Fastflow to fashion
A Burton Group case study

Page 1: Introduction

The Burton Group is one of the largest fashion retailers in the UK, operating nearly 1,500 outlets and 92 department stores in high streets and shopping centres throughout the country. The Group reaches its customers through six main high street brands: Debenhams, the UK’s leading chain of family department stores and the fashion ‘Multiples’ store chains: Dorothy Perkins...
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Page 2: The supply chain strategy

The supply chain comprises the links involved in bringing a finished item to the end consumer and the methods of ensuring that each store has sufficient stock to offer items in every size and colour. Gaps in stock availability lead to lost sales. As a retailer, the Burton Group is not responsible for manufacturing clothing. Instead, it ‘sources’ them from outside suppliers who may have...
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Page 3: Suppliers

Between 1992 and 1996, the number of suppliers for Multiples was reduced by half to just under 700. At Debenhams there was a reduction of 20%. In the Multiples, the top 20 suppliers handle 75% of the goods and in Debenhams the top 20 have 64%. The aim has been to develop stronger relationships with quality suppliers.A standard Group Supplier Handbook, in both print and CD-ROM format, replaced...
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Page 4: Logistics

Logistics refers to managing the movement of goods within and between organisations. A key element of the Group’s success is the emphasis on logistics. The Group wanted to ensure a ‘seamless supply chain’ through the delivery process, using suppliers who were flexible, proactive and innovative, provided value added services, worked to world class standards and exceeded...
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Page 5: Driving change through information technology

One of the key ‘drivers’ for change was the development of the Group’s Integrated Supply Chain Management (ISCM) system. ISCM is the back-of-house supply chain IT system used by the Burton Group. Introducing the system involved the largest staff training programme ever undertaken by the Burton Group and this has had a major impact on all job roles within the organisation.The main...
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Page 6: Conclusion

The Fastflow case study provides a fascinating example of how an organisation can enhance its performance through improving its supply chain. The Burton Group focused on creating quality links with those suppliers who were best able to meet the requirements of a modern logistics system based on flexibility and responsiveness to consumer requirements.
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