Wal-MartĂs data warehousing capabilities are vast, probably making Wal-MartĂs the largest data warehouse in the world with its 423-terabyte system handling data from over 5,000 stores worldwide (Kaltenheuser 2005). WalmartĂs data warehousing operation is so efficient that it costs ˘less than one percent of the $256.3 billion in revenue÷ earned by its stores in 2003 (Kaltenheuser 2005). Data warehousing is used to study sales trends and track inventory as well as tying in to Wal-Mart's Retail Link decision-support system that suppliers use to study item-level inventory and sales information (Whiting 2004).
Another business that has maximized use of advanced technology to improve its operations is QVC. QVC has capitalized on the benefits of virtual warehousing and innovative transport strategies such as cross-docking. The virtual reality warehouse that QVCĂs internet shopping arm (iQVC) uses has reduced operating costs and made fulfilling orders much faster than ever before. Whereas items stocked in a physical warehouse must be stacked on pallets or shelves and picked for shipping when a customer places an order, in a virtual warehouse, products are available electronically from suppliers rather than being physically stocked (Roussel-Dupre 2001). A virtual warehouse looks at its various distribution centers as a network; their location is not an issue as long as the