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About this book

Process innovations - an improved way of doing things – help firms achieve higher-level performance by reducing the time and cost to produce a product or perform a service, and increasing productivity and growth. This book provides a comprehensive examination of process innovations occurring in the global fashion industry, with a focus on fashion brands from USA, Italy, and Japan. It offers practical insights for enhancing efficiency in the supply chain as well as management process such as work routines, information flow, and organization structures. Using case analyses, this book will help readers to grasp how successful fashion companies optimize their operations and advance their competitive position by integrating process innovations into their supply chain and management systems.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Process Innovation: Hidden Secret to Success and Efficiency

Process innovation is an improved way of doing things across the entire supply chain including management, to expand efficiency in terms of cost, quality, and service. While being internal and invisible to customers in nature, process innovations are intermediate outcomes that serve as a means for achieving higher-level performance, rather than as a goal. Yet, by reducing the time and cost to produce a product or perform a service, and increasing productivity and turnover growth, process innovations add value to fashion firms and serve to highlight their products. In this chapter, process innovations occurring in the global fashion industry are examined using actual examples from global fashion brands in five areas—product development, production, order fulfillment, store operations, and at the service level. Notably, information systems, digital technologies, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI) are important tools for process innovation, especially in enhancing supply chain efficiency, obtaining real-time data, optimizing deliveries, and reducing the time needed for production and service. However, process innovation should not be understood only from the perspective of information systems and technologies because it is possible to achieve without them, especially in terms of management. It is critically important for firms to clearly identify challenge areas and execute process innovation either incrementally or radically, with or without technologies, aligning with their existing systems. This chapter concludes by emphasizing the critical importance of constant process innovation for fashion firms to achieve success.
Byoungho Ellie Jin, Elena Cedrola, Naeun (Lauren) Kim

Chapter 2. Patrizia Pepe: Unconventional Innovation and Integration in Fashion Supply Chain

Tessilform is an Italian medium-sized enterprise producing clothing, footwear, bags, and accessories for young women, men, and girls under the brand Patrizia Pepe, and can be considered one of best practices for its positive financial performance, attained through a unique proactive and reactive intelligence system for approaching innovation with an obsession with details. Tessilform company is an organization permeated by creative thinking that could be defined as a thinking organization. Its dynamic hybrid business model is a flexible lean and agile integrated system. Fast and flexible capabilities infuse its entire supply chain, with a joint focus on continuous supply chain process innovation, to deliver high-quality products and customer service levels. The supply chain collaboration in trying and experimenting new solutions enables the fast adoption of new technologies together with its supply chain partners. This approach to process innovation, called collaborative experimentation, drives to a more flexible supply chain that easily reacts to change and is able to quickly respond to new trends and market challenges. Patrizia Pepe’s case study explains “unconventional” innovation as composed by three dimensions: being a thinking organization; evolving an integrated system as business model; and continuously innovating processes, including collaborative experimentation with supply chain partners. In this chapter, we review this case story and vision, supported by the leaders’ words to discover the real roots of their particular “unconventional” innovation approach that drives their success.
Paola Signori, Simone Guercini

Chapter 3. MUJI: Brand Concept Creates Process Innovation

MUJI is a Japanese chain of lifestyle retail brand stores that operates in 27 countries and regions with 821 stores, employing 16,195 staff including 9203 part-time staff. MUJI has continued to grow consolidated operating revenue for the past 14 years. Its brand value is US $1390 million according to Interbrand. As of the end of February 2017, 35.3% of its revenue comes from overseas operations. The brand concepts of MUJI are unique; “No Brand Logo,” simple design, and not “This is what I really want” but “This will do.” To realize these brand concepts, MUJI has a unique method of product development that includes the following three principles: (1) selection of materials, (2) streamlining the process, and (3) simplification of packaging. These concepts and original product development create process innovations. The simple streamlining of MUJI designs is naturally applicable to many different countries, and as a consequence these concepts are accepted in a diverse range of countries. In the context of its customers, MUJI has good methods and tools for communication. It has become an approachable and friendly lifestyle adviser brand, not just a simple one. The author examines how the MUJI brand concept succeeds in process innovations.
Akiko Masuda

Chapter 4. Arena Water Instinct: Process Innovation Built-in the Company DNA

The second largest swimwear brand in the world, Arena was founded as a spin-off of Adidas, yet was subsequently purchased and managed by numerous investment funds. Maintaining the prime foundational focus on swimwear and swim equipment, the brand has since expanded into a rapidly growing market of sportswear. Though Arena is well known all over the world as a single brand, its ownership and management is split between two companies: an investment fund, Capvis (for 108 Western countries, from Europe to Middle East, to Americas), and a Japanese group, Descente (for 24 Asian markets). The two operate independently in terms of production and distribution in their respective markets and cooperate for product innovation and sports sponsorships. Having introduced the very first racing swimsuit made with carbon fibers, Arena can be considered a true trendsetter in product innovation. In addition, it has gained considerable expertise also in process innovation when it comes to organization, production, logistics, IT management, distribution, and corporate communication. Merging innovative spirit with strategic market-driven outlook, the brand boasts cutting-edge product lines all united by the notion of “water”—the foundational element for Arena’s consumers, stakeholders, partners, and brand ambassadors (i.e., professional athletes).
Elena Cedrola, Ksenia Silchenko, Stefania Masè

Chapter 5. Trunk Club: Revolutionizing the Retail Model in Fashion

Trunk Club, a subsidiary of the Nordstrom company, began as a Chicago-based startup and is disrupting the retail fashion industry through its innovative and customer-centered retail format. The company, one of the early players in subscription-based fashion retailing, has designed its business model to empower its customers (e.g., young American executives with shrinking schedule availability, who want to dress fashionably but do not exactly know what would look good on them) to outsource their fashion needs. The company innovates the consumers’ shopping process by providing personal styling services based on their needs, size, budget, and style preferences with the help of a team of dedicated styling experts through its website or brick-and-mortar stores across the United States. In addition to incorporating machine-learning and personalized recommendation algorithms, which might be similar to its competitors, Trunk Club values building personal relationships between stylists and the customers, thus providing more a flexible and personal shopping experience to its customers.
Dipali Modi, Li Zhao


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