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Sustaining higher education using Wal‐Mart's best supply chain management practices

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

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 11 April 2008




The costs in higher education are increasing and need to be controlled. This paper aims to demonstrate what lessons higher education could learn from Wal‐Mart's reasons for its financial success with its focus on efficient and effective supply chain management (SCM) best practices.


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


Wal‐Mart's best practices in SCM can be categorized into four segments: strategic concepts, logistics and distribution, information technology, and supplier collaboration. The company's technology, outsourcing, and collaboration practices are particularly useful in higher education.

Research limitations/implications

The adoption of Wal‐Mart's best practices was investigated for only one service industry (higher education). Future research could apply these practices to other service industries, such as hotels and transportation.

Practical implications

Higher education is looking for best practices to help control costs and can learn from Wal‐Mart's best practices.


Past research has focused on applying the best practices of other colleges and universities to higher education. Benchmarking Wal‐Mart's best practices can add further value to the sustainability of higher education.



Comm, C.L. and Mathaisel, D.F.X. (2008), "Sustaining higher education using Wal‐Mart's best supply chain management practices", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 183-189.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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