Supply Chain and Flexibility

In: Business and Management

Submitted By bgamad
Words 495
Pages 2
2008-06791

Flexibility is a measurement of how a company adjusts with its internal and external environment. There are two ways to adjust. One is to adopt the standards or norms of the industry and the other is to deviate from them. For Zara, obviously, it was the latter. I thought Zara’s rapid fire supply chain management was a bold move, cost and effort-wise, and was unconventional with relation to its peers, but it has given the company its competitive advantage. Yes Zara acted against the normal production cycle, but the good thing was that the company sustained this supply chain system, definitely made adjustments to it through the years, and now the company is reaping its benefits.

Flexibility is not all about adjustment. It is how a company manages the trade off between quality and speed. Personally, these two ideas come to my mind whenever I hear business flexibility. At first, I was worried that the quality of the products would dwindle as it only took Zara 15 days to design a product then display it in stores. However, having three parallel but operationally distinct clothing departments enabled the company to achieve this quick span of production and maintain superior quality of its products. Thus, highly flexible companies make it seem as if there is no trade-off and undoubtedly, Zara is as such.

Further, the fashion industry would sap the life out of any ordinary company with its ever-changing consumer preferences and continuously evolving clothing trends – but then Zara is not an ordinary company. Guided with its three principles, it was able to have a high control over its operations and customers. In effect, it achieved rapid customer response and shorter time to market its products. I truly agree that it should be the envy of its competitors and I was left asking “What are its competitors doing?” and “Why they do not just adopt Zara’s supply…...

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