Wal-Mart: The hidden costs | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Wal-Mart: The hidden costs

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2007 at 8:01 AM

From today's Wall Street Journal, a reminder that low prices every day have a cost somewhere in the supply chain:

The nation's biggest private employer is about to revamp the way it schedules its work force, in a move that could shake up many employees' lives.

Early this year, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., using a new computerized scheduling system, will start moving many of its 1.3 million workers from predictable shifts to a system based on the number of customers in stores at any given time. The move promises greater productivity and customer satisfaction for the huge retailer but could be a major headache for employees.

The change is made possible by a software system that can crunch an array of data, part of a shift toward computerized management tools that can help pare costs and boost companies' bottom lines. But it also could demand greater flexibility and availability from workers in place of reliable work shifts -- and predictable paychecks.

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