Turning the tables on patio furniture manufacturing

By Michelle Gloeckler
March 13, 2014
patio furniture

One year into our commitment to invest $250 billion in American products by 2023, we’ve learned a lot and seen a variety of benefits. Obvious benefits like new jobs, building communities, and transforming vacant buildings. We’ve seen other benefits to our business like sales increases, product flexibility, improved in-stock and increased response time. All things any good business person pursues.

But with all those benefits, we’ve also started to see what challenges are out there. And, we want to address those challenges so we can broaden the benefits to our customers and our business. We are now actively seeking suppliers like never before who can provide products made on U.S. soil.

Patio furniture is one of those business challenges – there are long lead times and it’s bulky and expensive to ship, which means it’s difficult to respond to trends as well as opportunities to sell more.  So, we’re taking a new approach to patio.

Today, we announced a Request for Proposal – or RFP – to make or assemble patio furniture in the U.S.  Making things closer to the point of purchase and shortening the shipping distance will lead to cost savings and environmental benefits, and it will help us solve the business problem.

But this is just the beginning. We’re already in talks with suppliers in 40 departments to find ways to manufacture here. And on July 8, Walmart is hosting an Open Call in Bentonville, Ark., for suppliers manufacturing in the U.S. and for suppliers ready to pitch new products and new categories.  

We’re open to great products that will delight our customers, especially if they’re made right here at home. At the same time, we want our suppliers to reevaluate their business models with the U.S. in mind and look more closely at what’s possible.

For now, we’re focusing on making patio furniture closer to your backyard, which will lead to valuable manufacturing jobs in your community.

Suppliers interested in learning more about the RFP can contact USAPatio@wal-mart.com.