BACKGROUND

The company that this case reports on is based in Greece and was founded in 1971 after the merging of two small-scale clothing production and wholesale enterprises (which were in turn founded in 1965 and 1969). Since 1985, the company has established a network of eight modern style shops around the country, which operate as its own retailers, under the company's name. In parallel, the company has 389 customers (as of July 2001), 270 of which are located in Greece and 119 abroad (most of them in Europe). Exporting activities of the company begun in 1971, from France. Currently, its products are sold in Europe, Arab countries and Far East. Strategic planning of the company aims at increasing exports by 10–15% during the next five years.

The company produces menswear clothing both at its proprietary facilities in Greece and at another manufacturer in Italy. Apart from clothes, and since 1990, the company has expanded its activities by also trading menswear accessories (also produced in Italy). Its total annual sales for the years 1997–2000 are shown in Exhibit 1, while an analysis of these sales is given in Exhibit 2. The main characteristics of all company's products are their high quality, comfort, fitness and variety of designs and colors. High quality of products has always been of major importance for the company, and it is probably the main reason of its status and share in the market. To achieve that, the production line of the company is equipped with up to date mechanical gear, while all the related processes pass through quality control. Since 1996, it is an ISO 9001 company, while, since August 2000, its shares are traded in ASE (Athens Stock Exchange).

Exhibit 1: Financial Figures (Total Sales)

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Annual Sales (in thousands of U.S. dollars)

1997

1998

1999

2000

Sales in Greece

6,335

6,947

7,198

7,324

Exports

476

521

529

570

Total Sales

6,811

7,468

7,727

7,894

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Exhibit 2: Financial Figures (Clothes and Accessories Sales)

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Annual Sales (in thousands of U.S. dollars)

1997

1998

1999

2000

Clothes

5,670

6,157

6,507

6,655

Accessories

1,141

1,311

1,220

1,239

Total Sales

6,811

7,468

7,727

7,894

end example

Since early in the last decade, much attention is paid to the continuous training of the 121 employees of the company, in order for them to obtain the necessary expertise. The above employees staff the company's Production, Sales and Marketing, Accounting, Information Systems and Distribution Divisions (see the organization chart shown in Exhibit 3). Much expertise has been recently obtained through the company's involvement in the CRAFT European project, which aimed at the development of an automated quality control system for end-products in a textile industry. The program had a three-year duration, its total budget was 939,880 ECU (the share of the company was 15.16%), while the project consortium comprised 5 textile manufacturers and 3 research institutes.

Exhibit 3: The Company's Organization Chart

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click to expand

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The company has always been considering that in order to keep its status and market share, it also has to keep an eye for developments outside its own practices and measures. Advances in information technology, shifts in consumer demand, and the increasing movements of goods across international borders (aided by the internal European market) characterize its business environment. This new reality required a fundamental reconsideration of the most effective way of delivering the right products to consumers at the right price. Non-standardized operational practices and the rigid separation of the traditional roles of manufacturer and retailer threatened to block the supply chain unnecessarily and failed to exploit the synergies that came from powerful new information technologies and planning tools.

Both demand-side and supply-side management receive much consideration in the company's overall culture, which is fully in line with the Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) movement, effectively began in Europe in the mid-nineties. This movement was characterized by the emergence of new principles of collaborative management along the supply chain. It was understood that companies could serve consumers better, faster and at a lower cost by working together with trading partners. By working together, they are able to combine capabilities on serving the consumer better, faster and at a lower cost. Admittedly, the clothing industry becomes more and more dynamic, in that competition is growing and becoming more complex, technology is rapidly developing, international and environmental issues are augmenting, and business is becoming more and more global. At the same time, consumers become increasingly sophisticated and demanding; they demand sufficient choice, high service and convenience, higher quality products and, generally speaking, more value for money.



Annals of Cases on Information Technology
SQL Tips & Techniques (Miscellaneous)
ISBN: B001KZAZTK
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 367

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