Master Class 1 – The Walmart Way

Michael Bergdahl with members of the Kuala Lumpur Master Class in Kuala Lumpur

Michael Bergdahl with members of the Kuala Lumpur Master Class in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The Walmart Way: Strategies of the World’s Largest Company©


The Walmart Way Master Class is based on Michael Bergdahl’s first hand experiences working at the Walmart Headquarters directly with Sam Walton. Bergdahl documented his experience in his book, What I learned from Sam Walton: How to Compete & Thrive in a Walmart World. 

In this Master Class Bergdahl discusses “The Walmart Way” through an explanation of the company’s 7 key strategies. Following the acronym “POCKETS”, which stands for Price, Operations, Culture, Key Item Promotion, Expenses, Talent and Service, Bergdahl explains the key to the concepts and best practices that made Walmart the world’s largest company.

In addition to explaining the strategies and tactics of Walmart and its founder Sam Walton, this Master Class helps participants understand how to utilize the POCKETS strategy in their own businesses and teaches the best practices to help them compete and thrive in a Walmart World.

Most importantly Bergdahl provides tools that attendees can take away and use immediately to make their own businesses even more successful.

The Master Class

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. – Registration
9:00 am to 11:00 am – Session 1: Price & Operations Strategies & Tactics for Business Success
“Wal-Mart / Sam Walton’s Strategies & Tactics for Business Success
  • What Businesses can learn from “The Walmart & Sam Walton Way”
  • Then: How Sam Walton almost failed in 1962 * Now: Tough Economic Times Even for Walmart
  • Strategies of the world’s largest company * Tactics of the world’s richest man
  • Best practices to compete, survive, and thrive in tough economic times
  • As you learn about Walmart, you’ll gather tools you can use to help you to compete
  • Definition/Explanation of POCKETS Niche Strategy * The Seven Strategies of Walmart
  • Global Expansion Plans * Media Scrutiny of the Most Admired Company 2003 & 2004
Price Strategy
  • How did Walmart turn its pricing strategy into such a powerful competitive advantage?
  • Sam Walton’s discounting principle * Every day low prices * price rollbacks * special buy merchandise * predatory pricing
  • Low price strategy driven by high inventory turnover * Chinese/Asian Manufacturing critical to low price profitability
  • Shopping cart comparisons * Walmart passes expense savings along to the customer via lower prices
  • Pricing tools for you
Operations Strategy
  • What makes Walmart’s store operations unique? * The history of Walmart
  • Global presence * types/number of stores and distribution centers * Supply chain driven company
  •  Technology/Cross docking/Spoke and hub distribution/No traditional warehouses
  • Benchmarking best practices * Operational excellence Standards – High expectations are the key to everything
  • Continuous learning/Continuous improvement/Flow charting processes
  • Operations tools for you * questions & answers
11:00 – 11:30 am – BREAK
11:30 – 1:00 pm – Session 2: Culture Strategies & Tactics for Business Success
Culture Strategy
  • How did Sam Walton turn Walmart’s employees into a key ingredient of the company’s success?
  • Why your people make the difference when the going gets tough * Profit sharing drives the Walmart engine
  • Sam Walton was a servant leader * Golden Rule Values
  • The Sam Walton way is the Walmart way * Sam Walton’s 10 rules &  3 values
  • Entrepreneurial spirit/work ethic * empowering people by pushing decision making downward
  • Embrace change/risk-taking * reinforce company standards using folklore and storytelling
  • Culture tools for you * questions & answers
1:00 – 2:30 pm – Lunch
2:30 pm to 4:00 pm – Session 3: KIP/Product & Expense Strategies & Tactics for Business Success
Key Item Promotion/Product Strategy
  • The secret to Sam Walton’s strategy for selecting products for Walmart’s stores
  • Why selling skills and supplier partnerships are important * Everyone is a merchant regardless of job function
  • Volume Producing Item program to reinforce merchant skills
  • Execution of product promotions * outside-in approach to product and service selection
  • Vendor partnerships/Vendorville * 3 types of Walmart suppliers  * Negotiating to supply Walmart
  • Automated replenishment & just-in-time inventory
  • Store Wars – Wal-Mart battles retailers horizontally and suppliers vertically
  • Innovation versus imitation * Key item promotion * Product tools for you
Expense Strategy
  • How important is expense control to Walmart’s overall strategy?
  • Why managing expenses can make or break you * Walmart low profitability model
  • Low prices are a result of constantly reducing costs – passing savings along to customers
  • Management accountability * sales/payroll/shrinkage * Culturally ingrained expense control
  • As sales volume rises expense as a percentage continuously falls
  • Nothing exposes a weak expense structure faster than falling sales volume
  • Each day work schedules are adjusted to reflect sales volume shortfalls
  • Walmart’s executives lead expense control by their own example
  • Customer greeters are at every front door to greet and monitor theft
  • Expense tools for you * Questions & answers
4:00 pm to 4:30 pm Break
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm Session 4: Talent & Service Strategies & Tactics for Business Success
Talent Strategy
  • How does Walmart get 2 million employees to execute its aggressive strategies?
  • How to increase productivity when business is difficult to come by
  • Setting aggressive goals with input from the entire team * Average people and above average performance
  • Hire for attitude and teach the necessary skills * Accentuate the positive/Eliminate the negative
  • Dealing with non-performers * Empathetic vs. sympathetic leadership * Promotion from within, before people are ready
  • Cross-functional movement of people * Hire the best, provide the best training and work environment
  • 11 core leadership competencies * Talent tools for you
Service Strategy
  • The importance of customers and customers service according to Sam Walton
  • Why serving your customers is more important than ever * The customer is the boss
  • One stop shopping that replicates the “High Street” under one roof
  • One agenda: the customer * Drop everything to serve customers
  • 10 foot rule/Sundown rule * Internal customer service/External customer service
  • Customer segmentation strategy * Saturday morning meetings/Walmart cheer
  • Service desk in the front of store * 100% product guarantee * Walmart museum
  • Service tools for you * Questions & answers


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