Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

Operations management: case study Marks and Spencer

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Introduction:

            This case is about the key three clothing ranges tat are currently being presented at M&S. the company itself felt a decline in sales for its core area, i.e. women clothing. For the need to get in touch with their top customers and to offer better range to them, M&S designed these three ranges. For this report we have studied the three ranges with respect to the different customer needs fulfilled by each range, the core order winners and order qualifiers of each range and the comparison of the operations performance for each range in the form of a polar diagram. We have also presented a table that outline the basic characteristics for each clothing range.

Customer Needs for the 3 Different Clothing Ranges at M&S:

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            There are three broad categories of clothing articles and accessories as defined by the store management itself at M&S. these three categories are different in the sense that they have different levels of various features attached to them. For this reason, these ranges cater to different needs of the customers. The need profile of the customer according to each range of clothing at M&S is given as follows:

The Perfect and Classic Range:

            This range includes classical and stylish clothing articles for mature customers. The products in this category are such that they focus on being oriented towards comfort, long lasting style, easy to wash, high in quality and versatile. These products are also designed and priced at very affordable rates.

            The customer needs that are satisfied by or catered to by these kinds of clothes are that the customer is mostly middle aged man or woman looking for mature clothing line. The customer wants to purchase a decent, smart clothing article that gives high quality at reasonable prices. The customer has little use of fashion, but likes the merchandise to be stylish in a mature and classical manner. Also as the merchandise includes clothes that are of the general use by the customers, so the customer requires easy availability of these articles in any size he/she desires. Lastly, the customer is looking for such merchandise that is suitable for his/her busy life style, so it should be machine washable, non-iron and tumble-dry friendly.

The Autograph Range:

            The autograph range includes clothing articles that are highly fashioned and are of top design. These articles belong to the latest fashion and the styles and likewise the clothing articles change continuously with the fashion. These products are unique in the sense that they are not mass produced and are highly customized on the preferences of the customer. These products are in low availability are very few items of particular design are developed. Also these products are prices at the highest levels and are only available at selected stores.

            The customer needs that are being identified by this clothing range are firstly the need of having the latest fashion products. These customers come to this range not to look at affordable items, but to look at the top fashion of the season. Thus they are willing to pay top price if the product suits their criteria. Also the customer doesn’t want a product that has too much availability in the market, as this destroys its uniqueness. The customers also derive individual uniqueness in these articles, and an ease in the shopping and quick availability of articles with the latest design. The customers also identify themselves with the boutique environment of the stores as to a place where top fashion is maintained. Hence the customer needs of top fashion, limited editions, top pricing and high prioritization given to the smallest of the details.

The Per Una Range:

            The per una range is designed to be in the category of fashionable, yet will be also provided at a very competitive prices. The articles are generally designed in limited editions, have individual cuts that cater to all body sizes, proper attention given to all details and short processing time from the designer table to the hands of the customer.

            The customer needs to which this clothing range caters to are initially the need for high fashion at the most affordable rates. The customers are young women that belong to the fashion-conscious part of the society, yet are those that believe in paying reasonable prices. Also this customer base caters to a mush broader market segment than the Autograph Range as that range caters only to a high income segment. The customer also needed unique product, and not those that are developed on a large scale. Also the customers require speed in the availability of products with the latest design, as well as the availability of product with all sizes of the same product.

Order Winners and Qualifiers of the 3 Clothing Ranges at M&S Stores.:

            Order winners and qualifiers are two popular management terms. Order winners are described as he factors whose increased presence in a product increases the demand among the customers for that product, while a product qualifier can be described as a factor whose presence to a certain level is required in the product to be attractive for the customer, but any addition in the factors will net lead to an increase in demand. The order winners and order qualifiers for the three ranges of clothing are as follows:

The Perfect and Classic Range:

            For the perfect and classis ranges the very first order winner is their availability in all sizes and in large quantities. As these ranges include clothes that are of general wear by the customers, so there has to be high availability for customers of various body sizes. Also as these products target the mature society of the customers, most of them include the office going people, hence these clothes also need to have a decent quality at an affordable price as their next order winner. People should be able to buy these clothes at a very reasonable rate, so that they can do so again and again. Easy to use and easily washable are the other order winners for such a range, as for the office going people, which is the target audience for this range, it is very difficult for them to take out too much time for these chores.

            The order qualifiers for these clothes include design; these clothing articles have to be reasonably designed so as to appear trendy to the customers, but too much design is not required. Quality is also a order qualifier as the customers of this range expect a decent quality but not a too high one, as they are basically going for a low priced product. Read 

Marks & Spencer market structure

The Autograph Range:

            The order winners of this range include firstly use of latest fashion; the customers for this range are above all looking for the latest fashion designs and nothing else. The second order winner will be the uniqueness of the products; for the customer this is essential as it signifies its individuality through its low availability of too many same clothes. To quality and top design are the following order winners for these clothes as the customers expect only the best and the latest designs in this range, and are willing to pay top price for them.

            The order qualifiers for this range include availability of different sizes; since there is not a huge customer base looking for this range, so the customers can be targeted to cater to a segment of specific sizes. Another order qualifier is the price; it should be higher than the industry rates to signify the premium perspective of the clothes but should not be too much bothered with.

The Per Una Range:

            The order winners for this range include firstly top design; the customers expect the range to include clothes of unique and trendy designs as well as those on which effort have been placed on every detail. The second order winner for this range is its competitive prices, as these products should not be too expensive and should cater to a wider customer base than the Autograph range. Uniqueness is another order winner for this range as the customers expect the products of this range to be different in trends from on another and also not too many common trends should be present. Lastly, availability of different SKU’s is crucial as they should provide wide variety to the customers

            The order qualifiers for this range include inclusion of latest fashion; clothes should be fashion conscious but not too much. The quality of the products is also not as important a measure and just needs to be at a certain level for customers’ approval. The key indicators for the three clothing ranges are described in the table as below:

Perfect & Classical Ranges
The Autograph Range
The Per Una Range
Product Range
High
Low
Medium
Design Changes
Low
High
High
Price
Low
High
Medium
Quality
Medium
High
Medium
Sales Volume SKU
Low(only different sizes available)
High(individual cuts available)
High(individual cuts available)
Order Winners
Availability of sizes, affordable prices, easy washable
Latest fashion, uniqueness, top quality & design
Top design, competitive prices, uniqueness & availability
Order Qualifiers
Quality, design, fashion
Availability of different sizes, price
Latest fashion, quality.
Operations Priorities
Cost cutting, availability of all sizes, large stocks
Quick response to latest fashions, top designing, limited editions, exclusivity
Short lead times, limited editions, top designing, exclusivity, cost cutting

Comparison of the different Operations Performance Objectives (Polar Diagram):

The comparison of different operations performance as given in the table above for the three different clothing ranges at M&S is given through the polar diagram as follows:

            As it is clear from the polar diagram, if we compare the operations performance of the three clothing ranges with respect to cost, the moist influence this factor has is on the perfect and classical range, as it is one range that has to give very affordable prices to the consumers. This means that the prime strategy for this range will be cost-cutting so as to remain profitable at such low prices. The next range in the cost criteria is the per una range, with its competitive prices, and lastly the Autograph range, with its no regard for pricing.

            The second criterion is speed of respond to new clothing trends and fashions. Here the Autograph range has the most consideration as it is highly fashion oriented. This is followed by the Per Una range, and lastly the Perfect and Classical range with its little regard for fashion trends.

            The third criterion of the polar diagram is quality, i.e. providing error free products. In this regard the Autograph range has the most concerns, as it provides products that are of top quality at premium pricing. The Per una range has the next highest consideration of quality, while the Perfect and Classical ranges, even though it also concerns over quality, yet the significance is lowest of this lot.

            The fourth criterion is the consideration of flexibility, i.e. the availability of customization and uniqueness in the clothes. In his regard, the Autograph range and the Per Una range have high concerns as they both need to produce highly unique products. Also there can not be too many similar clothes in this range, thus they need to be more flexible than the Perfect and Classical ranges, which has more of standardized products.

            Last is the criterion of dependability, i.e. how long can the customer use this product and how much can he/she depend on it. The Perfect and Classical ranges have the highest dependability as they are designed for the mature, office going customer. Also these are not bothered by the changes in fashion and are also wash easy dry ease and non-iron. This is followed by the Per Una range, which has lesser consideration in the sense that their products can be used for an average time as they are not entirely fashion oriented. Last is the Autograph range, which has very small use and that is only when the fashion is in line with the clothes.

(1998 Words)

Appendix

Polar Diagram for the three clothing ranges at M&S

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Collins M. (2008). Job Quality Over Quantity. Available: http://www.maintenanceworld.com/Articles/im/Job-Quality-Over-Quantity.html. Last accessed 9 May 2010.
Gallaher, R. (2009). Can maintenance and operations coexist? A radical process change story. Available: http://www.maintenanceworld.com/Articles/reliabilityplant/maintenance-operations-coexist.html. Last accessed 11 May 2010.
Monks J (1996). Schaum's Outline Of Operations Management. 2nd ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Companies. 50-195.
Morris A. (2006). The New Edge in Manufacturing. Available: http://www.managerwise.com/article.phtml?id=509. Last accessed 12 May 2010.
Vonderembse, M A (2003). Core Concepts Of Operations Management. United States: John Wiley ; Sons. 57-205.

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