategic Alliances

To enhance online sales of tools and other equipment, Harbor Freight Tools formed an alliance with Vignette Corp, which is a leading provider of customer driven internet applications in 2001.

Supply Chain vulnerabilities

As seen above, Harbor Freight distributes tools to retailers through trucks, and as such, supply chain vulnerabilities such as unexpected transit delays, theft, changes in customers’ orders, and warehouse production malfunctions are common(Wisner et al 33).





Works Cited

Dittman, J. Paul. “Managing risk in the global supply chain.” Production and Operations Management 14.1 (2005): 2.

Jones, DG Brian, and Mark Tadajewski, eds. The Routledge Companion to Marketing History. Routledge, 2016.

Williams, Anita B., and Glenna Sumner. “Kmart: A Capstone Case.” ACADEMIC FORUM. No. 27. 2010.

Wisner, Joel D, Keah-Choon Tan, and G K. Leong. Principles of Supply Chain Management: A Balanced Approach. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, 2016. Print.



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