Zara: It for Fast Fashion

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Problem Statement: In 2003, Zara's CIO must decide whether to upgrade the retailer's IT infrastructure and capabilities. At the time of the case, the company relies on an out-of-date operating system for its store terminals and has no full-time network in place across stores. Despite these limitations, however, Zara's parent company, Inditex, has built an extraordinarily well-performing value chain that is by far the most responsive in the industry. Therefore the major problem to the company is to decide whether it has to upgrade the present system and by doing so, risking the reliability they have with the current system or to continue with the present DOS based system which will not be compatible for future changes or improvements.

Analysis & Recommendation: Zara’s main strategy is the ability to respond very quickly to the demands of target customers which called for identifying trends of the customer in advance. The company has been able to identify the trends and meet the demand with the help of its autonomously organized structure and its effective value chain systems. The present system followed by Zara has been very effective and very easy to maintain, which as a result has persuaded the company to continue without any change in the present system so far. The problem that Zara faces right now is that the system that they use, P-O-S (Point of Sale terminals), runs on DOS which Microsoft does not support anymore and any hardware change in the POS terminal will not be compatible with the current POS software. Although the sense of urgency for the change may not be that high, investing in IT infrastructure is a must as MS Dos is an obsolete technology and there is no contract or guarantee from their POS terminal vendor that they will continue supplying the same terminal with out much changes in the hardware for any specific period of time, therefore change is unavoidable. The other main issue that Zara faces is that the stores don’t share inventory...
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