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Unformatted text preview: a more in-depth understanding of customer needs and behaviors.
Sourcing spets were meant to develop and nurture the longer-term relationships with
suppliers that were necessary to support activities such as the organic cotton project and other
sustainability initiatives. According to Brandner, as a result of this organizational change as well
as the company’s focus on the environment, “We’re asking better questions, and it’s helping us
become smarter merchants.”
Progress as of Late 2006
The textiles network appeared to be making progress against its quick wins and innovation
projects, and improving supply chain efficiency. For example, Brandner recalled “We used to
buy cotton from Turkey, ship it to China for spinning and knitting, and then ship it again to
Guatemala to be cut and sewn. Now, by looking deeper into the supply chain, we’re finding
opportunities to do things like eliminate the shipment to China and have all processing done in
Guatemala.” This saved time and money, and reduced the environmental impacts associated
However, the game changer projectto reduce the environmental impacts of textile
manufacturinghad only just begun. According to Calahan Klein, to realize the full potential Walmart’s Sustainability Strategy (A) OIT-71A p. 20 for reducing environmental impacts, the industry would need to invest in new, disruptive
technologies that would dramatically alter the textile manufacturing process. Innovative startups, such as Aura Herbal Wear in India, were pioneering new processes with the potential to
drive this type of game-changing progress, but had not reached the scale necessary to supply
Walmart and, as a result, were not on the company’s radar screen. Furthermore, while
innovations such as the Aura process eliminated more than 8,000 chemicals used in traditional
textiles manufacturing, replacing them with natural herbs at a competitive cost and quality,
Walmart’s large suppliers had limited incentives to experim...
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- Winter '10