Walmart took its domestic purchasing program to the next level with an event that included opening its doors to more than 500 manufacturers at its Bentonville, AK, headquarters in the company’s first-ever Made in the USA open call. As part of the event, which Walmart conducted yesterday, suppliers met with the company’s senior leaders and merchants to pitch products for store, club and online distribution.
Over 10 years, Walmart stated that a company plan calls for spending an additional $250 billion on products supporting domestic manufacturing and American jobs. Walmart will do that by pursuing a multi-pronged approach including increasing what it already buys of goods manufactured in the United States, sourcing new to Walmart U.S. manufactured goods, and supporting re-shoring to return the manufacture of more goods it currently buys back to the U.S.
“In an unprecedented event, we are opening our doors and making our buyers available to meet with suppliers with one goal in mind: buy more American products,” Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said in discussing the event. “When we buy new products, suppliers hire people to make those products. These American jobs build families and communities, and they help our country thrive. That’s really what our domestic manufacturing commitment is all about.”
Examples of products being pitched in the open call included TV wall mounts, office supplies and bed sheets, Walmart pointed out.
“By hosting the open call, we will be able to discover new products that we didn’t know were out there,” Simon said. “We’re excited to find new items that will delight our customers at prices they can afford. This is not a program or a promotion– this is economics. For many products, the math simply works.”
One of the goals that Walmart set for the open call event was to ensure people left better informed about doing business in the U.S. than they had been when they arrived. To help achieve that goal, company experts hosted educational breakout sessions on key merchandise topics, including: Labeling and Packaging, Product Compliance, Sustainability, Supplier Administration, The Walmart Customer, and Supplier Diversity
“Increasing Walmart’s purchases that support American jobs makes sense for our customers, our communities and our company,” said Michelle Gloeckler, Walmart’s executive vp/consumables and U.S. manufacturing. “Our customers have told us they want to buy products that support their communities, and with changes in energy and automation processes overseas, it is increasingly cost-effective and efficient to manufacture closest to the point of consumption. We can better respond to trends and customer demand while providing great products at affordable prices.”