“At Walmart & Sam's Club, we believe in making a difference on the issues our customers and communities care about. We believe we can create more American jobs by supporting more American manufacturing.” - From Walmart’s web page
Attending the Walmart Open Call is a very interesting experience from an Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME) perspective. First, in 2013 Walmart set a goal of spending an additional $250 billion (yes, billion!) on American made products through 2023. Yes, this in the age of online shopping for pickup at your local Walmart, as well as on-line purchases delivered to your home address.
Within this context, Walmart has invited new potential suppliers to come to Bentonville, Arkansas to pitch their product in face to face meetings with buyers who can make immediate decisions on how to proceed. I witnessed this Open Call event recently and it’s amazing how it works. The buyer may select to start your product off in a few stores based on your initial capacity and work with you to expand. All the time with an eye on quality and price. Some decisions will be made on the spot, while others may take more discussion.
From an AME standpoint, this works well with our vision and mission to create a manufacturing renaissance and companies working toward enterprise excellence. This means focusing on continuous improvement in all aspects of the business to meet and exceed customer expectations in value, quality, cost and availability. Our members focus on sharing knowledge peer-to-peer and learning from others who have “been there - done that” and growing the business.
What I found at the Walmart Open Call were entrepreneurs who had an idea, had taken the risk to show that idea to Walmart and had made some initial progress toward enterprise excellence, but most had just begun their journey. They have a tremendous marketing and distribution network to bring innovative and unique products to market!
To underscore Walmart’s commitment, they are hosting their 5th annual Open Call for new U.S.-made products. This unique event is open to both current and potential US suppliers hosted at Walmart’s corporate offices in Bentonville, Arkansas on June 13, 2018. The daylong event provides information to potential suppliers, offers great networking opportunities, and gives businesses of all sizes from across the nation a chance at the big break they’ve been looking for with the world’s largest retailer. The Open Call event features suppliers who have previously won a contract and those returning for another opportunity to get on Walmart shelves. No matter how good a company is, they need to improve their processes to stay ahead of the competition and grow. This meets the AME goal of Share, Learn and Grow!
By using the AME Lean Sensei self-evaluation tool, these same entrepreneurs can rapidly expand their capabilities. With it, they can evaluate where their strengths and opportunities are and develop a strategy for rapid learning and growing without making all the mistakes that many companies make when growing! Anyone can download it for free at http://www.ame.org/lean-sensei.
The best approach is to have a group at your company go through the questions and come to a consensus on how you stand in each area ...Pick the top five opportunities and then you have your next year’s strategy!!!