Once again, Walmart held its summer Open Call U.S. Manufacturing event at its headquarters in Bentonville, AR in June 2018. Walmart was kind enough to extend an invitation for the Reshoring Institute to participate. Once again, we were so impressed with this well-organized and very interesting event.
Every year, the event starts with a general session where Walmart executives update the attendees on the progress toward the goal of buying $250 billion American-made products for sale at Walmart.com or in their stores, over a 10-year period. Walmart is in the 5th year of this program and is tracking to the plan. But the general session is so much more than just an update. The program starts with the “Walmart Cheer” and the enthusiasm continues throughout the session with positive messages and live tweeting.
Cindy Marsiglio, VP of U.S. Manufacturing and Sourcing, kicks off the event, followed by the CEO, Greg Foran. Asa Hutchinson, Governor of Arkansas, also speaks in support of manufacturers in his state. But most importantly, many Walmart suppliers tell their success stories of developing American-made products, pitching to Walmart, and being accepted into the U.S. Manufacturing Initiative. Some of these products are on display for the audience to see including patio furniture, food products, and toys.
This is also a story of jobs. Walmart estimates that one million jobs will be created in America because of the Initiative. Because manufacturing has a 1.4x positive economic magnifier effect on local economics it means that many communities across America will get a bonus benefit from this program.
The best part though is the enthusiasm and optimism of new potential suppliers anxiously awaiting their turn, to meet with a Walmart category buyer to pitch their product. After the morning general session, suppliers and buyers meet in small conference rooms to talk about American-made products. The excitement is palpable. During lunch, I sat with a manufacturer of lace curtains, a cosmetics producer, and a cleaning products manufacturer, all anxious for their afternoon pitch meeting.
Walmart is the “mother of all supply chains” with enormous power to bring manufacturing of consumer products back to America. Many industries have been renewed because of Walmart’s efforts including plastic extrusion and injection molding, small motor production, eyeglasses production, and contract manufacturing/assembly of all kinds of other products. Beyond consumer goods, many other industries will be positively affected as an unexpected bonus.
The Reshoring Institute salutes Walmart for this amazing initiative and the success they have achieved to date in helping their suppliers to reshore production. We look forward to the next five years of Walmart U.S. Manufacturing success.
About the Author
Ms. Coates is the Executive Director of the Reshoring Institute and the President of Blue Silk Consulting, a Global Supply Chain consulting firm. She is a best-selling author of: 42 Rules for Sourcing and Manufacturing in China and Legal Blacksmith – How to Avoid and Defend Supply Chain Disputes Ms. Coates lives in Silicon Valley and has worked with over 80 clients worldwide. She is also an Expert Witness for legal cases involving global supply chain matters. She is passionate about Reshoring.