Give me a W, give me a A, give me a L, give me a SQUIGGLIE, give me a M, give me a A, give me a R, give me a T, What’s that spell? WAL-MART!, Who’s Wal-Mart is it? Its my Wal-Mart! Who’s #1? The customer always (grunt)!
So, this is a typical way, every meeting I’ve had this summer has ended. The best part about it is that everyone participates and you never know what row of people are going to be called on to start the cheer, so you’ve got to be on your toes!
This summer, I am currently interning at Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas on the Private Fleet Strategy Team. Wal-Mart transportation has their own private fleet that gives them a competitive advantage to carry their 2.2 million stores loads and 1.2 vendor loads every year that is equivalent to about 805 million miles the 55,000 Wal-Mart drivers drive, annually. Wal-mart’s transportation network has grown significantly since diving into the grocery business about 10 years ago and currently one focus of the Fleet Strategy team is strategizing on how to optimally align with the current transportation infrastructure, while driving less empty miles ( trucks driving around carrying no freight – just heading back to distribution centers), picking up backhaul freight from vendors to offset the cost of transportation and optimally service all the stores.
In saying all that, my internship has been challenging but phenomenally rewarding and it definitely has had some amazing perks! My first week of the internship was Shareholder’s Week, a week dedicated to all the individuals and associates who own stock in Wal-Mart, to celebrate the successes of the company in the past year. Executives hold numerous business meetings all over Northwest Arkansas to talk about the business and announce strategies for the upcoming year in each separate division of Wal-Mart. I went to the logistics breakout session and we stood in the doorway with our hands out giving high-five’s to all the Wal-Mart drivers as they ran in, thanking them for their excellent service to our stores. It was pretty cool to experience that, which definitely made the drivers feel like a million bucks!
Throughout the week there were concerts at night with Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Chris Daughtery, and Foreigner – and activities at work all over the home office campus. At the end of the week is the final HUGE shareholder’s business meeting, held in the basketball arena on the University of Arkansas’s campus, where all the c-level (CEO, CFO, CMO, Chairman of the Board, etc.) speak to the crowds about the performance of the company the last year and the forecasts for next year. Intertwined with this business meeting were celebrities from all around the world and all the different cultures. Ben Stiller was the emcee for the meeting, American Idol – Kris Allen performed, Miley Cyrus performed, Michael Jordan talked about teamwork, Smokey Robinson performed, awards were given out to outstanding associates at Wal-Mart, etc. The culture at Wal-Mart has absolutely amazed me, the amount of time that is invested into the associates is incredible and even though this is the world’s largest retailer, good work actions in small places do not go unnoticed.
From there, I dove straight into my project learning the in’s and out’s of the world’s finest logistical system. I spent a lot of my time at the regional operations center (ROC) and sat with Load Logistic Managers, Freight Flow Mangers, General Transportation Managers, Regional Operations Managers, etc. to learn their business, so I could analyze data and make recommendations at the end of the summer. It’s been an exciting summer and I have lots more to share from here!