The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart

96
3

Fast Company Magazine Article

Here's an interesting article about the company that makes Snapper lawnmowers. They decided that selling their American-made lawnmowers at Wal-Mart was NOT compatible with their company's strategy or their manufacturing strategy.

From the article:

If you know nothing about maintaining a mower, Wal-Mart has helped make that ignorance irrelevant: At even $138, the lawn mowers at Wal-Mart are cheap enough to be disposable. Use one for a season, and if you can't start it the next spring (Wal-Mart won't help you out with that), put it at the curb and buy another one. That kind of pricing changes not just the economics at the low end of the lawn-mower market, it changes expectations of customers throughout the market. Why would you buy a walk-behind mower from Snapper that costs $519? What could it possibly have to justify spending $300 or $400 more?

That's the question that motivated Jim Wier to stop doing business with Wal-Mart. Wier is too judicious to describe it this way, but he looked into a future of supplying lawn mowers and snow blowers to Wal-Mart and saw a whirlpool of lower prices, collapsing profitability, offshore manufacturing, and the gradual but irresistible corrosion of the very qualities for which Snapper was known. Jim Wier looked into the future and saw a death spiral.

I wish them luck. I wish I had bought a Snapper instead of another brand (it wasn't a Wal-Mart cheapie). I admire and try to support companies like these, along with New Balance (I do wear their shoes) and Oreck Vacuums that value their role in creating jobs here in the U.S., they've resisted the China manufacturing wave, whether it was through lean methods or sheer will.

Please check out my main blog page at www.leanblog.org

The RSS feed content you are reading is copyrighted by the author, Mark Graban.

, , , on the author's copyright.


What do you think? Please scroll down (or click) to post a comment. Or please share the post with your thoughts on LinkedIn – and follow me or connect with me there.

Did you like this post? Make sure you don't miss a post or podcast — Subscribe to get notified about posts via email daily or weekly.


Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

Get New Posts Sent To You

Select list(s):
Previous article"Favorite Posts" Q4 2005
Next articleFord’s Future
Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Just a note, I noticed last week that Loews is moving to John Deere. I wonder if Home Depot is staying with Deere or changing brands as well. Deere has been very aggressive in the marketplace for several years. I will have to find out what happened to Cub Cadet to get the rest of the story.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.