Supply Chain Management

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Marks & Spencer Ltd.

Marks and Spencer is a retailer of clothing, housewares, and food items with a long history of great value and excellent customer service. M&S is not only perceived as a great brand, but is also revered with admiration in its country of origin the United Kingdom. It is in the business of providing high quality “essential” merchandise at moderate price, and high quality pre-cooked food at high rates. The company strategy is strong and evident in all their functions. Moreover, its value addition to the buyer is extremely high, which naturally builds Marks and Spencer’s brand equity. Marks and Spencer is a very successful retailer for many reasons, but the core of their strategy relies on their employees, their supply chain management, and their rooted understanding of customer’s needs.

Resource and Capabilities
Marks and Spencer control of end to end supply chain is its core strength. This is extremely rare in the retail market given the fact that M&S controls quality and design right from the producer. Working closely with approximately 500 food and 350 nonfood independent suppliers gives M&S immense control over inventory, product quality and freshness of food. Utilizing the VRIN Framework, the M&S supply-chain would be classified as an both rare and inimitable. The M&S supply chain is rare because of the streamlined distribution process which enabled its stores to offer prepared foods that were fresh, not frozen. This was viewed as a sign of superior quality by the customer. Also, both the food and the merchandising segment of M&S operations had immense control over the supply chain from factory to floor. More importantly this strategy is Inimitable based on the time, monetary investment, and commitment it requires to build such outstanding relationships with suppliers. The time required to build such a network really gives M&S a strategic advantage as “Some supplier relationships stretched back...
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