Heritage

12 Things You Might Not Know About the Walmart Museum

Even the most frequent visitor to The Walmart Museum during our 25th anniversary this month can’t know everything there is to know. Whether you make a trip there often or never have, here’s some trivia about the historic museum that shares the history of Walmart.


1. Teeth marks from Ol’ Roy, Sam Walton’s dog, can be seen on the steering wheel of Sam’s pickup on display in the museum.

2. The galleries of the museum were designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, who also did the Clinton Presidential Center, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Newseum, and many other top museums.

3. The painting in Sam’s office does not hang straight despite numerous attempts at adjusting it. It was, by the way, hanging crooked on the day Sam left his office for the last time.

4. A sparrow once made its way into Sam’s hermetically sealed office exhibit. All vents, filters, joints, and fittings were inspected and found to be in museum-quality condition: airtight with no damage.

5. In 2014, former President George W. Bush came by the museum for a meeting.  He had visited once before years earlier.

6. The flowers in the exhibit case displaying Helen Walton’s wedding dress are changed every Feb. 14 to honor Sam and Helen’s marriage. (They were married on Valentine's Day.)

7. Since 1990, approximately 2 million people have visited the museum. The visitor count increased from approximately 60,000 per year to a high of 330,000 last year alone. Each year, approximately 7,000 associates visit the Museum during the four days of Shareholders week.

8. In 2014, The Walmart Museum’s Spark Café served 12,417 gallons of ice cream – that’s 529,792 scoops! 46,720 of those scoops were Spark Cream ice cream, an exclusive flavor developed just for The Walmart Museum. The Spark Café serves Yarnell’s ice cream, the first brand of ice cream Sam Walton ever sold. His favorite flavor? Butter Pecan.

9. There are 1,807 buttons and lapel pins in our button/lapel pin exhibit, including one that has Doug McMillon’s face covered in ketchup.

10. The original green and red floor tiles still there today in the 5&10 were installed in 1951. Many are slightly mismatched because Sam grabbed an opportunity to save some money by installing the “off” lot. The start of EDLC?

11. The 1979 Ford F150 pickup parked in front of the 5&10 is a replica but is often mistaken for Sam’s actual pickup (which is on display inside the museum gallery). The replica is used for parades, grand openings and special events.
12. During the renovation in 2010, it was discovered that the century-old roof timbers of Walton’s 5&10 needed to be replaced. The timbers were saved and are used to create handcrafted pens often used as awards and gifts by those who purchase them at The Walmart Museum.

Want to learn more about Walmart and The Walmart Museum? Visit WalmartMuseum.com and experience the online version of the birthplace of Walmart.    

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Business

Why Smarter Inventory Means Better Customer Service

When you’re getting ready to head to Walmart, you expect everything on your list will be ready and waiting on our shelves.

With millions of items for sale, ensuring that happens – for everything, every time – is quite a complex process behind the scenes.

Managing back room inventory – products that are stored in back rooms for days, sometimes weeks, before they reach shelves – can be a challenge. It requires constant monitoring, and can sometimes take associates away from the sales floor where they would otherwise be helping customers. So recently we’ve been experimenting with new and better ways to improve the process for everyone.

Top Stock is one of these new systems that we’re testing in stores. With it, we’ve moved a great deal of our back stock inventory to somewhere else very simple: the top shelves on our sales floor. By keeping additional merchandise closer to where it’s sold, we can maintain fuller shelves while keeping a better in-the-moment read on inventory.

I spent the first 12 years of my three decades with Walmart in replenishment and supply chain roles, so I understand the significance firsthand of how this makes storage and stocking so much easier. But there’s also quite a bit more that directly benefits customers:

  • All the extra space we’re opening up in our back rooms is making it easier for us to integrate services like online grocery pickup. While the demand for grocery pickup is obvious, finding adequate space within our existing stores had sometimes been a challenge.
  • Need something you don’t immediately see on the shelf? Waiting for an associate to check our back room during peak holiday shopping periods could soon be a thing of the past. By improving our inventory management processes, we’re bringing the products and services that customers need one step closer. In fact, the implementation of Top Stock has helped reduce our rental of temporary inventory trailers to a small fraction of what it was just a few years ago.
  • Our improvements in inventory management are getting more associates out of the back room and onto the sales floor, where they can help and interact with customers.
  • Perhaps best of all, our associates can use open back room space for career-building education. When one store in Morrisville, North Carolina, implemented Top Stock inventory management, they reduced back room inventory by 75% in two months, allowing enough new space to open an Academy for associate training.

What’s worked for our business in the past isn’t always what’s best for today’s shopper. When we commit to coming up with unexpected ways to do the small things better, we not only become smarter and more efficient, but create a big win for our customers at the same time.

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Heritage

How Helen Walton Helped Shape Walmart

Helen Walton was much more than Walmart’s first lady — our founder Sam Walton considered her one of his best business advisers.

In an audio interview kept in the Walmart Heritage Archives in Bentonville, Arkansas, Helen’s support of associates is clear.

Helen passed away in 2007, but her legacy lives on. We pulled just a few of her quotes that show how much she cared about associates and doing good for others — and how she helped Walmart become the company we are today.

Profit Sharing
“[Sam and I] were both real excited when the decision was made to go with some type of profit sharing so that the hourly people and the people on salary, that all people would share in the profit of Walmart. … So that’s been probably one of the greatest things, I think, that came along for Walmart. I think it’s meant as much to us as anything else. It gives everybody a sense that they are part of the company, and that’s important.”

Teamwork
“If you don’t have those associates in the stores ... the person at the top can’t do anything. They have to work together.”

A Passion for Community
Helen was driven to improve the lives of those less fortunate than she, whether they attended local schools or lived in faraway communities. “We knew we had to do something,” is the way she often prefaced her comments about an important cause.

She embodied her favorite saying, which she shared whenever she got a chance. “Up here in front of me where I have never failed to see it every day because I always sit down at my desk, is a sign that has meant very much to me and it says: ‘It is not what you gather in life, it’s what you scatter in life that tells the kind of life you have lived.’”

Read more about Helen and the Walton family at WalmartMuseum.com.

Editor’s Note: A version of this story originally appeared in Walmart World, the magazine for Walmart associates.

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Innovation

Uncovering How We’ll Shop in the Future

As new technology brings new possibilities, there’s been an explosion of ways to shop – smartphone apps, online grocery shopping and Scan & Go for easier checkout, to name just a few. To serve customers better, we need to stay ahead of the research that helps form the ideas that will continue to revolutionize how we shop.

I’m part of a small team that’s delving deep into research to improve the shopping experience for everyone. I’m a data scientist for Sam’s Club Technology, and I like to compare what we do to building a car: You have to start with the engine.

My day-to-day work is all about staying on top of new methods to build that engine. I look at ways we can incorporate emerging research in object recognition, detection and segmentation – technology that can make things like our Scan & Go app even smarter. For instance, instead of scanning a bar code, the app will be able to recognize products using photos taken by your phone’s camera.

Because this is such a fast-moving field, the research I work with is in its earliest stages. I might work with one algorithm today, and a couple months from now use a completely new model that’s even better than what we had before.

Tech is constantly evolving, which makes innovation essential for retailers. We have to continually adapt our business to our shoppers’ lifestyles. There’s a lot of coding, engineering and algorithm testing that goes into building something that works better than what people are used to. It’s challenging, but that’s why I’m lucky to work with such talented people.

Until I joined the team last year, I never realized the strong sense of pride that associates in the Walmart and Sam’s Club family have in what our business does. After studying at Yale, I worked in financial engineering in New York – I didn’t expect to find an opportunity to do such innovative work in Bentonville, Arkansas.

I’ve found that in the corporate world, it’s rare for a business to invest in cutting-edge research. But, from the start, Walmart has chosen to invent some of our own solutions instead of waiting for someone else to come up with them. In this new age of tech, we’re still evolving and inventing better ways to get from Point A to Point C.

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Innovation

5 Ways Walmart Uses Big Data to Help Customers

In many industries, big data provides a way for companies to gain a better understanding of their customers and make better business decisions.

Walmart relies on big data to get a real-time view of the workflow in the pharmacy, distribution centers and throughout our stores and e-commerce.

Check out the infographic below to see how Walmart uses big data to make the company’s operations more efficient and improve the lives of customers.

Whether it’s analyzing the transportation route for a supply chain or using data to optimize pricing, big data analytics will continue to be a key way for Walmart to enhance the customer experience.

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