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How Do I Navigate Walmart’s Ladder Plan?

2021-07-09
7 min read

Learn about:

  • What a ladder plan is
  • What goes into a ladder plan
  • How to generate a ladder plan

Suppliers at Walmart stores all around the country have begun to integrate ladder systems into their Walmart facilities and Distribution Centers. The results have been exceedingly positive. 

Ladder plans assist suppliers in tracking the flow of products from Distribution Centers to Walmart locations. They can also track sales, prices, and other valuable data. Suppliers can also use ladder plans to map out future events to know which items to stock ahead of time. Walmart ladder reports can also help suppliers determine which items are selling out quickly and which ones are not. 

Though ladder plans take a fair amount of practice to grasp fully, learning to manage and read these reports will be worth the effort. Taking the process step-by-step will allow a smoother transition into this new system. 

As more Walmart locations incorporate ladder plans, suppliers can expect more organization, more effective communication, and more productive work in the future. 

What goes into a ladder plan? 

A ladder plan contains data that will assist a supplier in distributing products to each Walmart facility. The analyst organizes all of this data within a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. 

These spreadsheets include formulas that can help create sales forecasts, manufacturing schedules, project future deliveries, and prepare facilities for store events. Other information such as product numbers, prices, on-hand stock, and much more are also in these spreadsheets. The analyst organizes all of this information week-by-week. 

Weekly emails 

Every week, Walmart headquarters will send an email to each supply facility. This email will have two attachments: the ladder plan tool and the raw data. Walmart includes everything a supplier needs to complete the ladder plan in these two documents. 

How do I create a ladder plan? 

To populate the ladder plan, suppliers will need to enter data from the weekly emails into the tabs of the ladder spreadsheet. They should make sure to download both documents every week, as the ladder plan tool can change over time, and it is essential to include any updates. 

Once it is complete, they will convert the data from these tabs into the completed ladder plan. Suppliers who manage these spreadsheets should already have a basic understanding of how to navigate Microsoft Excel. 

Data Dump tab 

Open the raw data worksheet from the headquarters email. Highlight and copy all of the data in this document. Make sure to select every column, as this document has a lot of information. Then, locate the Data Dump tab at the bottom of the ladder plan tool and open it. Paste all of the data under the B2 column. 

Supplier Flow tab 

Locate the Supplier Flow tab, which should be right next to the Data Dump tab. Enter the number for each item under the “Item Nbr” column. Next to that is the “Supplier OH” column, which will display the quantity of that same item in the supplier’s facility. 

Next, find the current week in the spreadsheet. Determine how much of the given product is necessary to ship to the Walmart facility and type in that quantity. 

Event Forecast tab 

Locate the Event Forecast tab. Fill out this tab item-by-item just like the Supplier Flow tab. 

Next, highlight the weeks where stores have planned an event for a specific item. Put in the anticipated unit lift for each item and week. 

Supplier Receipts tab 

Locate the Supplier Receipts tab. Find the current week in the spreadsheet and enter the units of items expected to arrive at the supplier facility. 

What should I expect from my buyer? 

Clear communication between suppliers and buyers is crucial. Buyers should provide information in advance regarding events or pricing to ensure that suppliers can properly build these ladder plans. 

How do I compile and build a ladder plan? 

Once a supplier has transferred the data into the four tabs, they are ready for the next step: compiling and building the ladder plan. Compiling the ladder plan is the most crucial and the most straightforward part of the whole process. 

First, locate the Compile tab at the bottom of the ladder plan sheet. Then, click the Build Sheet button in the top left corner. The Build Sheet button will convert all of the data into a complete ladder plan. It is now ready for a manager to review. 

How do I read my ladder plan? 

At first glance, a completed ladder plan can seem somewhat confusing. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, try not to read the entire chart all at once; instead, take it step by step so that it will be easier to digest. 

The ladder plan consists of five sections. Certain parts of these sections are highlighted with designated colors so that suppliers can more easily navigate the chart. 

  • Calendar section 
    • The section at the very top of the spreadsheet is the Calendar section.
    • Its name speaks for itself; it organizes every week of data at a given Walmart facility. 
    • It also shows the correlation between calendar weeks and Walmart business weeks, preventing miscommunication with locations that do not use Walmart weeks. 
  • Item Information section 
    • The Item Information section is in the top left corner of the spreadsheet. 
    • It contains supplier information for each item listed on the given spreadsheet. 
    • It also contains information such as item numbers, prices, and stock counts. 
  • Sales And Forecast section 
    • The Sales And Forecast section is directly below the Calendar Section. 
    • It contains information about the projected inventory that a given supplier holds. 
    • It allows suppliers to compare the current item quantity and sales to that of previous years. 
  • Supplier Inventory section 
    • The Supplier Inventory section is directly below the Sales And Forecast Section. 
    • It contains information about projected merchandise orders and stock that the supply facility has on hand. 
  • On-hand & Inventory section 
    • The On-hand & Inventory section is directly below the Supplier Inventory section. 
    • It projects how much merchandise a given Walmart facility and distribution center will have on hand. 
    • It also determines the base level of inventory that a facility needs to have in stock. 

How can I adjust my ladder plan? 

Once the supplier has built and compiled the ladder plan, it will be easy to spot any mistakes or missing information. To fix any errors, the supplier can simply add or remove information directly into the document to adjust the ladder plan as necessary. 

However, suppliers should be careful not to delete any formulas while editing. Walmart built these formulas directly into the provided Excel sheet to allow more accessible construction, and deleting them can undo hours of progress. 

When necessary, suppliers can also modify the base tabs and re-click the Build Sheet button. Doing so will create a new, updated ladder sheet. Keep in mind that this method will undo any changes they have made after clicking Compile and Build Sheet. 

How can I replicate a ladder report in Retail Intelligence? 

Retail Intelligence uses AI systems to collect information from Walmart. When used with ladder reports, this includes data such as purchases, stock, and pricing. 

After analyzing this information, Retail Intelligence can help project future inventory for Walmart facilities and distribution centers. Suppliers can use this data to more effectively complete ladder reports. 

Creating a ladder plan in Retail Intelligence is as simple as clicking a button. The Ladder Plan dashboard contains all the data you need. Simply add your filters and enjoy your data in the form of attractive, readable metrics.

Retail Intelligence -- Ladder Plan

Retail Intelligence – Ladder Plan

Summary

With just a little bit of training, suppliers can quickly learn to populate and navigate ladder plans. This tool can help Walmart facilities keep track of stock, know when to anticipate future orders, and quickly prepare for sales events. A ladder plan is a valuable tool that will help foster a more organized, more productive, and more profitable future for Walmart. 

Ditch the spreadsheets. Get started.

The SupplyPike Team
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The SupplyPike Team

SupplyPike builds software to help retail suppliers fight deductions, meet compliance standards, and dig down to root cause issues in their supply chain.

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