Walmart’s Bricks-and-Mortar Footprint VS Amazon

Walmart’s Bricks-and-Mortar Footprint VS Amazon

Did you know 90% of Americans live within ten miles of a Walmart? To compete with Amazon, Walmart is leveraging its physical footprint. Its strategy includes:

  1. doubling stores as warehouses, allowing online shoppers to order at the last minute and pick up orders from self-service stations
  2. using machine learning techniques to restock frequently ordered items and prevent stock out
  3. equipping employees with an optimization app that charts employee’s shortest path to fulfill eight different orders at once
  4. using robots to stroll around store aisles to alert a store employee to restock items
  5. using robots to unload trucks and sort boxes, giving priority to out of stock items for easier re-shelving

This post is based on the Fast Company article, The clever way Walmart is trying to beat Amazon, by Katharine Schwab, March 19, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock / Jojje

Discussion Questions:

1. What operations strategies does Walmart use to compete with Amazon?

Guidance: Building on its vast physical presence, Walmart is competing with Amazon for online shoppers in two areas: delivery and ordering.

Walmart uses its warehouses for last-mile delivery saving storage and delivery costs while providing online shoppers with convenient and fast order fulfillment options.  Continue reading

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Diamonds at Rock-Bottom Prices

Diamonds at Rock-Bottom Prices

February 21, 2019

World-famous diamond company, De Beers, attempts to put competitors in the budding lab-grown diamond business out of work by drastically undercutting their prices.

High quality lab grown diamonds look identical to the real thing, but they offer a special appeal to some consumers, especially Millennials, who want stones that are obtained in ethically responsible and sustainable ways.

Diamonds grown in the lab also sell for substantially less.  Whereas a mined one-carat diamond might carry a $6,000 price tag, a one-carat lab-grown stone averages $4,200.

However, De Beers prices its Lightbox lab-grown line at an average $800 per carat, hoping to further differentiate lab-grown diamonds from “real” diamonds to preserve their status and appeal and also to drive the competition out of business.


Video Spotlight: Are lab-grown diamonds here to stay? (video is included in the article)


This post is based on The Star Online article, Lab-grown diamonds are forever too!, no author given, January 26, 2019; and the Yahoo Finance article, Lab-grown diamonds will survive Big Diamond’s attempt to kill them, startup says, by Zack Guzman, January 14, 2019. Image source: © McGraw-Hill Education/Charles D. Winters.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why do some customers prefer lab-grown diamonds? Continue reading

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P&G’s New Waterless Cleaners: Big Ideas in Small Packages

P&G’s New Waterless Cleaners: Big Ideas in Small Packages

January 30, 2019

Ten years in the making, revolutionary new DS3 cleaning products by Procter and Gamble are liquid-free and have no plastic packaging.

Personal care products like body wash, hand soap, and shampoo as well as home cleaners like laundry soap and toilet cleansers are sold in dry packets.

The removal of water reduces the weight of the product by 80% and the space by 70%, offering sustainability as well as convenience for home use or travel.  Eight DS3 products are due to be in stores in late 2019.

This post is based on the Cincinnati Business Courier article, P&G launching liquid-free cleaning products for home and body, by Barrett Brunsman, December 31, 2018; and the Global Cosmetics News article, P&G to launch waterless, plastic-free beauty brand DS3, by Georgina Caldwell, January 1, 2019. Image source: McGraw-Hill Education.

Discussion Questions:

1. How does the new waterless design relate to sustainability?

Guidance: Since the packets are lighter and smaller, shipping costs and storage space are reduced.  Additionally, the products contain fewer chemicals than those typically used in home cleaners and no unnecessary ingredients.  For instance, these cleaners have no chlorine-based bleaches or phosphates.  Biodegradable and recyclable Continue reading

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