Wal-Mart Sticks to Vendor Relations Code
The recent departure of Julie Roehm from Wal-Mart has thrown on a spotlight on the company’s strict policies concerning relations with vendors.
Ms. Roehm, it has been reported, was seen by many within the company to have gotten too cozy with DraftFCB, an agency that won part of the Wal-Mart advertising business just last month.
Working with Wal-Mart has always been strictly business for vendors since Sam Walton founded the company.
Ed Clifford, president-CEO of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce, once worked for Wal-Mart in merchandising. He told Ad Age, “There was no interaction between suppliers and Wal-Mart associates other than a meeting … where you talked about product.”
Wal-Mart is famous for its tiny white rooms where buyers and vendors meet. Each room has a plaque that lists its ethics code.
Wal-Mart Global Ethical Principles
- Follow the law at all times;
- Be honest and fair;
- Never manipulate, misrepresent, abuse or conceal information;
- Avoid conflicts of interest between work and personal affairs;
- Never discriminate against anyone;
- Never act unethically – even if someone else instructs you to do so;
- Never ask someone to act unethically;
- Seek assistance if you have questions about this Statement of Ethics or if you face an ethical dilemma;
- Cooperate with any investigation of a possible ethics violation; and
- Report ethics violations or suspected violations.
Discussion Question: Does Wal-Mart have it right when it comes to its strict rules on conducting business with vendors? Do personal relationships with
vendors compromise a buyer/category manager’s ability to make good business decisions? Are there times when strict policies block business opportunities?
- Global Ethics Office – Wal-Mart Stores
- In Bentonville, Buyers Abide by Stringent Code – AdAge.com (free reg. required)