Walmart Sets The Stage For U.S. Manufacturing Summit

As Walmart prepares for its annual U.S. Manufacturing Summit and open call, the company asserted that, today, two-thirds of the money it spends on products in stores throughout the United States are made, sourced, grown or assembled domestically.

Walmart said it is encouraging domestic manufacturing for practical as well as philosophical reasons, with these programs intended to create and maintain U.S. jobs, giving workers money to spend at retail, but also because in many cases sourcing at home boosts efficiency. Home goods manufactured closest to the point of sale get from shelf to factory quicker, providing flexibility in sourcing, which is good for business, customers and stores, the company noted.

To enhance the benefits accrued from domestic manufacturing, the Walmart Foundation has worked with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, awarding grants for research on ways to make manufacturing easier, the retailer maintained. That includes a project launched by Cornell University to turn recycled clothes into new ones, for example.

Through its $250 billion domestic manufacturing initiative, Walmart estimated that it would generate one million new U.S. jobs directly and indirectly in support and services.

The Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund has committed to providing $10 million in grants, investing $7 million already in domestic projects focused on textiles, small motors and plastic injection molding.

Walmart will host the 2016 U.S. Manufacturing Summit and Open Call in its hometown of Bentonville, AR, on June 28.

To underscore Walmart’s commitment, its 4th U.S. Manufacturing Summit will feature the theme of “Investing in American Jobs.” The event will also include another open call for new U.S.-made products. This event is open to both current and potential suppliers.

Participants will hear from Walmart leaders, industry experts, government officials and learn more about the benefits of U.S. manufacturing. Buyers from Walmart, Sam’s Club and Walmart.com will be on hand to meet one on one with those companies offering new U.S.-made items during the open call.

Supplier sessions at the summit include:

The Walmart Customer: Tony Rogers, Walmart’s chief marketing officer, and Matt Kistler, svp/Walmart global customer insights and analytics, will discuss consumer perceptions of how brands and items are impacted by the Made in U.S.A. label.

U.S. Manufacturing Trends and Insights: The Boston Consulting Group will lead a session on current U.S. manufacturing trends, and the emerging factors that will shape the domestic manufacturing sector in the years to come.

Paths to U.S. Manufacturing: Navigating the complexities of locating or expanding factories in the U.S. remains a challenge for suppliers. This session will explore how to best engage with the federal and state governments to understand available resources and incentives.

Doing Business with Walmart: This session helps suppliers navigate the various requirements and processes to get started with Walmart as a new supplier. Resource teams from Walmart’s supplier administration, supplier diversity and others will discuss how to leverage these resources.