a guest post by Marketing Manager Josh Young of 8th & Walton
Last week I was extended the opportunity to attend, film, and document 8th & Walton’s supplier development training internationally in Mississauga, Ontario. This experience provided me with a front row seat to the challenges suppliers face in their everyday roles. The recurring process I witnessed of suppliers transitioning from challenge to solution was truly remarkable.
Prior to the course beginning, suppliers often voiced a position of frustration as they shared their day to day struggles. Even with the various collection of issues presented to the expert, which alone is worth noting, it wasn’t what stood out most. Instead, it was the quick and focused study by each expert providing action steps to create immediate solutions throughout each class that really caught my eye.
As I attended each class I remained glued to the course outline and followed slide by slide without a Retail Link ID or any real opportunity to solve a common challenge suppliers face. I came to the realization that this form of learning would only go so far given my situation. Instead, I focused my attention to the suppliers on hand. It didn’t take long for me to realize that was the perfect approach from my seat as the Marketing Manager here at 8th & Walton.
To look across the room of twenty five suppliers and see the excitement on their faces as they began targeting the scope of their business that needed the most attention in order to maximize revenue was incredible. The reports each supplier ran opened up continuous dialogue for our experts to zero in on and problem solve accordingly.
It was very impressive to see one challenge immediately become a solution, but perhaps more impactful was the relationships formed throughout the week with our experts. As you can imagine, not all challenges suppliers face can be handled within one course, so attendees often asked “which course?” and “how soon can I learn this?” Many client relationships developed directly into the scheduling of future personalized consulting sessions. One thing I made note of during the trip was the end of class appreciation from each attendee. I’m fairly certain I noted all twenty-five attendees personally thank our expert as they exited the class with many talking about their excitement to attend future classes.
Within my role I’ve been fortunate to work alongside Ron Tiarks, Executive Vice-President of our International Division, as he provides direction for our education and solutions strategy. In the five months I’ve been on staff here at 8th & Walton I’ve had endless opportunities to be a sponge and learn ways to better engage suppliers on our offerings. The insights he has shared with me have allowed me to benefit from his extensive background within Walmart.
Now having visited an 8th & Walton supplier training first hand, I’ve greatly increased my knowledge from a 360 degree viewpoint of the business. Getting the chance to put myself into a supplier’s shoes for a day has allowed me to engage with them and focus on what it is we provide that impacts their daily tasks and career development; and that is truly priceless.
The reason all of us are working here at 8th & Walton is to help suppliers become better business partners to Walmart and Sam’s Club. This trip only solidified that purpose and allowed me to see the full picture of just what that help looks like.