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Flexibility in Supply Chain. A case study of ICA AB (Non-Food/Clothing) and sub-case of ZARA
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Centre of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Centre of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Problem – The essential problem being analyzed in the research paper is the methods of improving supply chain flexibility under certain circumstances and constrains that are imposed on the company.

Purpose - The paper aims at providing suggestions on improvement of supply chain flexibility for ICA AB (Clothing) based on comparative analysis on sub-case study of ZARA. The major part of analysis is based on investigation of the relationship between supply chain characteristics and firm performance of both companies that is crucial for finding out areas for improvements for ICA supply chain.

Design, Methodology and Approach – The research is based on qualitative analytical approach using two basic case studies on Northern Europe’s leading retailer ICA AB and the largest international fashion retailers ZARA. The main idea of comparing these two retailers is that they have different supply chains in terms of its set up, responsiveness, postponement and level of flexibility. The main method of the research is comparative analysis of two supply chains based on literature review, personal interviews with companies’ representatives (Director of Logistics and Supply Chain Department, Supply Chain Manager – Operating and Category Manager Non-Food) and provided internal materials of the company.

Frame of references – Based on various sources of literature concerning supply chain flexibility, enablers for flexibility management in global supply chain, value chain flexibility, manufacturing flexibility, comparison between flexibility and adaptability in supply chain and flexibility as a determinant of supplier selection. We, as researches, also included in the analysis how flexibility relates to company’s performance in the supply chain context.

Research questions and Limitations – In order to solve the problem in the research there are certain questions to be answered and supported in empirical study. The first question is how the supply chain looks like for the same products (textile products) in two different companies in terms of its flexibility. The second question is connected to enablers of the supply chain flexibility improvement in specific business environment, namely retailing, after comparative analysis of the aforementioned supply chains. The research provides limited number of suggestions in certain supply chain aspects for ICA AB. As concrete case studies were analyzed, wider and broader range of solutions of increasing supply chain flexibility could not be provided. It is necessary to take into account the fact that the focus company has its own position in the market, strategy, mission, financial strength and available resources.

Conclusion - The research paper includes the analytical review of theoretical base on supply chain flexibility and focuses on further understanding of it in textile industry. The paper provides suggestions on improvement of supply chain flexibility for fundamental case study of ICA AB (Clothing). These suggestions are given for improving the flexibility of supply chain in four areas after conducting the comparative analysis based on Model of Supply Chain characteristics and Firm Performance. The analysis was grounded on model modified by authors. While conducting the analysis the authors realized the necessity of dividing Firm Performance into two main types, such as Financial Performance and Non-Financial Performance. This can be considered as authors’ academic contribution and also has its practical implications. The comparative analysis was grounded on the main case of ICA AB and sub-case study of ZARA. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 72 p.
Keyword [en]
Supply Chain Flexibility, Uncertainty, Supply Chain Characteristics, Firm Performance, Textile Industry, Fast Fashion, ICA AB, ZARA.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-18245OAI: diva2:530577
Subject / course
IHH, Business Administration
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2012-07-06 Created: 2012-06-04 Last updated: 2012-07-06Bibliographically approved

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