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Topics: Supply chain management, Procurement, Supply chain Pages: 12 (4023 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Agile Supply Chain: Zara's case study analysis
Galin Zhelyazkov Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management; Strathclyde University Glasgow email:

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess and document the key aspects in Zara's success by identifing current gaps, and to provide direction for future research efforts. Design/methodology/approach – Zara's case studies and literature published from 2001 to 2010 was reviewed. Findings – The review summarizes significant aspects of Zara success, many of which at least partially addressed in previous research. Research limitations/implications – This effort is not an exhaustive review of all research published for Zara. This review does not consider unpublished papers, papers in non-academic journals, or papers presented at conferences. Practical implications – This review is a useful resource for supply chain researchers interested in agile supply chain and retailers willing to learn the key aspects of Zara's success in agile supply chain. Originality/value – This paper uses the findings of other researchers as a measure of the achievements of Zara against academic theory. The gaps identified and challenges made will serve as a foundation upon which future researchers can build. Keywords Supply chain management, Agile supply chain, Zara case study analysis Paper type Case Study Analysis

It is becoming clear that the changed conditions in the global marketplace demand a much more agile response from the organizations and their partners in the supply chain. The period when production was moved overseas, so business can take advantage of cheap labour is coming to an end, because fast fashion starts competing not only on price but also on time. According to Cai-feng (2009) product and technology life cycles are likely to continue to shorten, while demand will be increasingly difficult to forecast. Decision about raw materials must be taken long in advance and still remain the most risky part of agile supply chain. Customer behaviour

has changed and nowadays buyers want to see frequently new stiles (Bruce and Dali, 2006). This is clearly result of the new buyers behaviour, clothes are not used anymore to protect body from cold, but to accompany a persona style and support aimed personality appearance (Caifeng, 2009). All these facts play a key role in the new relationship between retailers, suppliers and consumers. Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the success factor in fast fashion business. It deals with suppliers, with supplier’s suppliers, with customers and sometimes even customer’s customers. It looks at the process from raw materials origin to customer consumption. The output of supply chain is not just a physical product, but a combination of time, place, form and function of a product/service proposition (Cai-feng, 2009). In the fashion world, where companies are competing on time (time-to-market) the need of new abilities are raising. Agility is such an ability that responds rapidly to unpredictable changes in demand . Cai-feng (2009) define Agile Supply Chain (ASC) as a network‘s ability to consistently identify and capture business opportunities more quickly than its rivals do. Barnes and Greenwood (2006) definition can enrich it by adding: ASC is a “quick response, describe shorter, more flexible, demand driven supply chains. ASC is driven by information such as market data and information-sharing between businesses in the supply chain. In agile supply chains, the visibility of information allows the supply chain to become more responsive to changes in demand in the market place”. Part of the ASC process is agile manufacturing. Cai-feng (2009) points at four pivotal objectives of agile manufacturing: customer enrichment ahead of competitors, achieving mass customization at the cost of mass production, mastering change and uncertainty through routinely adaptable structures, and leveraging the impact of...
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