Service and Operations Management

Swarovski Crystal: The Polybag Challenge

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Swarovski Crystal, the largest strategic business unit (SBU) of Swarovski Group, has to assess the feasibility changing the packaging of its products in the upstream part of its supply chain (i.e., prior to sales) to polybags instead of using the traditional dark blue gift boxes. In doing so, management has to consider not only the benefits (primarily in operations) but also the challenges (primarily in customer perception).
Bibliographic citation: Sachon, Marc; Yankovic, Natalia, "Swarovski Crystal: The Polybag Challenge: Design for Supply Chain", IESE, P-1135-E, 01/2015
Date: 27/01/2015
Author(s): Sachon, Marc; Yankovic, Natalia
Document type: Case
Editor(s): CIIL - Centro Internacional de Investigación Logística
Department: Production, Technology and Operations Management
Sector: Retailers
Languages: Spanish / English
Year of the events: 2013
Learning objective The case describes a project launched by Swarovski in 2008 (and still being assessed in certain markets in 2014). At the time, Swarovski used its dark-blue gift boxes to ship its jewelry products (rings, necklaces, etc.) from manufacturing in Asia to its global distribution hub in Triesen, Liechtenstein, and onwards to its sales outlets across Europe and globally. Students have to take the role of management and assess the viability of changing the packaging in the upstream part of the supply chain, with the aim of lowering the logistics costs. In doing so, they have to analyze the supply chain, including looking in detail at the operations in the global distribution hub. Furthermore, they have to assess the viability of the proposed new packaging format for employees at the point of sale and its potential effect on customers. The case will allow students to a) practice their skills in supply chain analysis at a practical level (e.g., the implications at the distribution center), b) develop a better understanding of the concept of "design for supply chain" and c) allow them to take a holistic rather than functional view of supply chain decisions.