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Your Invoice Match Rate

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You’d like to cut out deductions on your invoices, but there are so many moving parts in the path from your company to Walmart stores that you’re overwhelmed. Sound familiar?

Here’s something that can be done quickly, with lasting results.

In Retail Link, find your Supplier Scorecard. Many people find it easiest to use the Site Map to pull it up. Run the Invoice Match Rate report and pull up the deductions.

You will see the numbers of deductions taken and the reasons. Common reasons include price differences, damaged items, items billed but not shipped, and packing issues such as incomplete cartons.

Now it’s time to take action. Pull the purchase order, the invoice, the Proof of Delivery, the remittance, and the claim for each deduction. Most of these documents are available through Retail Link.

Identify any errors, such as a mismatch between the PO and the invoice, and resubmit invoices as necessary.

If there are no errors in the paperwork, identify the most common problems. Are items getting damaged in shipping? Time to talk with your logistics company or to recheck your packaging. Are incomplete cartons turning up at the distribution center? Walk through the supply chain to determine the point of failure.

It can seem overwhelming to think about the deductions your company faces, but zeroing in on the issues that lead to the most deductions gives you specific issues to work on. Put in the time not to strive for abstract perfection but to fix specific problems that are costing your company money.

Check back in a month to make sure that your changes are working, and at that point you may see additional issues to work on.

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Retail Link Training in Hapeville, GA

Downtown_Hapeville,_Georgia_2

Conveniently situated near Atlanta, Hapeville is a historic town with a strong industrial background, recently becoming a popular bedroom community for Altanta’s young professionals.

Join us in Hapeville for Retail Link training this week.

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Walmart Gives Up on Wind Energy?

windfarm

Walmart had three small wind power installations in three different store parking lots, but one has now been removed. The 12 turbines at a Worcester, Massachusetts, Walmart Supercenter were in place for five years. Walmart says they’ll be reviewing data from those five years to see what can be learned.

Some commenters are claiming that Walmart will be giving up on wind power and focusing entirely on solar in its efforts to reach 100% renewable energy sources by 2020. This doesn’t seem to be the case, though.

Wind power is used extensively by Walmart Mexico, and Walmart in the U.S. uses wind power from a wind turbine at its distribution center in Red Bluff, California. Walmart also uses 60% of the output of Duke Energy’s wind farm in Texas.

Walmart also just announced a deal with Akuo Energy, a French company holding another large wind farm in Texas, to buy energy from that wind farm for the next 12 years.

The wind turbines which have been removed already were placed by an alternative energy company at their cost, with the understanding that they would charge Walmart for the energy produced. That company has gone out of business.

Walmart uses renewable energy for nearly one quarter of its global energy needs, but only 3% of its U.S. electricity comes from renewable sources, according to a report published in November of last year. The report claimed that Walmart is picking low-hanging fruit, installing extensive solar projects in the tropics while relying on coal for electricity throughout the Midwest where changes would have more effect on coal usage.

Consider Walmart’s stores in Puerto Rico, though. Solar panels there are extremely effective and supply a steady power source, while cutting costs in the territory, which has higher prices for its petroleum-based electricity than are commonly found on the mainland. By choosing the locations where renewable energy will have the biggest impact on costs, Walmart is making it possible to move toward the 2020 goal.

12 turbines in a Massachusetts parking lot may provide a symbolic message for critics, but it doesn’t represent a change in Walmart’s policy toward wind power.

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Walmart Supplier Glossary: PPE

PPE

PPE- Personal Protection Equipment

A large part of Walmart’s Responsible Sourcing initiative is focused on worker safety.  Some aspects of worker safety may be complex — keeping tabs on overseas factories to make sure that buildings are structurally sound or that workers there are not pushed to work beyond safe limits can be very complex.

But some steps toward worker safety are simple, and that includes PPE. Making sure that workers have access to and actually use protective eyewear, footgear, and gloves can prevent injuries with little effort.

This isn’t a Walmart-specific term, though it shows up in the Glossary section of Walmart’s Responsible Sourcing materials. OSHA clarifies the employer’s responsibilities when it comes to PPE:

  • Performing a “hazard assessment” of the workplace to identify and control physical and health hazards.
  • Identifying and providing appropriate PPE for employees.
  • Training employees in the use and care of the PPE.
  • Maintaining PPE, including replacing worn or damaged PPE.
  • Periodically reviewing, updating and evaluating the effectiveness of the PPE program

Click through the link above to get details on how to perform a hazard assessment and what PPE to provide for workers, and remember that Walmart expects you to make sure workers have appropriate PPE all along your supply chain.

Interestingly, the National Safety Council reports that 87% of workers surveyed have seen PPE violations — about the same percentage found in older observational studies of how many workers ignore safety regulations. Asking “Have you failed to wear PPE?” may lead to less honest answers.

In the same survey, the workers (who worked for a major Walmart supplier) were asked why they didn’t wear their PPE. The top four answers:

  • It’s uncomfortable, according to 62% of respondents
  • It wasn’t necessary for the task they were performing
  • It was too hot, apparently a special kind of uncomfortable
  • It’s unattractive

In a world where you’re held responsible for injuries to workers who choose not to wear safety glasses because they’re not cute, you have to be vigilant about PPE. Make sure you are providing appropriate, comfortable PPE. That may not be the cheapest option, but it’s much cheaper than dealing with worker injuries. And make sure that violations of the safety rules are taken seriously.

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The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience

Walmart’s sustainability commitment is one of the broadest and most aggressive in the industry, and it includes some interesting new technologies, like the Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) concept truck.

The body is built almost entirely of carbon fibers, dropping the truck’s weight by 4,000 pounds. The streamlined design reduces drag by 20%. It runs on electricity provided by a microturbine.

“It may never get on the road,” the Walmart corporate blog admitted, but the vehicle is still allowing Walmart to experiment with ways to increase fuel efficiency, and provides information that can be used in building the fleet for better, more sustainable performance.

Check out the Motortrend gallery photos to get a closer look, or see it for yourself at the upcoming ACTExpo in Dallas.

Walmart has increased the fuel efficiency of its fleet by 84% over the past decade, and is hoping that the WAVE of the future will keep them going in that direction.

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Shake Up in Walmart Grocery

shopper_by_Trueblood

Walmart has been making changes in its high-level staffing, and more changes are on the way in grocery, according to The City Wire. Basing their claims on a leaked internal memo, the Arkansas news source listed a number of grocery division changes:

  • Jack Sinclair is retiring this week.
  • Tony Airoso will be senior vice president of global food sourcing.
  • Chuck Tilmon will be vice president of fresh charter initiatives.
  • Scott Neal will be “meat czar.”
  • Shawn Baldwin will be senior vice president of fresh.
  • Jack Pestello will be senior vice president of private brands.

There are major forces affecting grocery. Changes in consumer behavior are at the top of the list.

Many of us can remember the Saturday family shopping trip, when Mom combed through her coupons, loaded up the kids, and took off for the Supercenter in the family car. Dad might come along, and he might spend some time browsing in the electronics area while Mom bought the weekly groceries.

A quick lunch at a fast food place in the Supercenter might be a reward for a busy family, so that they could run home and load all the groceries into the pantry and refrigerator quickly before heading out for the afternoon’s activities.

Some people still start their weekends this way, but more consumers do some of their grocery shopping online, arrange for in-store pickup on their coffee break, or stop at a small format store after work to grab the makings for that night’s dinner. The weekly family shopping trip, which has been the centerpiece of Walmart grocery shopping,  is on its way out.

Increasing competition from other sources of groceries also has an effect. In more and more towns, consumers can get home delivery of fresh and frozen foods, and dry goods are readily available online for everyone. The International Deli Dairy Bakery Association predicts that online grocery sales will reach $100 billion in 2018.

At the same time, nearly half of U.S. food dollars are spent away from home, with many Americans eating at fast food or fast casual restaurants three times a week or more. Add that coffee shop breakfast and cafeteria lunch, both of which are daily rituals for many, and demand for groceries may be falling.

Cuts in food stamps and rising food prices may also be having an effect on consumer spending patterns.

Walmart is currently working on improving the in-store experience, reducing food waste, and focusing on sustainable food sourcing. Grocery suppliers may need to be poised for agile responses to the changing reality of groceries in the U.S.

 

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Retail Link Training in Ontario

mississauga

8th & Walton will be providing Retail Link training and supplier development courses in Mississauga, Ontario, this spring.

A wide range of courses will be offered.

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Walmart Supplier Glossary: ROG

ROG

ROG= Receipt of Goods

Walmart determines invoice due dates based on the ROG, or the actual date when the products reach the store or distribution center, rather than on the basis of the shipping date or the due date on a bill.

Traditionally, ROG is used for items which have long shipping times. This means that the party that buys the goods can be sure they’re received in good condition before payment. For Walmart, this is standard procedure regardless of shipping times.

Walmart sends suppliers a notice when goods are received, and suppliers should retrieve that notice and be aware of the due date based on the ROG date. Suppliers must keep accurate records of shipping, receipt of goods, and payment of invoices. From Walmart’s point of view, this is the responsibility of the supplier.

The Walmart system looks for invoices 3 days before the due date and syncs them up with the information showing receipt of goods before paying.  If payment is not received, it is the supplier’s responsibility to notice this and figure out why by tracking down any possible errors or mismatches. Sometimes the solution may be to re-send an electronic invoice. Walmart does not accept paper invoices.

New suppliers who don’t realize that payments are based on ROG might get a shock when they find that they will not be receiving payment as soon as anticipated. Understanding the system can help your company handle cash flow.

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Walmart’s Push for Sustainable Beef

Minced_beef_meat_cow_cattle

Walmart has joined  more than a dozen other retailers and suppliers in creating the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, an organization dedicated to improving the sustainability of beef production in the U.S.

The Roundtable released a set of “Five Principles” intended to provide “a broad road map” for all those in the industry to use while working toward sustainability:

  • Produce beef in a manner that identifies and manages natural resources responsibly and maintains or enhances the health of ecosystems
  • Protect and respect human rights
  • Respect and manage animals to ensure their health and welfare
  • Ensure the safety and quality of beef products and utilize information-sharing systems that promote beef sustainability
  • Encourage innovation, optimize production, reduce waste and add to economic viability

The document is available at the website of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. In response to public comments on the document from a range of individuals and organizations, the Roundtable published a further document listing “tensions” that make it difficult to create clear criteria for sustainability:

  • cohesive requirements vs. local control
  • sustainability vs. profitability
  • reference to external standards vs. stand-alone viability
  • aspirational standards vs. realism

There were a number of additional issues addressed in the second document, including climate change, the possibility that beef production is intrinsically bad for the environment, and the inevitability that animals will feel pain during the production process. Farmers also expressed concern that the focus on the animals themselves overlooks sustainability issues elsewhere in the supply chain, and a hope that land management issues will be addressed fully.

Commercial beef production is one of the areas in which profitably producing goods that consumers want is hard to accomplish in a truly eco-friendly way, but the Roundtable is hoping to make significant changes and to increase collaboration on the issue.

For suppliers involved with beef production or using beef in their products, this is a good time to get in with concerns at the beginning, to take center stage with innovations, or to be an early adopter of the new standards. It’s also the right time to identify likely future changes that could be challenging in terms of costs, and start planning to make the changes workable.

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Walmart Sustainability Leaders

sustainability-leaders

Walmart is giving highly sustainable suppliers a new badge: Sustainability Leaders. It’s not just a feel-good badge, either: Sustainability Leaders will get their own special shop at Walmart.com.

It’s been known for some time that U.S. shoppers will choose a more eco-friendly brand whenever they find one that offers the same quality and value as the less eco-friendly alternative. Only about a third of American shoppers are willing to pay significantly more for greater sustainability, though, and many also say they can’t tell when one product is a better choice for the planet.

Walmart is changing that. First, Walmart encourages sustainability among all suppliers, while also maintaining a focus on EDLP and EDLC. Walmart shoppers can feel confident that products will be modestly priced. Second, the new badge allows shoppers to choose eco-friendly options with confidence, too.

The system is a little more complex that just giving badges to green suppliers or even putting badges on environmentally friendly products. Walmart worked with subject experts to identify the most important issues for each category of goods. For example, electronics are judged on the basis of their use of conflict minerals (minerals from mines controlled by terrorists) while bananas are judged by proper use of fertilizer and adhesive bandages must control the emission of toxic chemicals during manufacturing. In all, each category may have 10-15 factors to work on.

Within the category, suppliers may be chosen in two ways. If there is a generally high level of sustainability in a category, every supplier with 80% or better may get a badge. If not, the highest-scoring supplier may get a badge, even if their score is not 80%. One supplier may have many different scores, one for each category of products supplied. The Sustainability Consortium shares criteria for many categories on their website.

Consumerist points out that this system can lead to some counter-intuitive results, such as giant packages of bubble wrap (not an eco-friendly product overall) in the Sustainability Leaders shop because the supplier had a relatively high score for the product category.

So a shopper who is concerned about the environment can go to the Sustainability Leaders shop and click through to household goods, where he will find familiar brands like Dawn, Tide, Lysol, and Downy. This may not be your initial list of green cleaners, but it’s a reward for the suppliers, since the shopper’s response might be, “Hey, I didn’t know all these things I buy all the time are really eco-friendly choices!”

Walmart.com clearly states that the Sustainability Leaders shop doesn’t claim eco-friendliness for any particular product, but rather is spotlighting the suppliers who are category leaders in sustainability.

It’s one more reason to work on your sustainability score.

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