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Reuters reports that Walmart is engineering a major change in how it acquires products, combining the purchasing functions for its physical stores and online operations. The move is designed "to stamp out duplicate efforts as it consolidates buying operations to better fight Amazon."

The story says that "vendors contacted by Wal-Mart about the change told Reuters the store and online buying teams of the world's largest retailer currently operate independently.

"Wal-Mart has told some vendors it is seeking to make the buying process more efficient for itself and vendors, and improve coordination between its buying teams. It also wants to apply its bricks-and-mortar expertise in securing the lowest possible prices to its e-commerce business, according to the vendors, who spoke over the last few days."

Walmart has not commented on the record about the report, but sources tell Reuters that the change will be officially announced later this week.
KC's View:
Reverse-engineering the system is never easy, not from an operational point of view, nor from a personnel perspective. But I think that Walmart is making big, tough decisions here, understanding that it has to take friction out of the system to the greatest degree possible.

This won't be a simple, quick process, I suspect. And I'd guess that they'll meet some natural resistance from legacy systems that have been in place fro a long time. But I don't see that they have a lot of options ... though, to be fair, they're also placing some pretty big bets.