Walmart Canada's Continuous Improvement team started off where many organizations do – using a spreadsheet to manage multiple complex projects and a rapidly changing operation. Tasked with developing new business recommendations for their Transportation department, along with managing thousands of employees, stores, vendors, and supply chains, the Continuous Improvement team quickly realized they needed a solution that provided the visibility and scalability needed to succeed.
Since integrating Wrike into their systems, Walmart Canada has been able to better consolidate, view, and accelerate their workflows across the board. They've also reduced project approval times to near zero and cut the number of regular status updates and calls significantly. The Continuous Improvement team utilized Wrike to create their ideal workplace of the future, customized to work exactly the way they want and today, their success with Wrike has led to its deployment across other Walmart teams.
We recently took some time to chat with Francis Lalonde, Vice President of Transportation at Walmart Canada, and Carolyn Lum, Director, Transportation Continuous Improvement at Walmart Canada, to get a better understanding of how they discovered Wrike, their integration journey, and how it’s helped them do their best work.
Carolyn Lum, Director, Transportation Continuous Improvement at Walmart Canada
Q: What drove you to find a new work management solution?
A: “When I came into this role, there were no defined processes, and each area of the business was operating in a different way. It was very apparent that the multiple systems we were using for different areas were all so outdated that they were on the verge of being unsupported. And when it came to actually delivering projects, there were no systems in place. People were working out of Excel, and some people were working in manual notebooks. There were a few people working out of tools like Microsoft Project, but there was no way to track anything. That’s when I got an internal recommendation to check out Wrike.”
Q: Why did you decide to use Wrike?
A: “I did an assessment of all of the competitors. And the reason why I decided to go with Wrike was for the simplicity of customization. Walmart moves at such a fast pace, and decisions and directions can change within even the same week. It allows us to make the changes as we want on our schedule without having to rely on any sort of third-party development team to make those changes for us.”
Q: What Wrike feature or functionality do you love most?
A: “Multiple views – so no matter what tool someone is working in, they can easily and seamlessly work within this one tool. And Reporting is a big deal as well. My executives really wanted a high-level bird's eye view of where we are. And the fact that we can do that in real time is amazing. We also use Wrike Analyze a lot. It's really fantastic because we don't have to export our data to third-party tools for reporting – everything is done right inside Wrike. It's live, it's in real time, and we can report on any custom field that we created.”
Q: What would life be like without Wrike?
A: “Life without Wrike would be chaotic. The word that comes to my mind first, would be ‘disorganized’. And I just feel like people would be fumbling – just trying to pull all the information that they need together from all the multiple places that it used to sit in. ”
Q: What does the future of Wrike look like for Walmart Canada?
A: “The great thing about Wrike is that it'll grow with us and with our business. And it just shows us every day that the possibilities are endless. Every day, on our internal application store where we have our Walmart desktop app, I'm getting emails asking – can you talk to me about this tool? Can you talk to me about this solution? Can you walk us through how you're using it? And word is just spreading across all of our teams, connecting us to all of these international teams that we never would have had interactions with. The fact that everyone wants to implement the same ways of working that we have is really quite remarkable.”
Francis Lalonde, Vice President of Transportation at Walmart Canada
Q: How did the Continuous Improvement Team come about?
A: “I created the Continuous Improvement Team two and a half years ago. What I really wanted was to have a team that would help create that culture of continuous improvement … so it's not just a team of project managers. I wanted to build a team that would create a support network for our entire ecosystem. Their responsibility is to support teams with reporting, with analytics, with everything that they need to deliver on their initiatives. And that's what the team has been doing brilliantly.”
Q: What do you love most about your job?
A: “I love a million things about my job. I love that I get to service all of our customers on a daily basis. I love that we've built a team that’s relentlessly focused on people. And that's one of the things that I'm most passionate about, is seeing that our people are growing, they're getting to a different level in terms of maturity in terms of performance, and have the chance to transform the business as well.”
Q: What do you love most about Wrike?
A: “Wrike is more than a powerful solution. It's also scalable, and easy to use. And it really brings everything together. All the input is consolidated, it's tight, it's efficient, so the output that we get out of this is amazing. It's getting us to go faster, we're saving money, and removing waste…and I think the tool will keep evolving with us as well, which is important. It's continuous improvement, so it doesn't stop today.
I'm also not the most technical guy, and my team will tell you that I'm using it every day. It's easy for me to navigate through all the details. So if dinosaurs like me from the system side are able to go in and really adopt it, everybody else can go in there and use that solution in a very easy manner.”
Q: What has Wrike helped you accomplish that you couldn’t before?
A: “There are moments when we build a budget, or when we have financial pressure, where I need to know if I can bring in $3 million to the well or not. And I wasn't able to do that before. Now I know if I can or can’t, because I can see the full pipeline.”
Q: Where do you see your journey with Wrike taking you?
A: “Ever since we've hopped on Wrike, it's been amazing. And the fun thing is everybody else now wants to get on the journey. Within Walmart Canada, we're up to, I think, seven or eight departments using Wrike. Now they’re all knocking on our doors. We've been giving demos, probably once a week, for about a year and a half with other folks because everybody else wants to get on the program.”
Learn more about the success of Walmart Canada and how they use Wrike to achieve operational success by watching the full video.