Walmart overhauls supply chain team in omnichannel push

Walmart is restructuring its supply chain leadership team as part of its bid to deliver a seamless omnichannel experience.

According to an internal memo seen by CNBC, Greg Smith, Walmart’s Executive Vice President of Supply Chain, will lead the new look team. He’ll report jointly to Greg Foran, President and CEO, Walmart US and Marc Lore, President and CEO, Walmart E-commerce US.

Twelve executives representing distribution, e-commerce-fulfillment, reverse logistics, inbound and outbound transportation and automation strategy functions will all report to Smith. Walmart declined to comment on whether the move will result in any layoffs.


Physical presence

Walmart’s 4,500 stores give it the distribution firepower it needs to compete against e-commerce rivals, in particular Amazon.

This compensates for the fact that it has 20 fulfilment centres supporting its online business, compared with 100 for Amazon. “One of the realities of fresh and perishable food is if you don’t sell it, you throw it away or give it away,” Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said in a recent interview with Fortune.

“When you have a store environment and you have fresh or perishable food so close to people, those stores then become dual store and pick centres.” He added that 60% of Walmart stores “function in that way and that’s an advantage for us.” Amazon currently has a small physical presence, other than Whole Foods.

Walmart now offers grocery pickup at 3,100 US stores and by year-end will have rolled out same-day grocery delivery at 1,600. As it hones its food delivery and pickup services, it is also learning to use its physical estate to fill non-food orders more efficiently, McMillon stated.

He also said that he admired Amazon’s focus on “speed innovation customer centricity convenience…We’re not proud, we’re not egotistical. If someone is doing something better than we are, let’s copy and paste when we should and when we can.”



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