Using supplier relationships to serve customers better
A Marks and Spencer case study

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Page 5: Standards and quality

Marks And Spencer 4 Image 1Green sealing the product is the term used when the product is bought and owned by Marks & Spencer. It is the standard used to authorise bulk production. To meet the stringent requirements for Marks & Spencer, products must be the very best that design, technology and manufacturing can achieve. This provides real, practical benefits for the final customer.

Specifications and standards are established which enable everybody involved with the garments to understand the requirements. Monitoring specifications, standards and quality involves working closely with suppliers, with co-operation throughout the supply chain.

  • Specifications are those aspects of a product which can be realistically measured or assessed, such as the quality of raw materials used, product dimensions and product performance.
  • A standard is a physical example agreed between a customer and a supplier. Quality refers to the individual characteristics of each product that enable it to satisfy customers. For an organisation like Marks & Spencer, quality is particularly important in providing a framework which enables Marks & Spencer products to develop a competitive advantage over rivals.

One important link in the relationship between Marks & Spencer and Courtaulds Textiles is the exchange of electronic data using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Courtaulds Textiles helped to develop the system with Marks & Spencer. The system transfers information, such as prices, images and product details, between each organisation’s computer systems.

Another key development has been the increased use of video-conferencing, which, by linking garment suppliers and raw material suppliers to Marks & Spencer, has helped to improve communication and reduce lead times.

Marks and Spencer | Using supplier relationships to serve customers better