With small moves that have a big impact, Walmart can save significant money given its large size. The retailer, in one case, could save a minimum of $30 million during the year by swapping out the stepping stools in its distribution centers with a version that weighs less, per CEO Doug McMillon at the shareholders’ meeting on Friday (June 7), CNBC reported.
The stools are supposed to be used by workers to fill trucks to the roof with products. The aim is to pack the tractor trailers with as many items as possible to decrease costs and road mileage. However, the previous version of the stool was cumbersome to move around, which meant some people were not using it, and so the trucks were not packed to the top. The company is reportedly doing a better job of packing trailers since making a stepping stool that is easier to manage.
In another small change that made a big impact, Walmart reportedly changed the lightbulbs in its parking lots and stores to save $200 million. It was also said to have saved $20 million via the use of a new floor wax.
In other recent news, the retailer is testing ways to digitize its brick-and-mortar stores to control costs and provide a more enjoyable shopping experience. In April, it was reported that the retailer was opening its Intelligent Retail Lab at a Neighborhood Market grocery store location in Long Island. Shelf sensors and ceiling cameras will detect when shelves have to be restocked, when shopping carts run low and when spills occur. In one case, the cameras can even determine the ripeness of bananas. Workers are notified through a phone alert when items need to be replaced.
Walmart’s Intelligent Retail Lab CEO and Jet.com Co-founder Mike Hanrahan said, according to a report at the time, “We really like to think of this store as an artificial intelligence factory, a place where we are building these products, experiences, where we are testing and learning.”