Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, one of the world's largest corporations, and one-time richest man in the world, left an estimated $100 billion fortune to his wife and four children when he died. Known as Mr. Sam, Walton was an Eagle Scout, served as an Army captain during World War II, was an avid hunter and outdoorsman, and lived humbly. He had a hard-charging, demanding style, often starting at 4:30 am.
Walton was an innovator in business growth, discount retailing, supply chain management, and business financing.
Sam Walton was born March 29, 1918, to his parents Thomas Gibson and Nancy Lee Walton near Kingfisher, Oklahoma.
Sam Walton passed away April 5, 1992, at the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Hospital, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Sam attended the University of Missouri where he was elected Senior Class President. To pay the tuition bill he worked as a lifeguard, waiter and maintained a newspaper delivery route of 160 customers. Following graduation, he aspired to attend the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania but quickly found he couldn't afford it. He instead took a job as a manager trainee at J.C.
Penney. Today, the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas bears his name.
The first Walmart opened in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas. Originally, stores were located within a day's driving distance from the company's distribution center to ensure almost instantaneous restocking. Sales increased from $313 million to $1.2 billion during the 1970-1980 period while the number of stores increased 8.5 fold. Much of this increase came from bank debt which was largely paid off with the proceeds of the company's 1970 initial public offering.
In 1991 Walmart surpassed Sears, Roebuck & Company to become the country’s largest retailer. In that same year, as the country was mired in an economic downturn, Walmart increased sales by more than 40 percent.
Technology & Walmart:
Sam Walton's brilliance was evident in the way he had the company embrace technology. In the early 1980's, the business was one of the first to utilize UPC barcodes to automate the inventory process.
In 1983, the business spent tremendous amounts of capital on a private satellite system that could track delivery trucks, speed credit card transactions, and transmit audio and video signals, as well as sales data.
In more recent years, Walmart has introduced online ordering with free pickup and mobile apps. Today, Walmart is one of the largest companies in the world, with a market capitalization of more than $260 billion as of March 2018.
Sam Walton's 10 Commandments:
1. Commit to your business.
2. Share your profits with your associates and treat them like your partners.
3. Energize your colleagues.
4. Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners.
5. Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.
6. Celebrate your success.
7. Listen to everyone in your company.
8. Exceed your customers' expectations.
9. Control your expenses better than your competition.
10. Blaze your own path.