Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Walmarts logistics

   So, we learnt that,  the use of trucks in different distribution centers and warehouses is inevitable in a few industries. Not just inevitable, it somehow seems to get more profitable. But what if the prices of fuel soar? Higher fuel costs would , in a way mean that people are using their money to buy gasoline instead of spending it on goods.
   According to the latest reports, the U.S. diesel prices , in almost all the U.S, regions have been dropping consistently, this time for the third week yet, in the week ending Sept. 30, dropping a total of 6.2 cents during this period, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.The national average price is $3.91 and this has shown a decline of almost 0.8 percent week by week.
California saw the largest decrease in diesel price this week, with a drop of 3.7 cents to $4.172. The price in the Central Atlantic region slipped to $3.997, leaving only the average prices in the New England and California regions above the $4 per gallon mark. Now , lets take a look at Walmart’s truck logistics…
    Walmart has 158 distribution centers with a fleet of  6,500 tractors, 55,000 trailers and more than 7,000 drivers. They maintain a private fleet of trucks and a skilled staff of truck drivers, as also they believe that their team of drivers is the best in the world. They’re part of one of the largest and safest fleets, and every year they drive 700 million miles to make millions of deliveries to our stores and clubs.
     They aim at transporting their merchandise in sustainable ways ,  drivers follow the most efficient routes to their destinations, and work to minimize the number of “empty miles” they drive. Thus giving us a glimpse of what we could probably term as “lean cost cutting”.. they try to maximize their merchandise and minimize the losses. Just last year, Walmart drivers logged 28 million miles while transporting 65 million cases. Those improvements avoided nearly 41,000 metric tons of carbon emissions – the equivalent of taking 7,900 cars off the road.
    But , what if Walmart establishes it in some country wherein fuel for such kind of a logistic demand proves to be extremely costly ?  Like, letsay India...  They would then need to develop flexibility in their mode of transport… this would mean starting from scratch because it would involve everything including the geographic study of the place , to the resources . So, I would conclude that, while determining the logistics of such a huge chain , instead of following a standard protocol, one may want to attribute certain decisions to the specificity of the location wherein the supply chain is set.

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