ZARA Clothing Performance Analysis

Keywords: zara performance, zara pm, zara performance analysis

Zara is the most significant section and flagship make of the Spanish retail group Inditex. It provides up-to-the-minute fashionability at low prices, in stores that are clearly focused on one particular market (Slack, 2006). The first store exposed unintentionally in 1975 credited to a large pyjamas order cancellation. This typically can be reported to be an emergent strategy as the Zara store today had not been an planned strategy.

Vertically included, Zara controls almost all of the techniques in the resource string whereby 50% of the merchandise are created in Spain, 26% in the others of European countries and 24% in Asian countries. Zara outsources products of high labour extensive procedures but maintains in-house capital intense processes, protecting knowledge and know-how.

It takes significantly less than fourteen days for a skirt to get from Zara's design team in Spain to a Zara stores in virtually any area of the globe, around 12 times faster than the competition. And with shorter lead times, Zara can ship fewer pieces, in a greater variety of styles, more often and they can easier cancel lines that don't sell as well, keeping away from inventory backlogs. (Thinking Made Easy, 2009)

This quick response capacity of Zara is made possible by the 3 main levels define the competitive border of the company: design, making and distribution. This plan is embraced to focus on the businesses which can enhance cost efficiency and hence Zara's internalization. Other development activities are completed via a network of about 500 subcontractors near Zara's functions at La Coruna.

Mr. Ortega the CEO of the Inditex, the father or mother company of Zara, once said that the trick to retail success is to 'have five fingertips touching the manufacturer and five touching the customer'. (Nigel Slack, 2008)

This paper uses the models and frameworks of the Businesses Strategy module to describe & evaluate how Zara's procedures strategy resulted in a sustainable competitive benefits in the global clothes industry.

What is Operation's Strategy?

Just as there is no overall agreement about what 'strategy' means, there is absolutely no universal agreement on how 'businesses strategy' should be referred to. Four particular perspectives have emerged on the description as illustrated in Fig. 1 below (Nigel Slack, 2008)

Top down vs. Bottom up:

Zara boosted its development in a fast changing market by adapting the bottom up perspective of strategy in its businesses. This is an integral drivers of competitive advantages through constant innovation to develop new-products that provide customers with new recognized benefits.

Zara advantages from an organizational culture which allows information exchange, risk taking, experimentation and learning from failures.

Market Requirements vs. Operations Resource:

Whatever the operations strategy of an organization, it must for some reason reflect certain requirements of the organization's market. The fashion market is an easy changing one characterized by quick shifts in consumer requirements. As defined by Inditex CEO, Jose Maria Castellano, "the fashion world is constant flux and is influenced not by resource but by customer demand. We need to give consumers what they need, and easily go to SOUTH USA or Asia to make clothes, I simply can't move fast enough. "

How do Zara's operations resources help it to remain competitive in its market?

Zara has remained centered on its core philosophy that creativity and quality design together with a rapid response to market demands will yield profitable results. Its business model incorporates the following operational goals
  • To develop a system the requires brief lead times
  • To decrease development quantities and inventory
  • To increase variety of styles/choice.

We can deduce that operation's strategy is concerned with the reconciliation of market requirements and functions resources.

Key drivers of this reconciliation are the importance of setting up appropriate performance goals and understanding your choice areas that determine source of information deployment.

Factors impacting on Zara's Strategic Decisions:

  • Capacity

Zara utilizes a chase demand capacity management in it's functions. Spare making capacity is mirrored in the business's storage function, where up to 400 extra staff can be drafted in during busty cycles. As new stock delivery schedules are regimented, customers know when new stock arrives and traffic in stores is heavier at such times. Because of this, the company is able to modify its resources to complement the demands as appropriate. Procurement and development planners make preliminary, but crucial, estimations of processing costs and available capacity. The cross-functional clubs can look at prototypes in the hall, choose a design, and commit resources because of its production and advantages in a couple of hours, if required. (Ferdows Kasra, 2005)

A small change in retail purchases, for example, can lead to vast fluctuations in stock requests after it's transmitted through wholesalers and marketers. Within an industry that usually allows retailers to change a maximum of 20 percent of their orders once the season has started out, Zara lets them adjust 40 percent to 50 percent. In this way, Zara avoids costly overproduction and the subsequent sales and discounting prevalent on the market.

  • Supply Networks

The vertical Integration benefit is seen in Zara's centralized logistics and distribution.

Zara designs around 10, 000 new models every year and replenishes ranges within each one of its 650 retail stores two times per week, but in strictly limited levels of stock. This ensures Zara's brand promises to customers of exclusivity, and also of design freshness. But it also avoids build-up of large quantities of unpopular stock. Zara's system has to package with something in the world of 300, 000 new stock-keeping items (SKUs), typically, every year. (Ferdows Kasra, 2005). It outsources less processing (only labour intensive responsibilities mainly the sewing) than its competitors hence can react quickly to seasonality and unexpected demand. Zara avoids building inventories in any part of its source chain from recycleables to end user.

  • Process Technology

Zara's communication and coordination through high technology information systems is one of Zara's success factors relative to its competition. Its customized handheld personal computers support the bond between the retail stores and head office. These PDAs transmit all sorts of information (hard data as orders and sales trends and such gentle data as customer reactions and the "buzz" around a fresh style). The continuous flow of up to date data mitigates the so-called bullwhip effect-the inclination of resource chains (and everything open-loop information systems) to amplify small disruptions.

  • Development and Organization

This "fast fashion" system depends upon a frequent exchange of information throughout every part of Zara's source chain-from customers to store managers, from store managers to market specialists and designers, from designers to creation staff, from buyers to subcontractors, from warehouse managers to distributors, etc Zara's organization, functional procedures, performance procedures, and even its office designs are all made to make information copy easy.

By having businesses in close- closeness to its head office allowed for better and faster communication between efficient areas for faster decision making.

Key success targets for Zara's Performance:

Speed: Velocity and responsiveness to advertise, Zara has transformed just how clothing industry works where deigning, development and delivery to the merchants requires amount of six months. The look and distribution cycle of the business calls for just 10-15days in the whole process. Zara's acceleration to market in product development surpasses the capacities of its competitors. This alone provides additional value to stakeholders, customers, and stores in producing quality clothing at affordable prices. The closeness of their processing and operational procedures allows Zara to keep the flexibility necessary to design and produce over 12000 new items annually. This capacity allows Zara to accomplish their strategy of expedited response to consumer demand. The procedure of obtaining market information and relaying it to design and production clubs expedites product development by shortening the throughput time of their products from design to store.

Dependability: Because of Zara's ownership and control of creation, they ensure well-timed delivery and service. Although most of their stores go out of stock, signifying they have low dependability in terms of product availableness, another perspective of stability in conditions of keeping thus far with fashion is achieved.

Quality: Zara brand is synonymous with the cutting edge of fashion at affordable prices. Another Quality benefit is the added sense of quality to the product as the tags would be labelled with "manufactured in Europe" rather than "made in China" scheduled to Zara's trade-off between Low labour costs in Asia and functional efficiency.

Flexibility: Designers (of average get older 26) draw the look sketches then discuss it with market special offers and planning & procurement staff illustrating a flexibility of ideas generation and on the other hand the large numbers of designs reflects the ability to meet almost all the fashion requirements by customers of all age ranges (up to 55). This adaptive model alternatively than traditional merchandising is completely different from its competition. Many competitors rely on a little elite design team that projects both design and production needs well in advance. Stores have little autonomy in deciding which products to display or put on sale because Head office plans consequently and ships quantities as forecasted.

Zara owned many of the fabric dying, processing and slicing equipment that provided Zara added control and versatility to adopt new tendencies on demand. The added flexibility helped Zara on two fronts: shorter business lead times and fewer inventories. (OPPapers. com, 2010)

Cost: Zara produces almost all of its products in Europe. Compared to their opponents, they outsource very little to Asia. Though the expense of creation in Spain is 17-20% more costly than Asia, Zara does have a competitive edge over its opponents in regards to operations. Though there's a cost benefits in their way in regards to labour, having less overall flexibility in changing orders based on current trends hinders their operational efficiencies. Inventory costs are higher for rivals because requests are put for a whole season well beforehand and then kept in circulation facilities until regular shipment to stores. Lower inventory cost is a key sustainable benefit as it allows Zara to produce and sell its products at cheaper prices.


The clean integration between Zara business strategy and it is procedure strategy as illustrated in the proper matrix below caused a promotion of innovativeness by way of a mixing of its performance targets and decision areas. This aligned Zara operations with its business strategy, making sure comprehensiveness, correspondence and coherence to attain its mark in the garment industry as a world innovator today.

Zara has demonstrated that market flexibility and low fat inventories may be even more important than cheap labour, an understanding that might just reverse the and its own success is dependant on managing all the steps of developing clothes: from design to cloth to manufacturing, circulation and sales to be able to cut costs and make huge increases in swiftness and overall flexibility. In the style industry, where developments change daily, Obtaining a good strategic blend in operations is paramount to a retailer's success.

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