It should be noted that operations management includes different functions each of which is responsible for meeting particular objectives and completing multiple tasks. In terms of Zara, this level of management is liable for performing and the supervision of all operations related to the production of goods and the distribution of commodities to the company’s clients (Gong 2013). It should be stressed that this is one of the most crucial functions within the company and its successful operation is central to the company’s effective performance. The main activities of operations management include:
- leading and monitoring purchases;
- inventory and quality administration;
The aim of this management level is to ensure the feasibility and efficiency in these processes and activities. The managers are responsible for supervising the allocated resources and administering the processes, which encompass this company layer. The different functions and their relationships within Zara are reflected in Figure 1 (Van Mieghem & Allon 2015).
The performance and strategies function is responsible for managing activities that enable the company to continue expanding its market opportunities globally. It includes such significant aspects as cost, quality, speed, and other strategic factors that are important for the key stakeholder groups. Product and service design is responsible for meeting customers’ requirements regarding the goods and transforming the internal processes so as to meet the current demand. Planning and control function is liable for keeping a systematic approach towards all the activities and processes within Zara. The function forecasts the future production and plans the measures to adjust the perspective actions aimed at facilitating control over the company performance (Van Mieghem & Allon 2015). It is implemented through a skillful usage of resources, workforce, distribution channels, and technology. It enables the company to build a stronger link between the manufacturer and consumers. Inventory and material management balances the input and output processes. It is an important function due to the fact that it enables achieving maximum production at minimum cost. Supply chain management is responsible for supervising distributions while quality and project management function is liable for administering quality control and the successfulness of project implementation.
Strategy and Sustainable Performance
Regarding the four perspectives on operations strategy, the basic categories include top down, bottom up, market led, and operations led approaches. It can be assumed that the most applicable perspective in terms of Zara is the bottom-up method. Zara’s operations strategy has a vertical connection in the company’s system organization (Van Mieghem & Allon 2015). Despite the fact that the company applies these four approaches depending on the current situation, one of the strategies is leading. The company performance is outlined to meet the market requirements. In addition, it centers its operations on the operations resources. However, each of the four perspectives is emphasized to a different degree.
It should be stated that the dominance of bottom-up approach is reflected in several factors. The company has been able to enhance its innovation by employing this perspective. The company’s competitive advantage was achieved through uninterrupted innovation to be able to come up with new commodities to meet customer needs and requirements and to provide them with perceived benefits. Moreover, it did not rely on the clothing trends solely but made effective use of word-of-mouth data (Braithwaite & Christopher 2015). In particular, they manufacture the apparel that appeals to the clients. Another factor that evidences the employment of bottom-up strategy is the considerate attitude towards feedback from clients. The company’s leadership can communicate the information straight to the headquarters by delivering the obtained customer data. This way, the company has been able to remain flexible and to be consistent with sales forecasts. The product launches were performed in accordance with the customer information and outlined to meet the emerging trends in every market segment.
Moreover, the bottom-up approach was revealed in the company’s agility. The logistics, organizational structures, and systems are adapted in accordance with current business strategy and they also strive for solving specific problems (Braithwaite & Christopher 2015). It is vividly displayed in Zara’s sustainability performance. To be more precise, the company has been trying to be sustainable, and it has achieved the C-level (Braithwaite & Christopher 2015). It seeks to become environmentally-friendly and to take such measures that would ensure reduced impacts to the natural environment. For instance, Zara aims to decrease climate emissions and to use such materials that are organic and hypoallergenic. The enterprise tries to eliminate the use of harmful chemicals and to cooperate with organizations engaged in environmental protection. Moreover, it strives for improving the labor conditions for all the employees. Thus, it can be stated that the company follows the bottom-up strategy. Nevertheless, Zara has to consider other approaches to be able to retain customers, maintain the competitive edge, and secure its market share (Gong 2013). Many clothing companies employ environmentally-friendly practices to display the concern about the well-being of customers as well as nature, which is further reflected positively in the increased customer loyalty.
Braithwaite, A & Christopher, M 2015, Business operations models. Kogan Page Publishers, London.
Gong, Y 2013, Global operations strategy, Springer, New York.
Van Mieghem, J & Allon, G 2015, Operations strategy, Dynamic Ideas, Boston.