Family & Lifestyle

Walmart Goes Faster Forward with Tech

Overview Walmart CEO Doug McMillon shares how far the company has come, where it is now, and the opportunities it’s providing, all with the help of technology.

Technology has been a critical part of Walmart’s work, said CEO Doug McMillon in a CES® 2021 keynote.

“It’s very exciting, the way the company has changed our way of working to put technology to work, whether that’s software of the way we use our data or, increasingly, the way we use robotics in our business,” he said.

Through modernizing the company’s supply chain and tech-stack processes, changing the way Walmart teams work together, and introducing new ways to offer Walmart services through technology such as the Walmart+ initiative, the retail giant has grown by leveraging the power of technology.

“There’s a ton of innovation here and it’s moving very quickly,” McMillon said.

And the road to where the company is now has been a catalyst for even more innovation.

This is not a zero-sum game where some people win, and some people lose. Diverse teams win. Inclusive environments are more successful.

Doug McMillon
CEO, Walmart

Harnessing Technology to Grow

McMillon emphasized that business leaders should always learn and apply to broaden perspectives and grow organizations.

“We try to be deliberate about establishing networks and learning together about what the future of AI will mean or how robotics can change our business, and how 5G can impact how people live and shop and what that means to how we need to change our business,” he said.

He cited three key technologies:

Artificial intelligence (AI): For Walmart, the path to saving customers time is personalizing experiences. Leveraging AI to create better recommendations and customizations will help the company reach this goal.

Big Data: Walmart is striving to use data to better interact with customers but maintaining customer trust in the brand.

Robotics: Robotics has allowed Walmart to automate many processes in stores and distribution centers, and McMillon believes that it can help improve inventory turns.

“There’s just so much change right now,” McMillon said. “I just celebrated my 30th year with Walmart and there’s more change happening right now than at any point in those 30 years.”


Beyond Business Management

Technology tools also play a role in improving organizations beyond regular business operations. McMillon urges businesses to use Big Data and analytics tools to improve diversity commitments, create transparency in the business, and set real objectives to reach.

“This is not a zero-sum game where some people win, and some people lose,” McMillon said. “Diverse teams win. Inclusive environments are more successful.”

Walmart further encourages education to promote these diverse workforces. McMillon himself started as an hourly associate in a Walmart distribution center and highlighted how Walmart encouraged growth in the business.

In Walmart academies and through the Live Better U program, Walmart employees can obtain their degrees and learn — through technology-enabled classroom solutions — not just about retail and business basics, but how to be a leader and coach.

Also aiming to improve the world at large, Walmart has also used technology tools to decrease its environmental impact, contributing to Walmart’s Project Gigaton by removing toxins from products, changing packaging and more.

McMillon is excited about the real change that can happen across the world and what’s in store for the future across industries.

“The run rate of the company going forward will be faster forever,” he said.

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