Doug McMillon, the chief executive of Wal-Mart Stores, walked onto the stage at its U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Denver and gave the audience a cheery “Good afternoon.” No response. “At Walmart, we yell back, ‘Good afternoon,’” he said, smiling. The audience obliged. And so the August 14 meeting began.
Earlier in the day, the company reported a slow second quarter in the U.S. But none of the executives wanted to talk about that. They were there, for two days, to help their suppliers figure out how they can manufacture some of their products at home. “We come here with a deeper understanding of the challenges standing in the way of making U.S. manufacturing a reality,” said Michelle Gloeckler, the executive in charge of the effort.