Page 1: Introduction
To compete in today’s modern retail environment, an organisation depends more than ever on its ability to develop business opportunities as and when they arise. A key element in developing a business strategy is for decision-makers to build on the unique elements which help that organisation to do well.
Understanding and building on this capability is particularly important in ensuring that the core strengths and competencies of the organisation not only fit the business environment but also help to develop it further and faster than its competitors. This strategic capability to respond to changing conditions will help counter threats to the organisation’s development.
Marks & Spencer aims to become the world’s leading volume retailer with a global brand and global recognition. Its unique retailing formula has already enabled the company to enter a large number of markets around the world. Marks & Spencer owns no factories and does not make the goods which are sold in its stores. The core competence at the heart of this formula, which provides many advantages over competitors, is that of the supplier relationship.
All organisations have to obtain resources in order to provide goods and services. This is known as the supply chain. Marks & Spencer has a policy of buying and dealing directly with suppliers. This partnership spans the whole supply chain, including producers and raw material suppliers. It is a symbiotic relationship - the organisations work together and depend on each other for success. The strength of these relationships has provided Marks & Spencer with many advantages over its competitors. These advantages, in turn, lead to benefits for customers, such as better product quality, value, availability and constancy of supply.
This case study focuses on how this special relationship with the supply base enables Marks & Spencer to serve customers better. The lingerie market will be used as an example.