What can Zara teach your B/OSS?

Inditex (the owner of the Zara fashion brand) has weathered the global economic downturn better than rivals like H&M as its “fast fashion” model has allowed it to be more responsive to changing consumer demand, while its focus on the latest trends has made it less vulnerable to the rise of discounters like Primark.”
Thomson Reuter.

Zara’s fast fashion business model has been a huge success story, built on speed to market (smaller shipments, rapid turnover of collections / stock), a focus on momentum of sales and quickly adapting to these changing market forces (increasing stock on fast-selling items and rapid exits of less popular ones) .

The analogy for B/OSS, particularly retail service providers (RSPs) is to:

  • Delivery smaller, simpler, more manageable service roll-outs (ie the pursuit of increasing speed to market by any means)
  • Deliver more rapid changes to services or service bundle options
  • Watch closely for trends in momentum of customer take-up of those services
  • Quickly shut down the services that don’t sell
  • Remaining at the leading edge of trends provides a buffer from commoditisation

I’m not sure that all of these parallels would work so well for B/OSS that are already bogged down by a legacy of service change. However, they need to find a pathway to increased flexibility in their service management layer nonetheless.

The trick lies in the ability to maintain simplicity whilst also increasing service change.

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