There is no “box” at Walmart

Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) concept truck Have you seen the new Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience (WAVE) concept truck that is powered by a prototype turbine-powered hybrid engine with a trailer made almost exclusively with carbon fiber, which saves 4,000 pounds?

This is Strategy at its finest and has the world’s number one retailer leveraging their strength–their logistics network–and turning it up a notch.

Clearly Walmart was thinking way out of the box in designing this new semi truck–in fact it appears that they threw the box out in the trash.  Walmart isn’t in the truck building business?

True strategists look outside their realm and outside of what they do today as well as looking at what they are good at.  Recently I talked about the SWOT Assessment and had a lot of “know it all” input from fellow strategists saying that a SWOT is this and a SWOT is that.  Ladies and gentlemen, see the result of a great application of strategy based on a SWOT.  This is why I highlighted some simple tips for you to start using a SWOT effectively.

Heavy-duty trucks spend more time on the road than passenger vehicles, so improving their efficiency can have a major effect on emissions–and their owners’ bottom lines.  That’s why Walmart is getting into the truck-design business with the WAVE.  With its aerodynamic cab, the WAVE certainly doesn’t look like any other large truck currently on U.S. roads and doesn’t operate like one either.

Walmart’s design was achieved in part by placing the driver in the center of the cab.  The steering wheel is flanked by LCD screens–in place of conventional gauges–and there is a sleeping compartment directly behind the driver’s pod.  The WAVE features a range-extended electric powertrain, consisting of a Capstone micro-turbine and an electric motor.  To reduce weight, the entire truck is made of carbon fiber–including the trailer.  Walmart says this is the first example of a carbon-fiber trailer ever produced, and that its 53-foot side panels are the first single pieces of carbon fiber that large that have ever manufactured.  Like the tractor, the trailer was also designed for optimum aerodynamic efficiency.  It features a convex nose, which not only reduces aerodynamic drag but has the added of benefit of increasing cargo space in the trailer.

Take that Peterbuilt and Freightliner!  Ha!  And I thought the MAN Super Streamlined Semi-Truck was cool.  The MAN was designed by truck manufactures, not a super store retailer!

I’ll say it again; use your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.  Then turn threats into opportunities.  Walmart is known for their distribution system–it is what makes them Walmart and it is their biggest strength.  They focused on the threats to that strength and turned it into opportunity.  This is a perfect demonstration of a SWOT in action.

About johnrknotts
John Knotts is a results-oriented business professional leader, manager, and supervisor with experience from the military, small business, several nonprofits, and is currently a management consultant. Working out of the San Antonio, Texas, he retired from the Air Force in July 2008 and worked with Booz Allen Hamilton from the end of October 2008 to December 2011. Now he is a Strategic Business Adviser with USAA. John leads large and small strategic transformations and has extensive experience in the areas of change management, strategic planning, process improvement, strategic communication and marketing, strategic human capital and resource management, education and training, facilitation, organizational design and development, modeling and simulation, financial and budget analysis, activity based costing and management, quality management, competitive sourcing and privatization, leadership development, and business development.

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