Navigating Walmart’s Supply Chain Guidelines with a Focus on SQEP, Packaging, and Labeling

April 12, 2024

Navigating Walmart’s Supply Chain Guidelines with a Focus on SQEP, Packaging, and Labeling

As Walmart continually refines its supply chain operations, understanding its comprehensive guidelines is crucial for suppliers aiming to maintain compliance and excel in their partnerships. Walmart’s recent updates highlight the importance of the Supplier Quality Excellence Program (SQEP), robust packaging standards, and meticulous labeling requirements, all integral components that contribute to the efficient movement of goods through Walmart’s extensive distribution network.

Supplier Quality Excellence Program (SQEP)

SQEP is designed to elevate the quality of suppliers’ inbound logistics to Walmart, aiming for excellence across several key areas. It focuses on the accuracy and quality of the product shipments, ensuring that they meet Walmart’s stringent standards. This initiative encompasses various phases that suppliers must comply with, including Purchase Order accuracy, Advanced Shipping Notification (ASN) standards, barcode compliance, and detailed packaging and labeling requirements​.

Importance of Packaging

Walmart has set specific standards for packaging to ensure that products can withstand the logistics process from shipment to shelf. The standards specify the types of materials, the strength of the corrugated boxes, and even the proper securing and handling of the pallets. This is not just about compliance; effective packaging directly impacts product integrity and customer satisfaction upon arrival. Suppliers are required to use specified materials that can endure the automated sorting systems used in Walmart’s distribution centers, which may involve heavy compression, vibrations, and other stressors.

Automation Eligible Packaging: Packaging that qualifies for automation must be designed to endure the mechanical stresses of automated handling. These include the potential heavy compression, abrasion, vibrations, and the temperature and humidity changes typical in automated environments. To qualify as automation eligible, packaging must pass specific strength and durability tests, ensuring that it maintains its integrity and protects the contents throughout the logistics process

Detailed Labeling Requirements

Labeling is another critical aspect, especially given Walmart’s extensive use of automated systems that rely on barcode scanning to track and sort products efficiently. The guidelines are precise, demanding labels that are not only clear and accurate but also placed correctly on the packaging to facilitate easy scanning. This includes the use of ITF-14 and GS1-128 barcodes, specific case markings, and even temperature requirements for perishable goods. Each type of product might have unique labeling requirements that cater to its specific handling and storage needs​​.

Compliance with SQEP

Complying with SQEP is not just about adhering to Walmart’s operational needs but is also a strategic move for suppliers. It involves rigorous adherence to the laid-out standards but promises fewer disruptions, reduced costs associated with non-compliance, and a smoother flow of goods to the market. It’s about building a relationship that enhances efficiency and trust between Walmart and its suppliers.


For any business aiming to thrive within Walmart’s supply chain, understanding and implementing the details of SQEP, along with stringent packaging and labeling standards, is non-negotiable. These elements are not only about compliance but are crucial for ensuring that products arrive at their destination in excellent condition, thus maintaining Walmart’s promise of quality to its customers. As Walmart continues to evolve its operational strategies, suppliers must stay informed and adaptable to maintain a competitive edge in this dynamic retail environment.

Reach out to us to learn more and let us guide you on your Walmart journey!