First Worksheet To Complete

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This has been pasted from the worksheet.  All you have to do is read the portion below and answer the questions via the instructions below.  Also, I am not sure where you are located, but in the past I have had issues with broken English, terrible sentence structure, and terrible grammar.  Please be mindful of those issues.  Its all yours otherwise…

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is a leading company
in its industry and a widely recognized name, both domestically and
internationally. Additionally, Wal-Mart has taken steps to ensure the success
of not only its company but also their business ecosystem.

Wal-Mart Stores, established in 1969, is
the largest retail company in the world, with over 4,000 stores in 12
countries. Wal-Mart has three types of retail stores: discount stores,
supercenters, and neighborhood markets, as well as Sam’s Club warehouse stores.
Between the various types of Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores, Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc. offers merchandise and services that range for grocery goods and household
supplies to tire and lube service, clothing, and vision centers. Additionally,
Wal-Mart has an online music store, a private label cosmetics brand, and
pre-paid debit cards for low-income US customers. Some of the company’s
private-label brands are Sam’s Choice, Equate, No Boundaries, Mainstays, and
Parent’s Choice. Wal-Mart also stocks several licensed brands, including
General Electric, Disney, McDonalds, and Mary-Kate and Ashley. For the fiscal
year ending in January 2008, Wal-Mart reported over $375 billion in revenue (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Company Profile, 2008).

Wal-Mart has dominated its market, in part,
due to the way it approached its business ecosystem (Iansiti & Levien,
2004). There are many examples of Wal-Mart’s ecosystem approach, including
their procurement system and their recent focus on more specialized stores.

Keeping its ecosystem in mind, Wal-Mart has
built a procurement system that not only enhances its performance, but the
performance and operation of businesses within its ecosystem. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc. requires that all of its suppliers operate the RetailLink®
system (Requirements, 2008). RetailLink® is a one-of-a-kind system
that allows suppliers to receive real-time data regarding their product in
individual stores. Such real-time data allows suppliers to effectively plan for
and execute distribution, while also personalizing their product supply by
store. According to Iansiti & Levien (2004), “Wal-Mart’s procurement system
offers it’s suppliers invalueable real-time information on customer demand and
preferences, while providing the retailer with a significant cost advantage
over its competitiors” (p. 69).

Stankevich (2002) noted the success of
Wal-Mart’s system in terms of micromarketing and efficiency. Jon Ragsdale, vice
president of marketing at Dickies, discussed with Stankevich the way RetailLink®
brought to light the differences in demand for different sizes and colors of
products in different markets. Ragsdale noted, “Before RetailLink®, we were using pretty
much a cookie cutter approach to stores” (para. 10).

In recent years, Wal-Mart has begun to take
a more specialized approach by offering different goods and adjusting the
layout of the stores based on location demographics. Once a one shop fits all store, Wal-Mart now
has several stores that cater to the needs of a specific location. One store in
Plano, TX has been adapted to appeal to the higher number of affluent customers
in that area. The store now offers consumer-electronic specialists, that are
more versed in the specifics of electronics than a typical sales associate.
Also, that particular store adapted the sporting goods section to have more of
a child focus, based on the notion that more affluent individuals purchase
their sporting goods from country clubs (Zimmerman, 2006).

In
terms of competition, Wal-Mart plays an interesting role. While the most
obvious conclusion is that Wal-Mart is the biggest competition for small
businesses and retailers, it is apparent that their approach to a business
ecosystem is also positive for small business owners. “For small manufacturers
and small consumer-goods companies, Wal-Mart is the customer they pray for and
the one that can propel their company into big-time sales. Wal-Mart is the
‘elephant’ they dream of bagging” (Campbell, 2005, para. 5).

Questions

After reading the case study on Wal-Mart,
use the case study and information from your weekly readings to answer the
following questions in 200 to 300 words each.

1. 
What is a business ecosystem? Do all
businesses function within an ecosystem? Why or why not?

2. 
What potential role does the ecosystem
play in Wal-Mart’s innovation efforts? Provide examples.

In terms of innovation and creativity, what are
the advantages and disadvantages of functioning within an ecosystem? 

References

Campbell, A. (September 19, 2005). On Wal-Mart, small
businesses and business ecosystems. Small
Business Trends
. Retrieved June 13, 2008 from http://www.smallbiztrends.com/2005/09/on-wal-mart-small-businesses-and.html/

Iansiti, M. and Levien,
R. (March 2004). Strategy as ecology. Harvard
Business Review
. 82(3). 68-78. Retrieved on June 13, 2008 from Ebscohost
database.

Requirements. (2008).
Wal-Mart. Retrieved on June 16, 2008 from http://walmartstores.com/Suppliers/248.aspx

Stankevich,
D. (March 1, 2002). Sizing
the market:
Wal-Mart masters the micromarketing of clothing. Velocity Company. Retrieved on June 16,
2008 from http://www.velocity.biz/company/pr_sizing_walmart_retaillink.htm

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Company Profile. (May 2008). Datamonitor
Business Information Center
. Retrieved on May 30 from Marketline Business
Information Center.

Zimmerman, A. (2006, September
7). Thinking local: To boost sales, Wal-Mart drops one-size-fits-all approach.
The Wall Street Journal. p. A1.
Retrieved
on June 13, 2008 from ProQuest database.

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