business news in context, analysis with attitude

• In an interview with the Associated Press Walmart CEO Doug McMillon offered an assessment of his first year in the top job:

"I feel good about the first year," he says. "I think we've increased our clarity as it relates to our strategic plan. Our leadership has a better sense of where we need to go do to capitalize on our opportunities. I feel like we have done a good job of listening to our associates and beginning to respond appropriately to set them up for success. Growing an e-commerce business is important. And we are getting stronger in markets like China."

McMillon adds, "I've been here pretty much my whole adult life. So what I believe and the things I learned have been largely influenced by Wal-Mart, and much of our culture will stand the test of time and still will be really valuable to the business and to the communities we serve. But there are things that need to change ... how we serve customers, the tools that we use to do it."

CityWire has a story about how Walmart's new leadership says it remains committed to its made-in-the USA initiative.

“Our new CEO Greg Foran is equally committed to the U.S. Manufacturing initiative because it is a good business decision," says Cindi Marsiglio, the company's vice president of U.S Manufacturing. "Of course there are business advantages that come with a shorter supply chain particularly in responding to seasonal trends. But it’s also at the core of Everyday Low Price and is a cost-cutting strategy that is a crucial part of our business. It’s smart and we are quite pleased with the progress made in two years’ time."

The story notes that "in 2013, Wal-Mart announced it would buy an additional $50 billion in American products over the next decade. Wal-Mart estimates cumulatively over the next decade the investment will total $250 billion. The Boston Consulting Group predicts that this $250 billion investment will create one million jobs, including the jobs in manufacturing and related services."

However, the story also cites a new AT Kearney study saying that "reshoring is not yet making a difference. Its 2014 'Reshoring Index' was down 20 basis points compared to 2013, indicating that 'offshoring to foreign manufacturing markets outpaces reshoring'."
KC's View:
While I am willing to take Walmart at its word that it wants to focus more on made-in-the-USA products, I also think they need to do a better job of certifying that the products they advertise this way meet the standard. That has not always been the case - witness the televisions they were selling that don't pass the sniff test and currently are the subject of an FTC probe.

It is important to do this. But equally important to get it right.