Walmart Invests in Onshore Manufacturing Jobs
Walmart is a name many associate with inexpensive food and consumer goods. For years it’s been associated with offshoring to keep prices low, but company leaders are moving in a new direction. They unveiled a strategy to boost U.S. manufacturing and add 1.5 million jobs while introducing more products made in America to the company’s online options.
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Walmart leaders developed a 10-point plan to support American manufacturing in 2013 that involves investing $250 billion in American-made products over 10 years. As part of this plan, they released a new road map that pinpoints obstacles and areas for improvement, including “a lack of qualified workers, excessive government regulation, dated tax and trade agreements and a lack of coordination among suppliers.”
With efforts focused on U.S. sourcing to support the economy, Walmart executives hope to cut their investment in imported goods nearly in half. In fact, in their plans to reduce import costs by $300 billion, they recognize that every $100 billion they onshore can create up to 500,000 new jobs in the manufacturing sector.
To do this, they plan to “rebrand” manufacturing to increase consumer interest in careers in the field and products made in the U.S. To fill the skills gap and encourage such interest in manufacturing jobs, Walmart executives plan to invest in technical schools and decrease manufacturers’ costs for training new personnel.
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With an emphasis on adding to the number of “products made, assembled or grown in the U.S.,” Walmart leaders are investing in those who make, assemble, and grow American products. Although two-thirds of Walmart spending is on these products and those sourced in the U.S., this mission goes hand in hand with their push to positively impact at the local community level, increase efficiency and turnaround time, and create additional jobs.
Putting this vision into action, Walmart executives signed agreements with over 100 American producers to sell their goods online. In their June U.S. Manufacturing Open Call, Walmart decision-makers brought more than 500 entrepreneurs to Arkansas to compete for these online commerce deals. From reusable zip ties to preservative- and dairy-free foods, these new deals bring about fresh opportunities for persevering American manufacturers large and small.
As they work to reduce imported goods and positively impact American manufacturing over the next six years, as part of their 10-year plan, many are hoping Walmart leaders will continue the push for U.S.-made products beyond these goals. With 4,692 stores and 1.5 million employees in the country, Walmart could make a hugely positive impact on the country and spur other major retailers in a similar direction.