The sourcing strategies

 

  • Barrie, L. (2018) Outlook 2018- Strategies for Sourcing Success.
  • Lee, H.L. (2010) Don’t Tweak Your Supply Chain – Rethink It End to End. Harvard Business Review, October pp. 63-68
  • New, S. (2010) The Transparent Supply Chain.Harvard Business Review, October pp. 76-82
  • McCormack, N. (2017) What Goes Into Making Everlane’s Earth-Friendly $68 Pair of Jeans? Business of Fashion. 7 October. [Internet] Available from:
    <https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles

 

 

In order to remain competitive in the fashion industry that is full of various uncertainty, industry players should attach importance to their efficiency, speed and agility. Some apparel firms have adopted strategies like diversified supply chains, data, digitalisation and the smart application of artificial intelligence, which are key to their success in the market. (Barrie, 2018)

 

 

There are varieties of sourcing strategies that can be embraced by apparel firms. For instance, digitalised operations and supply chains, sustainable business practice, integrated database and diversified sourcing. According to Swoboda et al. (2009), on the sourcing side criteria, the factor “advantages of productivity/quality” like technology know-how, is significantly more important to firms that have higher international sourcing volumes. After all, it is important to keep a balance between embracing innovative technology and interpreting the vital information appropriately and act on insights.

In terms of technology strategy in sourcing, a brand can use technology to mitigate risk by analysing date up front, improve supply chain visibility and collaboration into vendor’s compliance.

(Zubashko, 2015)

References:

B. Swoboda, T. Foscht, C. Maloles III, H. S. Klein, (2009) “Exploring how garment firms choose international sourcing‐and sales‐country markets”, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 13 Issue: 3, pp.406-430

F.Y. Tam, K.L. Moon, S.F. Ng, C.L. Hui, (2007) “Production sourcing strategies and buyer‐supplier relationships: A study of the differences between small and large enterprises in the Hong Kong clothing industry”, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 11 Issue: 2, pp.297-306

Zubashko, I. (2015) Selecting the Right Sourcing Strategy to Sustain Competitive Advantage. Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/InnaZubashko/selecting-the-right-sourcing-strategy-to-sustain-competitive-advantage. (Accessed: 13 April 2015)

 

 

 

 

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How important is transparency to consumers?

Transparency is defined as ‘‘visibility and accessibility of information especially concerning business practices’’ (Merriam-Webster, 2010). Because of transparency, we can easily get to know where the brand obtained their materials, where those materials were made and how they were transferred to every store. Almost everything in the supply chain are accessible.

As Carter and Rogers (2008) defined, sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) is s strategic, transparent integration and achievement of social, environmental, and economic goals in the systemic coordination of key interorganizational processes. Singh, de los Salmones Sanchez, and del Bosque (2008) demonstrated that transparency between the business and consumers is a key point of sustainable business practices.

Today’s consumers care about their society and environment. Transparent and sustainable products are demanded as well. Lafferty and Goldsmith (1999) found that consumers were more likely to purchase products from brands who adopt transparent business practices.

As mentioned in the article of Steve New(2018). One of the advantage that transparency bring to the brand is that transparency is an important part of the marketing mix and will give producers and retailers new ways to capitalize on brand value.

Transparency in business enrich the downstream relationship with customers, they also shape what a firm expects of its upstream suppliers. Trust at both ends are established. Transparency can anticipate the risks of enterprise, so that every link in the supply chain can be monitored by the brand, and the problem can be found and solved in time.

Then, the question is how does consumer can benefit from transparency. From the perspective of consumer, through transparency, they can know whether the product they buy is certified and reliable. In the fashion world, transparent brands give customers clear information about where the materials come from, and customers can ensure that the materials and dyes they use are safe. It is even possible to know whether cotton farmers, fabric workers and garment workers are treated fairly. However, products from transparent business are more expensive than normal ones (Tran, 2007). It is no doubt that the advantages of transparency outweigh the disadvantages to consumers.

There is an interesting article published by The Guardian (LaBrecque, 2018) that analyses “How much do consumers really care about transparency”. It mentioned that the concept of transparency is becoming a sustainable concept. When talking about the meaning of transparency, it quotes what Safia Minney, founder and chief executive of sustainable fashion retailer People Tree, said “Consumers expect that their governments are setting decent standards for good business practice overseas, but sadly this is not the case.”

Consumers’ concern for transparency is limited to defending their own interests, but when transparency become a sustainable part, their importance to consumers seems to be greatly diminished, research shows that “Only 39% of UK consumers say they would ‘buy products from brands that act responsibly, even if it means spending more’. Globally the average is 54%.”

My opinion is that it is essential to provide customers with the necessary access to the information. However, such regulatory tasks should be left to the government to verify the transparency and credibility of enterprises, and to establish relevant standards and labels. It is forbidden to circulate unqualified products in the market. Everyone’s energy is too limited to focus on every item they buy. The reason why transparency is important to customers is that customers care about the safety, reliability, truthfulness of the products they buy.

Our project is helping Beats venture into the fashion world. Still, Beats is not a transparent brand, with little information about its supply chain on its website. In view of the importance of transparency to consumers, I think the information on the production of fashion products in our project should be made public, including the source of materials, the factory of processing and the mode of transportation, etc. As an electronic brand loved by young consumers, few consumers complain about brand opacity, we should reflect on whether customers really need transparency when they purchase electronic products. The above content is only my shallow thinking, this topic is worthy of further exploration.

 

 

 

 

References:

Carter, Craig R., and Dale S. Rogers.(2008)’A framework of sustainable supply chain management: moving toward new theory.’ International journal of physical distribution & logistics management 38(5), pp. 360-387.

LaBrecque, S. (2018). How much do consumers really care about transparency?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/transparency-consumers-care-livechat-roundup [Accessed 16 Apr. 2018].

Lafferty, B., & Goldsmith, R. E. (1999). Corporate credibility’s role in consumer attitudes and purchase intentions when a high versus a low credibility endorser is used in the ad. Journal of Business Research, 44, 109-116.

New, S. (2010) ‘Operations: The Transparent Supply Chain’, Harvard Business Review, 88(10), pp. 76–82.

Singh, J., de los Salmones Sanchez, M. M. G., & del Bosque, I. R. (2008). Understanding corporate social responsibility and product perceptions in consumer markets: A cross-cultural evaluation. Journal of Business Ethics, 80, 597-611

Tran, K. T. L. (2007). Green movement shines at L.A. textile shows. Women’s Wear Daily, 194, 12.

Webster, M., 2006. Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

 

 

 

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Transparency and sustainability

The four articles discuss the topics of sustainable fashion and transparency supply chain as well as efficient sourcing strategies for apparel companies.

In Lee’s article, the author takes Esquel as an example to discuss how those producers can satisfied customers demand and conduct environmentally and socially responsibility and also protect its profit margins. This article comes up with the idea of building up green supply chain by developing new technique, treating sustainability as a complete part to achieve, identifying overlapping initiatives, paying attention to supplier’s suppliers and collaborating with similar supply chain partners.

In Leonie’s article, the author gathers different point of views from fashion companies’ directors, chief executives or other professors to discuss the key factors of apparel firm to gain competitiveness in the future. Many interviewees believe that speed and agility will become more and more important. Adopting diversified sourcing model, using digital technology, remaining innovation and sustainability are the important elements to address speed and complexity.

In Steve’s article, the author discusses the transparency of supply chain. As the developing of digitalization, consumers can have easy access to know the provenance of the products. Therefore, it is suggested that companies should reveal the provenance information before consumers find out.

In Nic’s article, the author demonstrates how Everlane reduce the waste of producing denim jeans and produce environmentally-friendly jeans by collaborating with a manufacturer who also dedicated to make sustainable garments.

How important is transparency to consumers?

According to Steve (2010), not only companies and government care about the sustainable and ethical issue but also consumers are getting more interested in the provenance of products. Consumers who search for the information of suppliers and manufacturers are trying to find out whether the company is trustworthy. There is a research shows that 56% of people would become permanent loyal customers if the brand is completely transparent (Mary, 2017). Therefore, transparency is vital for the company to gain the trust from customers and thus increase the real sales.

For example, Everlane is the leader of transparency fashion brand, the website provides details about the supply chain, including factories, materials, transportation, as well as transparent pricing, giving consumers a comprehensive understanding of the products (see fig.1., fig.2.). In this way, Everlane builds up a reputation and image of ethical fashion brand so as to increase consumers’ loyalty.

Figure 1. The transparent information on Everlane website

         Sourcing: Everlane.com

 

Figure 2. Everlane’s transparent pricing

   Sourcing: Everlane.com

At the meantime, some people may hold the view that not every consumer will read every detail of the products, there is no need for the brand to demonstrate every detail to the consumers. However, people have right to know every detail. Besides, as the technology is developing, consumers can get easy access to the information. If the companies neglect to include something that other people might think is important, it would also impact companies’ credibility (Expert exchange, 2012). As Steve also mentions, show the information before customers found it.

However, it is undeniable that to achieve complete transparency, every company still need a long way to go. Besides, the authenticity of the transparency information still need companies to reassurance.

 

What do you think are the most important factors for sourcing fashion products?

The sourcing strategy including single sourcing, multi-souring, outsourcing and insourcing (Apics, 2011). It is argued that speed and agility is important for apparel firms (Leonie, 2018). From my perspectives, diversification and globalization are the most important factors for sourcing fashion products, especially for those companies that want to enter international market. As Dr Achim Berge said (Leonie, 2018), to choose souring countries strategically to balance the cost and speed, and be ready to implement dual sourcing strategies is the vital for fashion companies. Fast fashion firms are the good example to adopt globalize and diversified sourcing strategy to address speed and agility. For instances, H&M has approximately 750 suppliers that from all over the world, allowing H&M to place the orders from different countries in a good price and quick production time. Zara has diversified supply chain. Apart from in-house sourcing and manufacturing, it outsources the products to external suppliers (Simone and Andrea, 2004).

While it should be noted that globalize and diversified sourcing will increase the pressure and challenge to ensure all the suppliers meet company’s standard. And many fast fashion firms only care about the quantity of the products instead of the quality. Therefore, companies should carefully select the suppliers when they want to outsource the products, and also should balance the speed and quality of the products.

 

How important is the combination of sustainability and price?

In some way, sustainable fashion is against fast fashion. Fast fashion focus on fast manufacture and low cost to provide cheap and fashionable garments to consumers. While the price of sustainable products generally higher than conventional products.

Therefore, although consumers praise sustainable fashion, but not all of them are likely to pay premium price of the products, which may suffer competitive disadvantage in the market.

The reason why sustainable products are expensive is understandable. On the one hand, those organic crops need to follow the strict guidelines to be certified organic and environmentally-friendly. On the other hand, against of mass production, most of the sustainable products are small scale which will cost more money on made-to-order fabric (Dale, 2017). Therefore, in order to balance sustainability and price, companies should take effective efforts.

One way is to make the products transparently. As discuss above, transparency is the key factor for consumer to trust the brand. There is a research shows that consumers would not purchase a sustainable product if the retailer don’t mention the transparency about the ethical credentials (Vivian, 2016). Once the product is transparent, consumers will know the value of the price and thus can be more willing to purchase.

Another way is to reduce the manufacturing price. Coordinating with adjacent operations and developing new technology are good ways to reduce the cost. For example, Esquel develop a new technique which decreased the waste discard and save more than 1 million RMB (Lee, 2010), while Everlane cooperate with sustainable manufacturer and cut down the cost and provide affordable jeans to consumers.

All in all, companies should try hard to make sustainability accessible for consumers so that sustainability can be accepted and adopted widely.

Reference

Apics (2010) Sourcing Strategy. Available at: http://www.apics.org/ (Accessed by 7 April)

Christine, B. (2017) How Clothing Brands Are Embracing Transparency to Meet the Growing Demand for Sustainable Apparel. Available at: http://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/consumers-care-about-sustainable-ethically-made-apparel-and-these-brands-are-providing-it/ (Accessed by 5 April)

Dale, C. (2017) What Is Sustainable Fashion & Why Is It So Expensive? Here’s What Experts Have To Say. Available at: https://www.bustle.com/p/what-is-sustainable-fashion-why-is-it-so-expensive-heres-what-experts-have-to-say-79636 (Accessed by 5 April)

Experts Exchange (2012). Transparency in Business: Why It Matters. Available at:

https://blog.experts-exchange.com/ee-blog/transparency-in-business-why-it-matters/ (Accessed by 7 April)

Julio, L. and Raffaella, C. (2006) Global Sourcing and Procurement Strategy: A Model of Interrelated Decisions. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230580603_Global_Sourcing_And_Procurement_Strategy_A_Model_of_Interrelated_Decisions (Accessed by 7 April)

Mary, B. (2017) Why Brand Transparency Should be Your #1 Marketing Priorit Available at: http://www.successagency.com/growth/2017/12/19/brand-transparency-marketing-priority/ (Accessed by 5 April)

Simone, G. and Andrea, R. (2004) ‘Sourcing Strategies in Clothing Retail Firms: Product Complexity Versus Overseas Supply Chain’. Journal of Customer Behaviour. 3(3):305-334

Vivian, H. (2016) Consumers praise sustainable fashion, but unwilling to pay premium price tag. Available at: https://fashionunited.uk/news/fashion/consumers-praise-sustainable-fashion-but-unwilling-to-pay-premium-price-tag/2016091421768 (Accessed by 5 April)

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Fabric Shop Culture Comeback

New (2010) argues that how now customers want to know more about where do their clothes come from, who made them, the quality if the garment, environmental impacts and so on…

This just reminds me of a time in my country, Cyprus, not so long ago. Cyprus is a small island and it has been ruled by Britain for almost 90 years till 1961. The reason why I am telling this is to make you understand the culture and the lifestyle back then. My grandparents opened their fabric shops in Cyprus around 1960s and I have been listening to their stories they have been telling me about the past. During those years, there was not many retailers around who were selling ready-to-wear clothes and therefore people had to go to fabric shops and tailors. If a Cypriot wanted new clothes, he/she would first visit a fabric shop to buy fabric and then take it to a tailor. My grandmother and mother tell me, people used to question them about the fabric’s origin, quality and the type. These people were usually Turkish people from Turkey. They wanted fabric which were produced in Europe because of their quality. To satisfy their customers, my grandparents visited UK every single year for several months to buy fabric from several suppliers and bring back to Cyprus during the peak time of tailoring, which dates before 1990. After 1990, ready-to-wear and fast fashion brands from Turkey opened their stores in the Northern part of Cyprus and European brands in Southern side. As the process of buying clothes got faster, people lost their interest on the provenance and quality of the garment since they were mesmerized with the new fast-pace system.

As time passed and costumers got used to this system, they started to question again. Customers are aware that they are running force in this industry and they have the power to get what they really want. This is like a trend coming back from past.

New (2010) states that in today’s market a product need to be able to transparent about where it is coming from and this should include more than first tier information.  He also suggests that companies can benefit from how they product do in the hands of their end users (New,2010). As we are working on a tech fashion range, I believe we need to be able to provide provenance data to our customers by using advanced technology. Even if not really advanced we can use 2D barcodes (QR Code) which provides information when scanned. There is not any information about Beat’s manufacturers on their website, however if you purchase a Beats product you can register it online to get product updates. We can certainly add more information about our manufacturers for the fashion range.

This process above is like at the end of production stage. On the other hand, there is another important aspect which we need to pay attention, manufacturers/suppliers. McCormack, N. (2017)’s story on jean production in China and finding the right manufacturer has called my attention to have enough time left for searching the right manufacturer. It is really fascinating to see jeans can be produced with only 0.4 liters of water lost via evaporation where as traditional method requires up to 1,500 liters. (For more information on this please visit: https://www.everlane.com/denim-factory ) A detailed research must be carried out in order to find the right manufacturing technique and the manufacturer.

 

References

New, S. (2010) The Transparent Supply Chain. Harvard Business Review, October pp. 76-82

McCormack, N. (2017) What Goes Into Making Everlane’s Earth-Friendly $68 Pair of Jeans? Business of Fashion. 7 October. [Internet] Available from:
https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/news-analysis/what-goes-into-making-everlanes-earth-friendly-68-pair-of-jeans

Everlane(2018) The world’s cleanest denim factory. Available at: https://www.everlane.com/denim-factory  (Accessed: 25 March 2018)

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Design innovation in the fashion industry.

  • Mocker, M. and Ross, J.W. (2017) The Problem with Product Proliferation. Harvard Business Review, May-June pp. 105-110

 

The first article interprets the problems and difficulties for customers and employees when product’s excessive innovation causes business complexity. In consequence, the innovation does more harm than good to the brand. There are three principles to avoid this problem, which are “focus on product integration, not variety”, “make sure innovators work closely with operational employees” and “innovate for a purpose”(Mocker and Rose, 2017, pp. 105-110).

 

The same is true to fashion. Fashion industry does need responsible innovation, rather than too much innovation.

 

As Mocker and rose’s advice saying, “commit to a vision to direct innovation” (2017, p. 109) is one of the key to successful innovation. An example of this principle in fashion is given below:

Jiang Qiong’er (chief executive, creative director and part owner of Shang Xia – the luxury lifestyle brand she developed in collaboration with Hermès) said, “the best protection for the preservation of craftsmanship is innovation.” A clear mission inspired her and enabled her to innovate the traditional materials for a purpose, which was to interpret preservation through contemporary design and innovation. (Mellery-Pratt, 2015)

 

What does “too much innovation” mean? According to Mocker and Rose(2017), it refers to the innovations that generate little value and even add complexity to the company’s business. While in the fashion industry, “too much innovation” can be lack of consideration in cultural appropriation, short of supporting systems, or unable to control its environmental cost and so on. Additionally, Simmel argues that the lack of practical use is part of the definition of fashion, as “Fashion satisfies the need of differentiation because fashion differ for different classes – the fashion of the upper stratum of society are never identical with those of the lower…” (Simmel, 1957, p. 543) Thus, excessive innovation will happen when it appears to a wrong target groups. For example, in the context of sustainability, proper innovations should consider about respecting the cultural and environment, managing ethics and protecting workers’ rights and welfare (Amed, 2016).

 

Other than that, “Technology and fashion is a perfect match.” (Quinn, 2012, p.12) They are closely connected and interact with each other in many aspects. More recently it is thought that some changes have been brought to the fashion design field by the scientific and technological innovation. And more designers start to view digital techniques as an aid that works parallel with some conventional methods of making. On one level, it is possible to see that these technologies enable the designers to produce new works that were previously impracticable, extremely difficult or basically unable to produce by hands with traditional approaches and materials.

Another example given is the Iranian designer Behnaz Farahi’s “Caress of The Gaze” collection (see figure. 1), which contains a 3-D printed garment that can be driven by eyes. What if our garments can recognize other people’s gaze and respond to that? She tried to give her answer through the “Caress of The Gaze”, as it is able to detect the gaze, and respond in the form of waving movement like breathing. To achieve this, she has put many tiny cameras in the 3D-print garment to make it work accurately. By using the image perception and microcontroller technology. The garment can even detect others’ age, gender, and position (see figure. 2).

Figure.1

Figure. 2

http://behnazfarahi.com/caress-of-the-gaze/

“Things make people just as much as people make things.” (Miller, 2010, p.135) The garment and the wearer interact with each other – the gaze influences the textiles, at the same time, the movement of textiles can affect the wearer’s or the observer’s mood in return. It is more like a breathing second-layer skin. (Farahi, 2015)

It is true to argue that too much innovation can be the deficiencies in the fashion industry, especially in the production procedure and material performance. But new digital technologies are still a potential development direction in the field of customized fashion and intimately related to people’s body and emotions.

This is closely related to our MFP project which is about ‘Technology meets Fashion’. We should also consider well about how to properly develpe the chosen tech brand into fashion world in the aspects mentioned above.

 

 

Videos about Iris Van Herpen’s innovative designs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs5FiuE1Yp4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUA6xupLcnllH1Tb3IteYcKw&v=iNpbLRrdJxQ

http://www.philipbeesleyarchitect.com/projects/Iris_van_Herpen_Lucid/

 

References:

Amed,I.(2016) https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/right-brain-left-brain/sustainability-is-out-responsible-innovation-is-in-copenhagen-fashion-summit-environment-nike-patagonia (Accessed: 24 February 2018)

Farahi, B. (2015) Caress of the Gaze. Available at: http://behnazfarahi.com/caress-of-the-gaze/ (Accessed: 17 February 2018).

Mellery-Pratt, R. (2015) https://www.businessoffashion.com/community/voices/discussions/how-can-traditional-craftsmanship-survive-in-the-modern-world/shang-xia-%EF%BF%BCpreservation-innovation (Accessed: 24 February 2018)

Miller, D. (2010) Stuff. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Quinn, B. (2012). Fashion Futures. 1st (ed). London: Merrell.

Simmel, G. (1957) ‘Fashion’, American Journal of Sociology, 62(6), pp. 541-558

 

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What process should consumers play in the New Product Development process?

Jennifer M. and Anthony K. (2016) ‘Co-creation and the development of SME designer fashion enterprises’, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management,  20 (3), 322-338

 

This journal article investigates the concept of co-creation for the internationalization of small and medium enterprise (SME) designer brands. The qualitative research methodology was conducted by interviewing 38 participants from designer fashion enterprises (DFEs). The findings highlighting that co-creation is a process of presenting the ideas, interpreting experiences and reacting to learning that can help the brand to make product development and build up brand identity.

There is no doubt that nowadays consumers play an important role in product development. They are willing to provide ideas for products or services of the brands that can help brands to better understand customers’ need (Hoyer, 2010). O’Hern and Rindfleisch (2009) defined consumer co-creation as ‘‘a collaborative new product development (NPD) activity in which consumers actively contribute and select various elements of a new product offering’’ (2009). According to Hoyer (2010), the different stages of co-creation process including ideation, product development, commercialization, and post-launch. Merz et al. argued that consumers should involve in every stage of product development (Merz et al., 2009; Ind and Coates, 2013). While authors hold the view that access to consumer information is quite hard to those DFEs which are in early stage. Besides, the authors also mention that apart from consumers, stakeholders, buyers, editors are also vital to the co-creation process.

On one hand, too much reliance on the feedback of end users may ignore the business system of the brand (Frow and Payne, 2011). Besides, different feedbacks and expectation from varies sources may conflict to brand identity and core value. In terms of SME fashion brands, if the brands are consumer-lead, the brands may fail to achieve uniqueness and differentiation in the fashion industry.

On the other hand, consumers co-creation also has many advantages. For instances, Kristensson et al. (2004) found out that consumers can generate more valuable and innovative ideas in new product development than professional developers, while professional developers come up with simple and reliable ideas. In addition, consumer orientation has a positive influence on new product development (NPD), and it increased with the degree of product innovativeness (Salomo et al., 2003). The positive consumers co-creation can increase the efficiency of product productivity, reduce the risk of product failure and save the cost. (Hoyer, 2010)

From my perspectives, the benefit of consumer co-creation is overweighed than disadvantages. Consumers are vital in the process of NPD. The degree of consumer involvement in NPD needs to depend on the ability and extent of the firms to conduct consumer co-creation. While brand developers need to distinguish useful information from all the feedback by making wise decisions in NPD.

Such theory can be applied to our project of Beats fashion tech innovation. Consumer co-creation is an effective tool to measure the development of products. In this project, we plan to conduct a questionnaire at the beginning of market research, in order to understand the preference and interest of consumers toward music fashion-tech products. In this way, we can take the views of consumers into consideration so that can design the products that meet consumers’ need. After designing the collection, gathering the feedback also can help the brand to measure the products and make further development.

In addition, I have read another article that adopted Hoyer’s framework (see figure 1) that focuses on the degree of consumer co-creation in new product development (NPD) which is worth reading.

Figure 1. Conceptual framework of consumer Co-creation (Hoyer, 2010)

 

 

 

References:

Frow, P. and Payne, A. (2011) ‘A stakeholder perspective of the value proposition concept’, European Journal of Marketing, 45 (1/2) 223-240.

Hoyer, W. et al. (2010) ‘Consumer Co-creation in New Product Development’, Journal of Service Research, 13 (3), 283-296.

Jennifer R. et al. (2007) ‘Customer community and co‐creation: a case study’, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 25 (2), 136-146,

Kristensson, P. et al. (2004), ‘Harnessing the creative potential among users’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 21, 4-14.

Merz, M. (2009) ‘The evolving brand logic: a service-dominant logic perspective’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31 (3), 328-344.

O’Hern, M. and Aric R. (2009) ‘Customer Co-Creation: A Typology and Research Agenda’, Review of Marketing Research, 6, 84-106.

Salomo, S. et al. (2003) ‘Customer orientation in innovation projects and new product development success – the moderating effect of product innovativeness’, International Journal of Technology Management, 26( 5/6), 442-63

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Consumer is everything! ——in which processes of NPD that Co-creation can be effectively used

The given article talks about the co-creation between DFEs with stakeholders, buyers, editors and consumers etc. , giving out the definition of co-creation and DFE. The purpose of this paper is to examine the co-creation of small and medium enterprise (SME) designer fashion brands during internationalisation. Through the 38 semi-structured in-depth interviews with designer fashion enterprises, the conclusion is that brand development should pay attention to the negotiation with fashion industry. In addition, successful brand should accept those feedbacks reflects its vision instead of those feedbacks beyond its scope.

However, this article does not take the consumer as the main object of co-creation to analyse, and does not cover all processes of new product development. It talks more about the impact of co-creation on the brand identity. As a result, this article only can be seen an introduction of the further discussion of which process should consumers play in the NPD process.

I did some further reading to explore the topic. For the reader to better understand the process of NPD that can be co-created, the definition of co-creation was given below.

“Co-creation is related to service-dominant logic, which provides a theoretical approach for consumer-centric marketing. Service-dominant logic is now considered a continuous learning process in which the firm develops core competences, identifies potential consumers, cultivates relationships through customised value propositions and interprets marketplace feedback” (Vargo and Lusch, 2004; Tynan et al., 2010).

 

  Fig.1 Co-creation Forms

Source: Frow (2011)

Frow et al.(2011) developed a final typology of co-creation consisting of 12 forms of co-creation (i.e. co-conception of ideas, co-design, co-production, co-promotion, co-pricing, co-distribution, co-consumption, co-maintenance, co-outsourcing, co-disposal, co-experience, and co-meaning creation) (see Figure 1). From the model, almost all the processes of NPD can be co-created. Hoyer (2010) also discussed co-creation at different stages of the NPD process: ideation, product development, commercialization, and post launch.

In the given article in the reading pack, a vital disadvantage of co-creation is that some participants considered co-creation might weaken the brand identity. Relying too heavily on feedback may create a situation in which the DFE experiences a loss of direction as well (Millspaugh and Kent 2016).

As we all know, co-creation can also bring a brand great advantages. A high degree of consumer co-creation at the ideation (i.e., idea generation) and product concept development stage can make great contribution to new product and firm performance (Gruner and Homburg 2000). Some firm even use focus groups and lead users to develop and narrow down the product concept. Previous research has shown that an innovative starting is vital for the success of NPD projects (Cooper 1993).  Consumer can improve the existing offerings of a brand by providing good ideas to fulfil the unmet needs of themselves. (Ernst, Hoyer, Krafft, and Soll 2010). In addition, involving consumers in the NPD process can improve product quality, reduce risk, and increase market acceptance (Business Wire 2001). From my point of view, co-creation is not a bad thing, reacting an unreasonable feedback is a bad thing. As result, gaining the insight of the right target consumer is vital and accepting the feedback from wrong consumers will lead to business failure.

According the design think method we learned before, the design thinking with seven stages can also be considered as a NPD method. As a consumer-centric method, the most important thing is to identify the consumer’s real need and the primary cause of the problem. Regarding to the project of Beats that we will work on, the ideal situation is every stages of our project will be co-created as long as we define the right target consumer and the right problem.

In my opinion, the whole fashion industry is about consumer, if we can consider it as co-creation, than the each stages of NPD is co-created. Brands should use a more careful and in-depth approach to understand the real needs of consumer. Generally, consumers are not able to tell what their real needs are. Therefore, those brands use intelligent means to accurately express the true needs of consumers become successful.

 

References:

Cooper, R.G. (1990) Stage-gate systems: a new tool for managing new products. Business horizons33(3), pp.44-54.

Cooper, R.G. (1993) Winning at new products.

Ernst, H., Hoyer, W.D., Krafft, M. and Soll, J.H. (2010) Consumer idea generation. Workingpaper, WHU, Vallendar.

Frow, P., Payne, A. and Storbacka, K. (2011) November. Co-creation: a typology and conceptual framework. In Proceedings of ANZMAC (pp. 1-6).

Gruner, K.E. and Homburg, C. (2000) Does customer interaction enhance new product success?. Journal of business research, 49(1), pp.1-14.

Millspaugh, J. and Kent, A. (2016) Co-creation and the development of SME designer fashion enterprises. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management20(3), pp.322-338.

Hoyer, W.D., Chandy, R., Dorotic, M., Krafft, M. and Singh, S.S. (2010) Consumer cocreation in new product development. Journal of service research, 13(3), pp.283-296.

Vargo, S.L. and Lusch, R.F. (2004) Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of marketing, 68(1), pp.1-17.

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Innovation Not enough for industry but too much for our project

Is too much innovation a bad thing in the fashion industry?

Mocker and Ross (2017) focus on the variety of products as innovation in their article. They use examples of known brands such as Phillips and Lego. Their argument is strong and supported by numbers and provides ways to solve the outlined problems. They argue that too much innovation would bring problem to the company and a company needs to focus on their vision to be able to successful (Mocker and Ross, 2017).

However, for the fashion industry, their arguments might not be relevant. Variety of the products or services of the industry is not a problem now, but the way in which the products are manufactured, reused, recycled is a problem. Fashion industry still needs to be developed and renovated in many ways to be able to not to harm the nature and human well-being by the processes of industry. Therefore, innovation is needed to be able to find new ways to produce garments, source raw materials, recycling techniques, etc. In order to innovate something that would change the fashion industry in a good way, the actual aim of the industry must be considered, the vision of the industry.  But is there a vision which considers ethics and sustainability issues? Fashion industry is currently strong in their marketing, trend forecasting but there needs to be ways found and applied to the industry to make it less harm on the nature from now on and maybe somehow improve the harm industry has done to the nature.

On the other hand, for the MFP project that me and my team would be working on this paper would be relevant. We are going to create a fashion range of wearable technology for the tech brand Beats by Dre- which is famous for their headphones. Our line should especially in be in line and carry core message of Beats. Therefore, we would not want to create pieces which would confuse the user with the technology embedded. We want to create pieces which would be easily worn and used by the existing Beats consumers. In this case, too much innovation may confuse the consumers and lead to failure of range. It has been suggested by Mocker and Ross that “Mission statements clarify the types of innovation that are not desirable and help establish priorities.” (2017:109). Therefore, we must follow the vision of beats and innovate new products/create a range accordingly.

 

Also, I have came across this framework and wanted to share with you so we can use this for our project. It is quite similar with the framework we have learned on DT module.

Picture taken from The Vision Blog 

 

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