The case describes how AMF Snaps, a supplier of fastenings for the premium clothes market, has risen to become one of Europe's leading and most innovative snaps companies. From the first collection in 1996, designed by founder Andreas Faerber with the help of some friends using simple computer graphic tools, by 2007 the workforce had increased from four people to 70, with annual sales of 50 million snaps. Unwavering in his belief that the relationship with the customer is key to success, in 2007 Faerber was faced with a dilemma. Survey results revealed a gap between what employees perceived to be the company’s strong points and what its clients considered them to be. It also uncovered a weak point in the snap supplying process: the outsourced manufacturing of the snaps. .
The case considers the trade-off between operating with a network of subcontractors and acquiring non-core assets to improve supply chain integration. Having no constraints on the manufacturing side has allowed the company to be more creative than its competitors, which fashionmakers value highly. But the unreliability of the electroplating part of the production network may jeopardise its position as a key supplier to Europe?s big fashion brands. Students analyse the options available to improve the reliability and responsiveness of the whole value chain (acquisition, joint-venture, long-term collaboration) and justify the strategy chosen taking into account the elements that have historically made AMF so successful.
- textile industry
- supply chain
- vertical integration