Walmart (NYSE:WMT) ran into trouble with Wall Street this week after an ordering manager sent an e-mail to a supplier saying that the world’s largest retailer was “looking at reducing inventory for Q3 and Q4,” according to the Sept. 17 message that was also reportedly sent to other suppliers. We’re not sure why this is big news, since analysts have said Walmart has been accumulating too much inventory (and not keeping enough associates around to keep it on shelves) literally for years now.
What we’re trying to figure out is why Walmart has people sending out that kind of ordering information by e-mail. We’re not talking about requiring some complex new technology here—EDI has been in use for decades, and supply-chain management systems are older than some of the financial analysts who got so panicky when Walmart’s supplier e-mail surfaced. But maybe instead of using supply-chain automation, Walmart just wanted to add the personal touch—you know, the kind that makes it really easy to forward to a reporter.