This case describes how Wendler Einlagen GmbH & Co became the world’s largest shirt interlining provider: in 2007 it had a 40% market share in Europe and the US combined. Wendler produced interlinings for both the high and low value markets – from Hugo Boss to Aldi – with manufacturing operations in Germany and China and a warehouse in Hong Kong. German competitors, who made interlinings for other products, had higher sales volume but Wendler remained market leader for shirt interlinings with a worldwide market share of 20% in 2007. Despite intense competition, a German production base and stagnating demand in Europe and the US, growth averaged 9% per year.
To show the link between a successful business strategy and its implementation throughout the life-cycle of the customer. The case offers the opportunity to map the relation between strategy and operational elements, demonstrating that you can succeed with commodity products if you provide a service that is recognised as superior. Supply chain flexibility and technical services play a vital role in this strategic differentiation. Students should also identify the risk facing a mono-product company in the long term: if a groundbreaking innovation replaced the classic shirt interlining, Wendler could see its experience and market share vanish overnight.
- Operations Strategy Focus
- Service Deployment around a Commodity
- Supply Chain Management
- Shirt Interlinings