Walmart is huge. The largest company in America by most measures. The most revenue. More than 1.5 million U.S. employees.
Heck, if you work in the United States, there's a 1.2 percent chance that you work for Walmart.
It's so big that when Walmart makes a tiny changes, it can have massive ramifications.
Like floor wax for example. At an event at company headquarters Tuesday, Walmart revealed how much it thinks it saved simply by switching from one brand of floor wax to a longer-lasting brand.
"Not only is the new wax cheaper, it's also sturdier. It doesn't need to be buffed as often, resulting in less spent on the actual buffing, as well as fuel for the machines," the company's CFO, Brett Biggs told analysts. "That one change in floor wax will save us over $20 million a year."
And, if $20 million isn't enough for you, here's another example. Simply changing the kind of lights they use is projected to save $200 million.
"We are in the process of a multiyear rollout of replacing all fluorescent fixtures with LEDs in our stores, clubs and parking lots. Not only is it good for the environment, these changes could reduce our annual energy costs by $200 million over time," Biggs continued.
These kinds of "small change leads to big change" features are getting to be part of the annual event for Biggs.
At a 2017 meeting, he explained how Walmart had cut $20 million from its budget by making a "small" change to the plastic bags it uses, and another $7 million by giving customers shorter receipts.
To put it in perspective, Walmart's net revenue in 2018 was reported as $9.862 billion, and it has a total of 11,718 stores around the world. That works out to just under $842,000 in net income per store, on average across the entire chain.
So, take the $20 million in floor wax savings and the $27 million in total from bags and shorter receipts, divided by that $842,000? It's a bit unconventional to look at it like this, but it works out to the same as the average net income of almost 56 stores.
All without laying a single brick.
The lesson for business owners of all sizes is pretty clear. You can increase your bottom line by selling more products, expanding to new markets, and increasing efficiencies.
But you're also likely spending more than you need to on some things you never even think about. That's money that could go to building your business, instead of someone else's.