Until a few years ago, Walmart was not directly associated with high technology. But progressively, this giant, which began in 1962, has moved steadily to include e-commerce within its business model and has managed to position itself through innovation and acquisitions. Although its transformation is still in progress, Walmart is a clear example of how to turn digitalization into a great opportunity.
From Opinno Research Center we talked with Alejandra Paczka, responsible for the transformation in talent management at Walmart Mexico, to learn about the company's strategy to transform its processes from within.

ORC - A traditional company, founded in 1962, has set the trend and followed others to stay in the market. How do you see the near future and what strategies are you implementing to grow in the current and coming context?

AP- At Walmart Mexico we recognized that we had to evolve the way we work. If we wanted to continue to be leaders in our industry, we had to adopt a new, much more humanistic approach based on collaboration, so the role of the leader in transforming the business is critical to getting where we want to go.
We defined the objective of transforming the organization to strengthen our mission of being a customer and partner-centric company that promotes innovation and leverages data and technology to achieve results, while also changing the way we work.

Alejandra Paczka en el Harvard Business Review Summit Latam - 2019

ORC - What are the criteria and priorities for moving towards that goal and for guiding decision-making in the transformation process?

AP - We want to be faster and more agile to better serve our consumers and improve their overall shopping experience.
We discovered that we could not move forward if we wanted to have all the answers. This new approach requires us to iterate quickly, make quick mistakes, learn and correct, always keeping our associates, customers, and partners at the center of everything. As an example, the transformation process was implemented in stages through different waves. The first one focused on Babies, Health and Wellness and Bakery and the second one focused on integrating the rest of the Categories creating 10 Tribes. We will continue with the rest of the organization to make its implementation by waves.
One of our strategic priorities that we defined to continue developing is the omnicanality, this way we give access to the population in general, so that they can buy as they want, when they want and collect their merchandise where they want. Today, we can already order the super from Superama through WhatsApp, but we can also make our purchases in stores, by phone, online or pick them up in pick-up trucks or have them delivered to your home at the time of your preference.

ORC - How do you include the latest technologies such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence or data analysis within the digital transformation strategy?

AP — En Walmart estamos convencidos de que necesitamos aprovechar la mayor data posible para conocer mejor a nuestros clientes y socios y así poder estar presentes para ellos en sus distintos momentos de compra.Estamos implementando machine learning recientemente en un proyecto para prevención de fraudes en línea, ya que esta tecnología te permite combinar algoritmos y bases de datos avanzados para generar ciclos de información de manera continua y actualizada, mostrándote la tendencia de ciertos factores.En nuestros Centros de Distribución usamos un robot que se llama Sorter que a partir de un lector de código de barras clasifica los envíos por formato y destino con el fin de optimizar tiempos y disminuir errores.Contamos con áreas de data y analytics que nos permiten recabar información y hacer cruces para hacerle la vida más fácil y rápida a los consumidores.
Como tal, vale la pena aclarar que lo conocido como el internet de las cosas así como con inteligencia artificial aún los estamos explorando.

ORC - Among the many learnings you will have had, is there one that you would highlight as essential?

AP - One of the learnings behind the transformation we are making in the company was to think at the time that the change had to do only with technology, without recognizing that we had to start from a change in way of thinking that would lead us to work in a different way.

ORC - Are there corporate innovation programs within Walmart Mexico?

AP - We have multidisciplinary teams dedicated to solving and anticipating solutions for clients and associates, made up of
1. Laboratories, development of digital products such as PricingCompass (pricing solution for the Purchasing area) and Jarvis (interactive assistant for store managers for decision making).
2. Design center, development of experiences and services, such as the design of the store of the future
3. Walmart Labs, a team focused on eCommerce solutions like Cashie
4. Central Ops, digital solutions focused on our stores as Pick-up, Self Scan and Self Check out
5. Walmart Laboratoria, development of disruptive solutions through external collaborations, still in definition.
And as part of our culture of innovation we promote hackathons to promote the development of applications with the customer in mind.