Many clothing companies encounter difficulties in terms of monitoring consumer behaviour and managing customer demand. However, these difficulties are solved by implementing a business strategy known as fast fashion. Fast fashion is “a business model that encourages new designs in stores every few weeks instead of every fashion season.”( Okonkwo, 2009 p.229). The retail fashion industry has seen a major transformation in recent years. Fast fashion companies introduce the newest collection of clothes in accordance with their research of latest fashion trends and are manufactured rapidly and efficiently to enable consumers to benefit from the latest pieces at lower prices. This assignment discusses the concept of fast fashion by identifying the relevant characteristics and how they affect company approaches to capacity planning. It will also look at how fashion companies meet their demand and how it contributes to Zara’s success in particular.
The characteristics of fast fashion are as follows:
Relatively inexpensive – Fast fashion is inexpensive. “Retailers such as H&M and Zara sell up-to-the minute fashion at low prices”. (Slack, Chambers, Johnston, 2010) This attracts customers into the store and also allows them to see trendy styles of clothing at an affordable price before they go and new styles emerge, making it accessible to the public as H&M and Zara are high street retailers.
Styles changing frequently – There’s an ever changing development in fast fashion. “To keep their merchandise always fresh, they rely on a combination of customer data and fashion discernment – spotting trends everywhere” (Turconi, 2007, p. 8). As the market research findings arrive, designers quickly include the changes into their new piece of clothing, leading to a rapid change in styles. This is the focal point of fast fashion as the bestselling designs can be replenished quickly, reducing price markdowns and clearances in store.
Frequent deliveries - Fast fashion retailers have their clothing delivered quickly. “Recent marketing suggests that delivery time (length) and reliability consistently rank as the two most important customer – service elements.” (Jackson et al. 1986; Ballou 1998 stated in Boyaci and Ray, 2006). Frequent deliveries to stores mean a competitive advantage over its competitors. Zara conducts frequent deliveries to their stores within 3 weeks. This allows them to meet customer demand and minimize their stock.
Short lead times – Another key characteristic of fast fashion is its short lead times. For example “Zara is vertically integrated so they use cheap labour from European countries instead of developing countries. Since their warehouse is in Spain, the closeness to the market leads to shorter lead times. Garments hit shop floors within 3 weeks, blitzing industry average of 6 months.” (YouTube, 2013) It also lowers labour costs in overtime so they hire subcontractors to inspect the...