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There are two seasons, spring/summer arrive in beginning of jan/feb and fall/ winter in august /sept (reversed for southern hemisphere. Zara has 200 designers on staff and zara produces about 11 thousand styles each year-perhaps 5 times as many as a comparable retailer would typically produce. Designers often prepared sketches by hand but eventually worked on a CAD system to illustrate the design and associated specifications. The store specialists worked in the same rooms , reviewing daily detailed printouts of store sales and speaking to store managers by phone to gather informal feedback.

Patterns and samples

In some cases design were sent out to third party suppliers for them to prepare samples ( 2-3 months process) or the paper pattern then the sample garment is prepared in house. Patterns once finalized could be made available to the computers that would guide cutting tools . Based on samples . The initial collection for the season was finalized and shown within zara.

Production Sourcing and Scheduling

Where garments were third party sourced ,commitments for production are made roughly 6 months proir to the scheduled store delivery The decision to source with external suppliers to manufacture in house is based on no of considerations including, cost ,time sensivity, expertise. Inditex owned 21 Zara factories , each seperately managed Inventory in the stores at the beginning of the season tends more heavily weighted towards basic items and including the initial fashion collection, both of which were produced based on regular lead time commitments maximizing third party supplier sourcing.

In- House Manufacture

This entails two basic steps: fabric procurement, garment assembly and finishing. Inditex owned a fabric sourcing company in Barcelona (Comditel 40% procurement esp in greige goods).several textile production companies and a share in a fabric finishing company , Fibracolor. For synthetic and more fashion fabrics, Zara relied mostly on external sourcing. Zara managers had found that skilled workers were able to arrange layout in 15 to 20 minutes while computer algorithms took only a few seconds to generate , and was used to setup a benchmark. Cut pieces were then sent for sewing.

Sewing was subcontracted to a network of 400 smaller firms within Galicia and northern Portugal. Zaras subcontracted sewing worked enabled many women to work ,including on part time basis.

Zara reserved time with its sewing subcontractors but was not limited in terms of garment specifications given in advance. Delivery to Zara factory occurred many times a week.
Zara with its in house production , pattern making ,cutting capabilities and its network of sewing contractors , to go from start to finish on a style production takes as little as 10 days.

In-Season Production
Zara committed only 50-60 % of production in advance of the season, with the remainder manufactured on a rolling basis during the season. In house production helps easily in meeting market demand. We recoup our cost on the garments through markups because people will pay premium for right garment at right time. Acc to management ,analyst and press , it is the ability to respond in season that gave Zara a different risk profile from other apparel retailers.

Zara in season replenishment did not require incremental capacity to be found or much higher costs incurred at last minute; instead the close-to-sale time manufacturing permitted an ongoing reallocation of resources in the ordinary course and with minimal disruption.