Competitive Advantage in Fast Fashion

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*CHAPTER* 3
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE *IN THE* FAST FASHION
Fast fashion is a term used to describe clothing collections which are based on the most recent fashion trends presented at Fashion Week in both the spring and the autumn of every year. These trends are designed and manufactured quickly and cheaply to allow the mainstream consumer to take advantage of current clothing styles at a lower price. This chapter highlights the sources of competitive advantage that may exist inside the field of fast fashion, as shown in Figure 3.1, studying in detail the major players who are part of: H&M, Gap, Zara and Benetton. {draw:frame}

FIGURE 3.1 : THE SOURCES OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
*3.1 *SUPPLY CHAIN
A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier) to customer. Supply chain activities transform natural resources, raw materials and components into a finished product that is delivered to the end customer. In sophisticated supply chain systems, used products may re-enter the supply chain at any point where residual value is recyclable. Supply chains are increasingly being seen as integrated entities, and closer relationships between the organizations throughout the chain can bring competitive advantage, reduce costs, and help to maintain a loyal customer base. There are two main differences to value chains:

Supply chains are more detailed since they incorporate not only activities. Supply chains connect intra-organizational value chains by products, services, and information flows. Supply chains underlie value-chains because, without them, no producer has the ability to give customers what they want, when and where they want, at the price they want. Producers compete with each other only through their supply chains, and no degree of improvement at the producer's end can make up for the deficiencies in a supply chain which reduce the producer's ability to compete. {draw:frame}

FIGURE 3.2: EXAMPLE OF SUPPLY CHAIN
A typical supply chain begins with ecological and biological regulation of natural resources, followed by the human extraction of raw material, and includes several production links (e.g., component construction, assembly, and merging) before moving on to several layers of storage facilities of ever-decreasing size and ever more remote geographical locations, and finally reaching the consumer. All organizations have supply chains of varying degrees, depending upon the size of the organization and the type of product manufactured. These networks obtain supplies and components, change these materials into finished products and then distribute them to the customer. Managing the chain of events in this process is what is known as supply chain management. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) defines Supply Chain Management as follows “Supply Chain Management encompasses the planning and management of all activities involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities. Importantly, it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers. In essence, supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies. Supply Chain Management is an integrating function with primary responsibility for linking major business functions and business processes within and across companies into a cohesive and high-performing business model. It includes all of the logistics management activities noted above, as well as manufacturing operations, and it drives coordination of processes and activities with and across marketing, sales, product design, finance and information technology.” Effective management must take into account coordinating all the different pieces of this chain as quickly as possible...
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