Learning from the Fashion Industry: a Structured Literature Review

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CRANFIELD UNIVERSITY

ELEFTHERIA DIMITRAKOU

LEARNING FROM THE FASHION INDUSTRY: A STRUCTURED LITERATURE REVIEW

CRANFIELD CENTRE FOR LOGISTICS & SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT

MSc THESIS

CRANFIELD UNIVERSITY CRANFIELD SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT CRANFIELD CENTRE FOR LOGISTICS & SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT MSc THESIS

Academic Year 2006-2007

ELEFTHERIA DIMITRAKOU

Learning from the Fashion Industry: A Structured Literature Review

Supervisor:

Dr. Chris Morgan

August 2007
This thesis is submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science © Cranfield University 2006. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright owner.

ABSTRACT
This research study is a Structured Literature Review focused on identifying the learning points which can derive from the fashion industry regarding supply chain management solutions. Manufacturing, distribution and marketing issues that enable a more robust analysis of the sector are investigated. A review of business models used by companies in the fashion industry is conducted to gain insights into the way that fashion firms manage demand. An extensive review of the literature reveals that the fashion industry is marketorientated and characterised by short life cycle products and low demand predictability. Lead time reduction enables the development of flexible manufacturing and logistics systems. Short lead times enable reduction of forecast errors and improvement of supply chain responsiveness towards volatile market conditions. The main supply chain solutions in the fashion industry are based on quick response, fast fashion, agile, lean and leagile concepts. Use of information technology, automated manufacturing systems, production and distribution planning based on real-time demand and transparency of information across the whole supply chain are some of the primary characteristics of the fashion supply chains. In the light of the unpredictable and volatile nature of the fashion industry, this is considered to be worth noting. Based on the segmentation of the industry in terms of volumes and varieties, a model presenting the structure of the sector and the different supply chain approaches is developed. The model allows a comprehensive analysis of the way that the fashion industry works, in terms of manufacturing, distribution and marketing operations, in different volumes/variety levels and product characteristics.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
First and foremost, I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Chris Morgan, for his guidance and support. His willingness to discuss and advise benefited the completion of this study.

I would also like to thank the members of the advisory group who contributed to this study. Especially, I would like to express my appreciation to Mr Sanaul Mallick, for his availability and contribution.

I would also like to thank my friends at Cranfield University and in Greece for their support during this demanding year. Last but not least I would like to express my gratitude to my family for their everlasting trust and support.

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“True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing”. “And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all". Socrates (469 BC - 399 BC)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................ 1 1.1 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................... 1 1.2 BACKGROUND TO THE RESEARCH ....................................................................... 1 1.2.1 Background to the fashion industry ............................................................ 1 1.3 IMPORTANCE OF THE TOPIC ................................................................................ 3 1.4 AIM OF THE PROJECT AND OBJECTIVES OF THE RESEARCH...
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