Notes on questions
In fact, there is only one question attached to this case in the text. This does not mean that the class debrief of the case needs to be centred only around this one question. Nevertheless, given the nature of the information in the case, it does lend itself to a very broad ‘compare and contrast’ mode of analysis. If required, the case debrief can be broken down into smaller segments such as the following.
How would you class the three companies in terms of the markets they serve?
How do they differ in terms of their approach to design stage of the supply chain?
How do they differ in terms of the manufacturing stage of the supply chain?
How do they differ in terms of the distribution stage of the supply chain?
How do they differ in terms of the retail stage of the supply chain?
How would you summarize the general differences between the companies in terms of their approach to supply chain management?
Here, we will address these questions in this order.
The markets occupied by these companies (or rather, brands) could be analyzed in several ways. But this is not a marketing case, and all that is necessary here is to establish (approximately) the similarities and differences between the three brands. A diagram similar to the one below is useful for doing this. The next illustration shows approximately the degree of ownership that each company has at each stage in the supply chain. In this diagram, the manufacturing stage, as it is called in the case, is divided into two parts: the supply of parts and the manufacture of the garment. This is not strictly necessary, but can be used to prompt a debate about exactly what the company has chosen to own. There is, after all, a difference between how much of the finished garment to manufacture and assemble, and how many of the components that go into the finished product do they want to supply internally. Design
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 debating with the students why, of all the stages in the supply chain, it is design that these companies are the most reluctant to outsource....