Zara: IT for fast fashion
Zara business culture
Two words summarize Zara's competitive advantage: Fast & Efficient. Zara's first CEO JosÃÂ© MarÃÂa Castellano RÃÂos established a clear business idea that represents every effort Zara's management exerts today: "Link customer demand to manufacturing, and link manufacturing with distribution." In a basic sense Mr. Castellano wanted his every critical element from Zara's Supply Chain (SC) interconnected and sharing information real time.
Decentralize decision making. Zara's management understood their market well. Their customer base were young, fashion conscious and their taste in clothing changed rapidly.
In order to satisfy their market, clothing lines needed to move from concept to shelf extremely fast before the hype for a style faded. Their average turnaround time was approximately three weeks with a 75% inventory changeover every three weeks in comparison to two months for their competitors to design and manufacture. This time frame allows Zara to respond to the fast-changing and npredictable taste of their customers faster than anyone else.
Zara was able to accomplish this expedient manufacturing through the empowerment of store managers which identify the latest trends that would sale on their stores rather than having a central head office that was
separated from their markets decide for them. Groups called "commercials" had great prudence on what clothes would be designed and produced. These teams of "commercial" consisted of two designers and two product managers, who had the autonomy to purchase materials, placed production orders, and set prices. In addition to
"commercial" teams, there was another group called store product managers, which worked closely with product teams and serve as the main interface between Zara stores
and Zara's main headquarters at La CoruÃÂ±a. This team traveled extensively and interacted with store managers and their markets to understand what kind of clothes are