Case Discussion Questions
Question 01: Based on the given information, draw a flow diagram of WLCâ€™s business with Wal-Martand Sharp, respectively.
Based on the information provided, the above designed flow diagram will be appropriate for WLC business for Wal-Mart. The idea of the above designed flow diagram is to basically have a more accurate check and balance of the decision making process at the company and it will also help in improving the control over the logistic and supply chain activities for WLC. As the research of the case confirms, WLC has been a major player and stakeholder for the export of Wal-Mart goods from China, therefore, it has to be more efficient and well organized in order to achieve positive and direct results. Therefore, the above diagram with all the different processes as designed above will be appropriate and feasible for the organization.
The above designed flow chart is for WLC with respect to its logistic management for Sharp. The company can follow the above steps in executing the strategies in a more appropriate manner. For instance, the control over the import process for the organization is integral to remain the driving force and the decision making authority for WLC. The Company needs to be remaining efficient in making the process smooth, connected and organized in the most efficient manner.
Question 02: Analyze the main characteristics of WLCâ€™s export process for Wal-Mart and of the import process for Sharp. What are the major challenges and problems associated with each process?
The main characteristics of WLC export process for Wal-Mart have been Maersk Link which is the key decision maker in the process for export with respect to Wal-Mart in China. Furthermore, the freight forwarder company, the manufacturing organizations and finally the WLC. These are the major stakeholders within the export process for Wal-Mart. Moreover, the major stake remains with Maersk as they are the final authority to make the decisions and include the responsible organizations to become a part of the export process.
Along with this, Maersk has also established an information exchange platform to further strengthen the process and identify the orders, logistics service request and the order fulfillment with accurate timings and information transfer. Furthermore, the role of the WLC is also vital because it is the major stakeholder in ensuring quality products are packed and delivered to the freight forwarder. Therefore, the above discussed are the major characteristics of Wal-Mart export process.
On the other hand, the major characteristics in the import process for Sharp basically are much simpler and easier than that of the Wal-Mart. For instance, there are only four key individuals that are essential in the operations and coordination of the import mechanism for the company Sharp. The one contact person from all the four partners, MOL- Shanghai, HIFF, WLC and the Sharp is essential to run the process in a more organized manner. Therefore, it can be said that the process is simpler because of the one major reason and that is the distance since China and Japan are close by therefore, Sharp has a better control over the execution of the strategies and check and balance of the process.
The major challenges and obstacles that are associated with Wal-Mart export is that the overall check and balance of the process is a confused and poorly managed. For instance, the parties involved have been given the complete authority and they become the in charge of the decision making which is a major flaw considering the reputation and brand equity of Wal-Mart. Moreover, the execution of strategies is also not the most organized one because Wal-Mart has outsourced its facilities to Maersk who becomes the major stakeholder in the logistic management process.
With respect to Sharp, the process is a much smoother one. However, since WLC does not have the most comprehensive information platform to communicate with the partnering companies therefore the process is not organized manner. The overall deployment of the information system has to be reassessed where the coordination should be more efficient and effective in the current situation.
Question 03: Suggest ways for improving the logistics process for Wal-Mart, and discuss possible social, economic, cultural, and political impacts that may hinder the implementation of your suggestions.
Wal-Mart being one of the largest retailers in the world needs to improve the logistic process with respect to its China production and manufacturing unit. The reason is simple, as for now, various issues have been observed where there has been minimal control of the organization in logistic planning and execution. The delivery of goods is not ensured with the QA department and the intermediaries are made the decision makers in this regard which is a questionable element for Wal-Mart.
In this regard, the most obvious improvement that can be made by Wal-Mart in its logistic process will be to introduce a separate department within the company that shall be directly involved in the execution of logistic process in the organization and to look after the supply and demand or the import and export of the logistic management. For instance, the department should directly deal with the logistics in China so that the overall process delivery, quality and processes should be more efficient and effective in this regard.
Along with this, another change or improvement within the logistic process for Wal-Mart can be the hiring of an external company that can deal with the logistic companies on behalf of Wal-Mart. Since this is also one of the specialized fields, therefore, having a separate department deal with the company will be the most detailed decision and it will have better control for the company where the third party will be the responsiblestakeholder for all the decision making with resepct to logistic and transportation management at Wal-Mart.
In spite the fact that the process will be a major breakthrough in the overall performance, Wal-Mart will be able to deliver optimum results and it will help in the better performance of the company. However, the most obvious concern of the above mentioned process will be related to cultural difference. Since Wal-Mart is a US based company, hiring a third part logistic provider will be a complicated situation in terms of culture because it will be a cultural difference between the two entities. The new organization shall not be able to sustain the similarities and the cultural difference will prevail more predominantly.
Along with this, the political difference will be the tariff rates, the political stability of the new country which will be the outsource organization working on behalf of Wal-Mart. The difference between the two organizations will be difficult to handle along with the major technological indifference too. For instance, US is one of the most efficient countries with their technological performance, however, a new company taking up the role might lack the similar characteristics and it shall not be able to perform the same way, therefore, this can also be a major issue or concern for the industry player.
In the end, it can be said that Wal-Mart needs to work on the logistic management of the organization. However, the decisions that need to be taken should be correlated to the current setup and system of the company because eventually Wal-Mart is the brand name and carries a brand equitry6 which needs to be maintained at all cost.
Question 04: Do you think that the Domestic and International Logistics Departments at WLC should be integrated? If yes, what are the potential challenges and possible implementation procedures?
I believe the domestic and the international logistics department at the WLC should be integrated together. The reason is simple, the two departments are correlated and therefore they need to be functioning together. Moreover, the domestic department has been controlled by the independent financial and accounting system.
The unit is specifically dedicated to business operations and management that are related to domestic logistic projects. The department is managed and run by the professional team with experience and it has a greater reputation with customer eccentric strategies, rigorous and also flexible management told and customer care initiatives. The department as confirmed is focused on rich experience, advanced IT system and satisfactory demand of high quality and changing services in the organized direction.
The international logistics department was established in 2004 at WLC. It has about 40 employees where there are three areas of business are handed such as the monitor and control, freight forwarding and finally the containerization service is managed by the GM Mr. Wang. The department is also established to focus on the relationship with the several world-class companies including BASF-YPC, Nanjing Fiat, Nanjing Benz Electric Co. Ltd., Nanjing LG-Panda Inc., Nanjing Philip LCD Co. Ltd., and Wal-Mart.
The overall performance of the two departments has been rather efficient and effective which has ensured the success of WLC. In this regard, the company needs to adhere to the standards and should look to sync the two departments together which will allow a better execution and control on part of the two company units accordingly.
The idea of integrating the two departments has its positives and negatives, however, in spite the major benefits of the change in the business process, the organization will also have to face various challenges in implementing the procedure at the company. The reason is simple, this will require the two departmental heads to work closely together which has not been done in the past, and therefore, a change in execution and implementation process will be an unsettling thing for the company.
Along with this, the organizational structure will also be disturbed which again will be a major shift in the overall execution of strategies. These employees will need to be trained accordingly where they can work in both departments simultaneously because the mechanism for the two departments is different and it needs to be managed in an organized manner where the results can be attainable and realistic with resepct to the success of the organization in the long run. Therefore, the organizational shift will be important and it shall require complete control of the management with respect to the defining of roles for each business unit accordingly.