Small Changes By Walmart Lead to Hundreds of Millions in Savings

Small Changes By Walmart Lead to Hundreds of Millions in Savings

March 11, 2020

Walmart is leveraging small cost savings projects to save major dollars across the supply chain.  The company plans to save $60 million by changing the way it buys shopping bags. By using recycled materials, Walmart has reported 15% savings on the cost of vests worn by workers.

Additional savings: $100 million annually by centralizing how it maintains equipment in its stores thru energy efficiency, and a whopping $200 million by changing the light bulbs in stores and parking lots.

These are just a few of the savings Walmart has identified. The company is improving its bottom line by finding ways to be more efficient with a special emphasis on sustainability.


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This post is based on the CNBC article, Walmart changed the way it buys shopping bags and saved $60 million – and that’s just one way it cut costs, by Lauren Thomas, February 18, 2020, and the YouTube videos featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: SEG – ALL.

Discussion Questions:

1. Walmart seems to be Continue reading

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Kia Recalls SUVS Due to Fire Hazard

Kia Recalls SUVS Due to Fire Hazard

March 9, 2020

Kia is joining Hyundai in recalling SUVs and minivans in the United States because of an electrical short that is a known fire hazard.

Kia and Hyundai combined have recalled over 650,000 vehicles due to this issue in the braking system computer. Engine fires have been reported for several years now in both Kia and Hyundai vehicles.


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This post is based on the CBS News article, Kia recalls over 200,000 SUVs and vans for electrical problems that can cause fires, by AP, February 21, 2020, and the YouTube videos featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Shutterstock/piotr szczepanek.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why does there seem to be a systematic issue with engine fires for these manufacturers?

Guidance: Students should recognize that a good quality management program should theoretically eliminate a systematic issue altogether.  Ask students to consider the impact of sourcing on quality management.  It is likely the assembled parts, such as the braking computer system, are being shipped from Chinese factories.  Continue reading

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Sour Grapes: Oversupply of Wine Forces Price Drops

Sour Grapes: Oversupply of Wine Forces Price Drops

March 8, 2020

For two decades, wine sales have increased. Until this year.

With wine sales dropping unexpectedly, it has caused an oversupply of grapes that was not in the forecast by California wineries.  The result of the oversupply of grapes combined with lagging wine sales is a reduction in the price of wine.

It takes five years from planning to harvest for wine grapes on average. Experts predict the demand/supply imbalance in grape harvests will not be resolved for another 2-3 years.


Video Spotlight:


This post is based on the CNN article, The price of wine is dropping fast, by Allen Kim, February 17, 2020, and the YouTube videos featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: Dmitri Ma/Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the challenges to long-term forecasting for grape production?

Guidance: This article provides a good lead-in to review the risks to long-term forecast estimates.  Students should note that all long-term forecasts are very risky due to factors such as market changes, political policies, Continue reading

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