Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wal-Mart and Home Depot To The Rescue

Disasters are just another cost of doing business.

Big-box chains like Home Depot and Wal-Mart have formed emergency management teams to predict disasters and speed the recovery of customers, employees and business. Some teams have become so deft at handling emergencies that local governments turn to them.

Spurred by the Sept. 11 terror attacks and rough hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005, more retailers have created specialized divisions to gird for emergencies. Wal-Mart's 40-member Emergency Management Department at the Arkansas headquarters of the world's biggest retailer crackles round-the-clock with sounds of scanners, radar and cable news. The goal: to speed recovery for customers, employees and ultimately sales.

As leaders in the business of moving goods and information -- Wal-Mart's famous for daily crack-of-dawn conference calls detailing real-time sales -- some have found they can react more quickly than local governments. For them, disasters have become just another cost of doing business.

Read more here. (HT: Division of Labor and Ben Cunningham)

Bottom Line: Another example of the invisible hand at work. Should we really be surprised though that profit-seeking corporations can react more quickly to disasters than civil servants, bureaucrats and politicians? And aren't profit-seeking "price-gougers" always there immediately after a disaster offering for sale exactly what the disaster victims need most - generators, chain saws, plywood, or water - way before the government provides those needed supplies?


9 Comments:

At 12/12/2007 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't that the private for profit sector can do things better it is that there is zero accountability in the public sector.

Apply private sector accountability and liability to the public sector and things will change overnight.

 
At 12/12/2007 1:24 PM, Blogger Colin said...

"Apply private sector accountability and liability to the public sector and things will change overnight."

Does an example of this exist anywhere in the world? Is there an existing model we should adopt?

If not I would suggest that a lack of accountability is part and parcel of being a public sector entity.

 
At 12/12/2007 2:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Does an example of this exist anywhere in the world? Is there an existing model we should adopt?"

We are the USA, the greatest country in the world. We should set the example and the lead, and let other countries follow.

We can do it with the proper political leadership.

 
At 12/12/2007 4:28 PM, Blogger easymoney said...

It hasn't happened in over 200 years. I wouldn't hold my breath.

Politicians aren't reelected for being accountable.

Notice that U.S. Congressman and Senators never accept responsibility for ANYTHING.

They only hold hearings and investigate EVERYBODY ELSE.

They pass all kinds of laws and then blame everybody else for the outcome - a great gig if you can get it.

 
At 12/12/2007 4:29 PM, Anonymous spencer said...

The point of the article is that WMT provides the materials that disaster victims need without raising prices.

There is no longer a role for the guy in the back of a pick up truck selling what they need at a multiple of the regular price.

The old theory that higher prices are needed to attract supply no longer applies.

 
At 12/12/2007 7:50 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"The old theory that higher prices are needed to attract supply no longer applies"...

Hardly...

If the big box stores also go down due to the weather conditions, the man with a pickup load of 2 by 4s will still show us that market forces are still in play...

 
At 12/12/2007 9:36 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

I had a discussion with a left-leaning friend who was lamenting "big-box" stores. He made the comment that maybe people wouldn't find socialism or communism so bad after big box stores took over everything.

Then it dawned on me: as the most efficient entities, big-box stores would actually be the first to be nationalized if it ever came to that. They already have their systems down pat, and they're already in place nearly everywhere. How better for a government to distribute goods to the people, than through a Wal-Mart logistics and supply chain?

 
At 12/13/2007 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Price gougers or opportunists?

 
At 12/14/2007 4:21 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Price gougers or opportunists?"...

Well there isn't anyone holding a gun to YOUR head and forcing you to shop there...

Nothing wrong with opportunists either... Opportunists are what makes this country go...

I'm guessing you've heard of the, "profit motive", right?

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home