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

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...
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Page 2: Market position

When looking at an organisation’s competitive position, it is important to understand the opportunities that exist within a market, as well as other competitive threats. A market can be defined as: ‘a collection of individuals and organisations who are actual or potential buyers of a product or service’. The market environment in which organisations compete is usually known as...
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Page 3: Integration of the supply chain

The common objectives for Marks & Spencer and its suppliers are to: increase sales minimise stocks minimise commitment maximise flexibility. The key to doing this has been to manage, or integrate, the supply chain so that both Marks & Spencer and its suppliers are working towards the same business objectives. Communication is therefore important between all parts of the chain to ensure...
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Page 4: The buying process

Members of the buying team work with either primary suppliers who manufacture garments or secondary suppliers who provide the fabrics as part of the range building process. By working with suppliers throughout the buying process, Marks & Spencer’s contribution to the finished product is all encompassing. The buying team comprises: Selectors - work closely with Marks &...
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Page 5: Standards and quality

Green 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...
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Page 6: Conclusion

As the leading company in lingerie retailing, Marks & Spencer has set benchmarks for the whole industry to follow. Although the Company has a large market share, it faces fierce competition from other top retailers. The key element in furthering its competitive advantage has been the development of strong supplier relationships. Through management of the supply chain, Marks & Spencer has...
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