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Working with Walmart: What suppliers really think


If the eyes are the window to the soul, then Walmart’s suppliers are the window to its future thanks to the truly unique relationship the retailer enjoys with its trading partners. Walmart brought new meaning to the concept of collaboration when it pursued a strategy of data transparency decades ago that enabled fact-based decision making. Suppliers embraced what at the time was a novel approach in the retail industry and their support over the years facilitated Walmart’s expansion, sales growth for all concerned and low prices for consumers.

Connecting Northwest Arkansas thought it was an ideal time to take the pulse of the Walmart supplier community in Northwest Arkansas. The goal was to gauge the extent to which Walmart’s suppliers are aligned with the company on some long-held tenets of the business relationship that are seen as critical to improving performance in addition to gathering suppliers’ thoughts on their needs, concerns and competition.

The project was undertaken in the spirit with which Connecting Northwest Arkansas was created more than five years ago to serve as, “the supplier community resource.” We worked closely with Cameron Smith and Associates to leverage the recruiting firms’ contacts in the supplier community which were essential to securing responses from 139 participants. Those who participated represent suppliers large and small across the spectrum of categories sold at Walmart. Virtually all of the respondents are based in Northwest Arkansas where collectively their companies employ approximately 2,000 people and interact with Walmart at all levels of the organization during the course of selling billions of dollars worth of merchandise worldwide.

Click here to download the survey.

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