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Étude sur les enseignes : H&M, Zara et Benetton

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RESEARCH CASE STUDY FROM BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY, MARKETING OPERATIONS

ZARA, H&M, BENETTON CASE STUDY: Supplying fast fashion

High-street Design Labels

Notable here is that all three companies do the majority of their own design. In fact, Benetton and Zara do virtually all of their own design in-house, while H&M is using ‘guest designers’, but mainly to exploit the reputation of these designers.

It is worth noting that for all the stages in the supply chain, it is design that these companies are the most reluctant to outsource. This is because that in an industry concerned with fashion, an aesthetic value, the design stage is the operation that contributes the most to the market image of the company. Of the main process objectives for the design part of the supply chain, speed is very important, as is quality (in terms of fitness for purpose). Similarly, where distinctive seasons are still used (more so at Benetton, less so at Zara) dependability, that is having designs finished in time for the clothes to be put through the supply chain and reach the stores in time for the season, is also relatively important.

Flexibility is also an issue. It is important to draw the distinction between flexibility and agility. The concept of agility (being flexible, fast and responsive) may be a better way of thinking about fast fashion. The issue of cost is also important here. It is not about the cost of the finished garment (this is important but part of quality as ‘fit for purpose’) but the cost of producing the designs. While this cannot be allowed to get out of control, each company seem to understand the importance of not under resourcing the design process.

Suppliers and manufacturing

Benetton does not own any of its suppliers. It does not make cloth or spin yarn. However, because it does manufacture some stages of the garment-making process, it will have an interest in relationships with suppliers. As regards the manufacturing stage, Benetton has plants both in Italy and around the world, but relies significantly on a large number of ‘contractors’ who perform most of the manufacturing. The interesting point here is that these contractors are often owned and managed by ex-Benetton employees. H&M does not own any part of the supply and manufacturing stages of the supply chain. This is quite a deliberate policy. Of the three companies, they are the only one to keep totally clear of these activities. Several suggestions for this approach could be :

• It means they do not require the capital to invest in expensive manufacturing plant.

• They are specialists in designing and selling rather than manufacturing, so it is best to stick to what you know best.

• There are plenty of companies around the world who can make garments; increasingly these are in relatively cheap labour cost economies. Managing these factors is a specialized task.

• Generally, there is more margin in service activities than in manufacturing activities.

Zara started out as exclusively a manufacturing organization. Mainly though, it is because Zara believes that they acquire distinct capabilities by owning so much of these stages (and other stages) of the chain.

Distribution

Very few companies of this type still perform all their own distribution. All three have warehouse facilities. In particular, Zara has put significant investment

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