I figured I had given enough review on Sam Walton however I found some of the closing material to be noteworthy enough to talk about. Sam Walton’s Made in America book ended so blissfully and so perfectly that I felt the need to go ahead and give my final takes on the book.
The penultimate chapters leading up to the finale, there were three ideas that consisted of what essentially were the concepts within Walmart that made them the merchandising success that we know them as today. The concepts were simple but not easy to implement as he states often during the book. First was emphasis on the customer. This concept does sound obvious, but the lengths that Walmart went to avoid expenses weeded out people that did not put the customer first. For example, when the chair of the company would travel great distances on business trips, instead of each individual sleeping in separate rooms they instead were assigned situations where at times there were as many as 10 people people in one bed rooms. If all of the chair had individual rooms for all the trips they had he saw it as an unnecessary expense and it would not in the customers favor to pay for it.
Another chapter consisted of competition. Walton reminisced about times when other merchants were going head to head on certain occasions and how there was always price cutting to win over the customer. He credits competition (especially K-mart and Sears) as a key component in success as far as being a powerhouse in the industry. Following competition within the industry he allowed healthy competition within the company. Store owners would compete against one another with revenue statistics, return statistics and customer service statistics. Awards would go to associates (employees) who had an exceptional quota of sales on certain items. He took a head on approach to competition as opposed to reactive. I think its fair to say he believed that iron sharpens iron.
The final and most influential chapter to me was the giving something back chapter. He listed the dozens of charitable organization that he has given back to. He went on to state that he loves having personal relationships with The opportunities within the organization to move up and be promoted to higher status as well as compensation for extraordinary work. He had an immense work and funds dispersed to charity organizations that had meaning to him. Although he did give back to his associates, communities he helped with his stores and eventually most of the developed world he did not feel inclined to be the sole ambassador for world peace.
Walton did a great deal to revolutionize the business world with his legendary innovation tactics. He took basic everyday items and made them cheaper, in a location where other similar items are ground as well so in case you want a complimentary item you can but it there as well; And did all of this while having a smile on their face. Talk about exceeding expectations and setting a standard. We go into business today and do not even bring attention to the fact that employees of companies treat us with courtesy because it was the norm that this man made a staple of modern business nearly 70 years ago.
He wrote this book in his last days and seems to recollect a lot of his memories of his life in great detail. He was fighting blood cancer and in his was eventually unable to walk. Despite his dire conditions, his son Rob Walton explained in the final portions of this book, that his father went about the process of it as he did his work in at Walmart, which was with great enthusiasm and passion.