Zara’s Recipe for Success: More Data, Fewer Bosses (BusinessWeek)

Zara has unique practices that may account for its success
– Unlike rivals such as Gap, H&M, and Primark, Zara has no chief designer, and there’s little discernible hierarchy. Its 350 designers are given unparalleled independence in approving products and campaigns, shipping fresh styles to stores twice a week. Guided by daily data feeds showing what’s selling and what’s stalling, the teams develop fashions for the coming weeks.
– It “pulls” ideas from consumers, rather than designing collections months in advance and “pushing” goods on shoppers with ads.
– Its supply chain which consists of a network of factories in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco that produces 60 percent of its merchandise. With production nearby, it can quickly switch gears if weather or fashion trends change, getting designs into stores in as little as two or three weeks, while rivals’ orders slowly make their way across the ocean on container ships.

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