Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is calling for more American suppliers, after hosting their first open call on Tuesday from their HQ in Bentonville, Arkansas. They are prepared to spend $250 billion in ten years on products manufactured in the U.S., and have scheduled in excess of 800 meetings with 175 buyers. Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. said of the decision:
“We believe we have the opportunity to make jobs in your communities. Changes in the cost of energy and transportation and all the variables that make up manufacturing are swinging in the direction of the U.S. It’s more efficient and effective to manufacture here now. We made a commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in 10 years...We’ll see growth in areas and markets where we haven’t seen growth in many years.”
The aim is to create a range of purely U.S. made products, and Simon called it an “American issue”. Executive vice president of the consumables division Michelle Gloeckler reinforced this when explaining the most competitive American products are “made of raw materials that are available here, such as cotton, plastics and metals. Also, goods with highly automated product processes and items that are inefficient to ship are competitive.” She went on to explain that Wal-Mart's role in the market is as leader, and called the open a call a triumph. They made commitments to a range of products, from shampoos to sweaters to home furnishings.
The brand have launched a $10 million five-year scheme which will focus on textile production, and they are two host a two-day manufacturing summit in August. Gloeckler said “Factories with capacity and flexibility can display those parts in a trade-show format at the summit and suppliers can find them. We think it will rejuvenate the supply chain.”
Production time for U.S.-made products is also shorter, so stock could be on sale in store within 60 days, and online even faster. Wal-Mart has also launched a Made in the U.S. eCommerce shop this week.
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