Walmart (NYSE:WMT) held its second ever "Open Call" event with suppliers of U.S.-made products. Taking place near the company's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, at Betonville High School, the two-day event included meetings with suppliers, and workshops on topics such as U.S. manufacturing trends.
Advice also came in the form of how to work with not only Walmart and Sam's Club stores, but also local and state governments, Arkansas Business reported.
News of this second Open Call was reported back in May. The event is part of the retailer's 2013 initiative to spend $250 billion on American-made products for its stores. Walmart is expected to meet with about 1,000 suppliers over the 48-hour event, and 30 states sent representatives to meet with suppliers who are looking for locations.
CEO Greg Foran announced that he was excited to hear the supplier pitches and is "doubly proud" when items sold at Walmart are made in the United States.
Michelle Gloeckler, who oversees Walmart's U.S. manufacturing initiative, said the retailer will meet the monetary goal through new products, selling more of what is already sold, and bringing production of foreign-made goods back to the U.S. Specifically, Walmart wants to invest $20 billion in women-owned businesses.
The call for an increase in U.S.-made products is part of Walmart's larger strategic and operational changes for 2015. For example, Foran pledged a bigger commitment to customer service and better employee engagement, which includes an increase in minimum wage earnings.
-See this Arkansas Business article
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