Service and Operations Management

Supplying ZARA

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Happypunt, a Spanish supplier of INDITEX (owners of the ZARA brand), designs garments and later has them manufactured by a Korean subcontractor in Cambodia. The Cambodian plant operates in accordance with the strict requirements INDITEX imposes on all its suppliers. Nevertheless, while visiting the Cambodian plant, a Happypunt executive contemplates the possibility of improving the different processes.
Bibliographic citation: SABRIÀ, F. (2021). Supplying ZARA. Improving Efficiency and Quality at Happy Punt. IESE, P-1197-E.
Date: 01/11/2021
Author(s): Frederic Sabrià
Document type: Case
Department: Production, Technology and Operations Management
Languages: English
Year of the events: 2018
Geographic area: Global
Learning objective The case allows to uncover several weaknesses of the Cambodian assembly lines (quality, work unbalance, extremely short cycle times, etc.) that are operated following a standard Tayloristic philosophy. The case allows to study the assembly line (videos are available) and reflect on the managerial capabilities of the local supervisory team. This plant (that supplies ZARA and many other international retailers) has been able to adopt the quick response approach that has made INDITEX a global success and the stringent Inditex Code of Conduct for Manufacturers and Suppliers (that defines minimum standards of ethical and responsible behavior which must be met by the manufacturers and suppliers of the products commercialized by Inditex in the course of its business, all of them firmly based on the respect for Human and Labor Rights). But is that enough? Could such a plant embrace, for example, a lean approach? What should be the role of the different companies involved (Inditex, Happypunt, the Korean supplier)? Can Lean be applied in an non repetitive environment where products change every two weeks? What is the responsibility of a manager when faced with a situation where we have dignity at work (no dangerous, dirty, exhausting tasks. No bullying, no discrimination, no harassment) but we do not get dignity in work (autonomy, capacity to grow, to make decisions. Need for self-esteem. Need to help others).