Economy

Quality of plastic and metal products better in India

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on November 27, 2017 Published on December 16, 2014

Empowering women Nancy Kielty, VP Global Sourcing, Walmart, with trainees in Bengaluru on Tuesday. GRN SOMASHEKAR   -  BL

Walmart India official says Indian merchandise scores high on cost too



American multinational retail giant Walmart, which sources billions of dollars worth of merchandise from around the world including India and China, is looking to source plastics, iron and steel products from India.

“China has traditionally been strong in plastics; however, India is getting better in plastics than China, both in terms of quality and cost parameters. India is also stronger when it comes to metals such as iron and steel products, which we source from here,” Ashwani Sharma, Chief Merchandising Officer, Walmart India, told BusinessLine.

Some of the other categories that Walmart sources from India for its stores around the world are: home décor, pet consumables, apparel, jewellery, stationery and seasonal merchandise such as Christmas and New Year decorations.

Farmer training

Walmart India owns and operates 20 Best Price wholesale, cash-and-carry stores in India since it opened the first one in Amritsar in 2008. Sharma said 95 per cent of the merchandise for the Best Price stores across the country are locally sourced and the rest comes from outside India.

“We sell everything from consumer products and electronics to perishables and, at any given point in time, the total merchandise value stocked per store is ₹15-20 crore.”

The retail giant has trained 14,000 vegetable and fruit farmers, who are its suppliers across India, in good agricultural practices. This has helped them increase production as well as transition from growing everyday vegetables such as onion and potato to exotic produce such as zucchini and broccoli, that command better prices.

Women in Factories

The company aims to train nearly 1 million women in farms and factories and increase sourcing from women-owned businesses. The Walmart Foundation has partnered with Bengaluru-headquartered Swasti Health Resource Centre to train 12,448 women who work in 30 garment factories in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat in life skills. And there are plans to train another 12,500 women by 2016.

Nancy Kielty, VP Global Sourcing, Walmart, who was in Bengaluru for a national conference on ‘Women in Factories’, said: “We are committed to the communities and people in our supply chain, so it’s important to us that this training empowers underserved women around the world to handle their personal and professional lives better. $10 million has been allocated to our global ‘Women in Factories’ programme. Besides India, we are working with women in Bangladesh, China, El Salvador and Honduras to meet our goal of reaching 60,000 women working in 150 factories.”

Walmart plans to source $20 billion worth of merchandise from women-owned businesses in the US and has committed to double its sourcing from 50 women-owned businesses around the world.

In India, Walmart sources from Welspun, a women-owned business.

Published on December 16, 2014
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