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Marks & Spencer and Zara: Process Competition in the Textile Apparel Industry

Published 02 Jul 2002
Reference 4974
Topic Operations
Region Global
popular
Prizes & Awards

2018 Case Centre Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2017 Case Centre Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2016 Best Selling Cases In France, Production / Logistique

2016 Case Centre Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2015 Case Centre Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2014 Case Centre Best Selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2013 Case Centre Best Selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2012 ecch Best Selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2011 ecch Best Selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2010 ecch Best Selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2009 ecch Best Selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2008 ecch Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2007 ecch Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2006 ecch Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2005 ecch Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

Overall Winner of 2005 European Case Awards

2004 ecch Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

2003 ecch Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

Winner of 2003 European Case Awards, Production and Operations Management Category

2002 ecch Best-selling Case in Production and Operations Management

Summary

The case was written to illustrate the importance of business process design as a basis for competition in the textile industry. The case illustrates the impressive performance of Zara, the new fashion player from Spain, which has innovated in process design so as to deliver new collections in its stores with a lead-time of 5 to 7 days. The more traditional approach in textile retailing is illustrated here by Marks & Spencer (M&S), the well-known UK retailer. Notwithstanding M&S’s current problems, the case does not fall into an overly simple comparison between a young, innovative competitor and an aging glory.

Teaching objectives

The authors have taught this case both in executive education and in the MBA core class on process and operations management. There are four important concepts that we typically stress, more or less, depending on pedagogical objectives: - Newsvendor losses in the textile industry - The role of postponement in final design - The "lean enterprise" aspect of Zara - Process competition and innovation, embedded in technology evolution

Keywords
  • AR2002
  • RD0102
  • SINGAPORE
  • PROCESS COMPETITION
  • OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT
  • SUPPLY CHAIN
  • RETAIL APPAREL
  • DELAYED CUSTOMISATION
  • DELAYED CUSTOMIZATION
  • TIME-BASED COMPETITION
  • NEWSBOY MODEL
  • INNOVATION
  • SERVICES
  • DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGIES