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Adding value to service providers: benchmarking Wal‐Mart

Cherie Blanchard (University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)
Clare L. Comm (University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA)
Dennis F.X. Mathaisel (Babson College, Babson Park, Massachusetts, USA)

Benchmarking: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-5771

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




Wal‐Mart is the largest retailer in the world, and one of its drivers of financial success is its focus on efficient and effective supply chain management (SCM). The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate what service providers could learn from these SCM best practices.


Wal‐Mart's best practices in SCM were investigated through a literature review of secondary data.


Wal‐Mart's best practices in SCM were categorized into four segments: strategic concepts, logistics and distribution, information technology, and supplier collaboration. These practices were then applied to the healthcare industry.

Research limitations/implications

Wal‐Mart's best practices were only applied to one service industry (the healthcare industry). Future research could apply these practices to other service industries such as higher education and the airline industry.

Practical implications

Most service providers can add value to their services by learning from some, if not all, of Wal‐Mart's best practices in SCM.


Very little past research has focused on applying the best practices in SCM of a traditional retailer or product provider to service providers. Insight into Wal‐Mart's best practices can add value to many service providers.



Blanchard, C., Comm, C.L. and Mathaisel, D.F.X. (2008), "Adding value to service providers: benchmarking Wal‐Mart", Benchmarking: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 166-177.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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