ZARA, H&M, BENETTON CASE STUDY: Supplying fast fashion
High-street Design Labels
Notable here is that all three companies do the majority of their own design. In fact, Benetton and Zara do virtually all of their own design in-house, while H&M is using 'guest designers', but mainly to exploit the reputation of these designers.
It is worth noting that for all the stages in the supply chain, it is design that these companies are the most reluctant to outsource. This is because that in an industry concerned with fashion, an aesthetic value, the design stage is the operation that contributes the most to the market image of the company. Of the main process objectives for the design part of the supply chain, speed is very important, as is quality (in terms of fitness for purpose). Similarly, where distinctive seasons are still used (more so at Benetton, less so at Zara) dependability, that is having designs finished in time for the clothes to be put through the supply chain and reach the stores in time for the season, is also relatively important.
Flexibility is also an issue. It is important to draw the distinction between flexibility and agility. The concept of agility (being flexible, fast and responsive) may be a better way of thinking about fast fashion. The issue of cost is also important here. It is not about the cost of the finished garment (this is important but part of quality as 'fit for purpose') but the cost of producing the designs. While this cannot be allowed to get out of control, each company seem to understand the importance of not under resourcing the design process.
Suppliers and manufacturing