Sunday, August 26, 2012

Energy: WAL-MART's Epiphany

It's been a while since I've written about WAL-MART, but here's a story that should appeal to those who consider our energy policy to be lacking and think big government policy incentives are the only way to fix it.
Guess what? 
Old fashioned good business sense can also begin to change our stupid reliance on only burning ever more fossil fuel. 

Remember the 'WAL-MART effect'? 
You know, the one which resulted from WAL-MART buying into the energy efficient light bulb idea, then switching its corporate policy to be the de-facto leader in that effort?
It worked! 
And its competitors followed -almost overnight.

Now, why do you imagine WAL-MART made that decision? 
Think it had anything to do with saving itself major electrical utility costs, like on the order of 30%?
Here's a flash; self-interest motivated WAL-MART, which then led to the idea that other companies might follow for the same reason. 
But, by trailblazing this inherently good idea, WAL-MART got the immediate attention of not only its customers, but its competitors, who seemed to need a little more motivation than just doing something smart because it was smart.

After that resounding success, WAL-MART -always cost conscious- followed by reducing its huge consumption of diesel fuel by making more smart changes, like shutting down its truck engines instead of leaving them to idle as had been the widespread custom.
That little idea saved 20% of fuel costs for WAL-MART's huge truck fleet.

The latest change in WAL-MART thinking is to generate its own energy from solar and wind power, as is reported in this recent article.
Read it if you dare!
Maybe WAL-MART can convince even more doubters that alternate energy makes both sense and dollars!

While I still don't shop at WAL-MART except occasionally, you can bet I'm getting closer to it.
Because when a company, already so good at optimizing its supply chain, begins to turn its attention at other effective ways to cut costs, watch out!
The reported 27% less cost for a typical grocery basket at WAL-MART isn't something to sneeze at, and neither are economies of scale.

Now, maybe the company will focus more on providing better wages & benefits and a greater selection of American made goods; when that happens, maybe I'll become a more regular customer.
These folks are not stupid; they're smart!
I'd like to see more businesses just get with this program.
Not only will it work for them, it'll work for all of us.