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Zara’s Product Management Lessons for Australian Retailers

Sustainable management process

Australian fashion retailers can take advantage of the sustainable “product management process” and product development to improve their business. Fashion design and garment development are subject to seasonal changes in the market, which correspond to customer needs. Australian fashion retailers should therefore strive to match their product supply with market demand in terms of style and quality. It is, therefore, necessary for Australian fashion retailers to update their tools for collecting information about consumer trends and fashion styles. Information and communication technology tools are instrumental for effective product development strategies. Managers, sales teams and designers need to update their garment development systems and fashion retailing by adapting to useful information about customer trends. Information collected should be stored in elaborate databases where designers and managers can constantly update their skills and techniques in fashion design appropriately.

Garment design should be consistent with the needs of the market. Instead of developing huge volumes of textiles which are then advertised to the public, Australian fashion retailers should develop styles depending on the expectations of the market. Based on data collected from the market, specific fashion styles should be developed seasonally in volumes that match market demands. Real-time information from the sales team in the market conveyed to the central management is necessary for product management interventions. This information can assist retailers in determining the most effective design systems which are both economical and fashionable. Product development should be based on relevant information which can facilitate the creation of new garment lines as well as direct modification of existing ones. Pricing and economic analysis of various brands can only be done based on real-time data by commercial teams and surveys conducted by the companies. Niche markets can be created and established through continuous updating of the database for manufacturing and designing of fashion styles.

Standardization of manufacturing instructions

Fabric specifications, product designs and physical inventory of available stocks of garments should be done periodically in order to ensure that fashions are developed with the right materials and manufacturing requirements. Manufacturing instructions should be simplified enough to guarantee the effective production of garments—instructions guide workers on issues such as fabric and trim specifications as well as design specifications. Materials should be available within the premises of an organization in order to promote effective garment manufacturing without waste of precious time.

Distribution management

Distribution of manufactured garments should be swift. Unnecessary delays should be avoided along with transit by possessing an established distribution system with a reliable supply of trucks and communication tools. Transport lapses should be minimized by completing orders in time using available transport facilities and communication networks. Communication systems are designed to network clients is essential in ensuring that loyal customers are preserved. Transport and communication facilitate effective transportation of materials to manufacturing companies. In addition, manufactured garments are also transported to markets without unnecessary delay.

Reducing Risks

The expensive advertising and marketing costs should be minimized by identifying niche markets for promotional campaigns. Much of the sales revenue is being used for advertising and promotional interventions, which leads to reduced profit margins. There is a need for a shift from dependence on conventional marketing systems. Marketing strategies should seek to get in touch with individual customers in order to determine their tastes and preferences. Fashion design should therefore be consistent with customer trends and expectations of customers. Discounted products should be minimized while quality brands should be promoted. Discounts arise from circumstances where products do not sell sufficiently in the market, leading to a reduction of garment prices in order to dispose of clothing that is no longer in fashion. Zara ensures that fashion designs are developed in accordance with seasonal changes. Large volumes of fashion garments are designed for niche markets.

Since products are designed to meet customers’ needs, sales are high. As another season of fashion sets in, customers are treated to lucrative discounts, which ensure there are substantial wastes. Garment design and manufacturing is equivalent to the retail of perishable groceries. If clothing is not effectively sold during the “high season”, fashion design companies incur heavy financial losses. It is therefore important that fashion retailers design their products in proportion with the requirements of customers. The current practice is such that Australian fashion designers and retailers speculate on forecasting trends in the market, after which they develop large quantities of clothing. This leads to the accumulation of garments that may not meet customer expectations. They also take long before shifting from one fashion design to another. Essentially, forecasting facilitates effective manufacturing of quality garments but does not accurately lead to projected sales volumes. Accurate forecasting is, therefore, the best practice as applied by Zara Company.

Ownership and control of production

Zara is capable of leading the market because of closely-controlled production facilities with tremendous flexibility in manufacturing processes. Counter-intuitive business strategies are instrumental for the competitive advantage possessed by Zara over its rivals. Manufacturing processes are centrally-located and managed in order to promote efficiency in production. Cost-efficient production processes facilitate the design of quality garments that are appropriately compensated, leading to increased profit margins. Labour-intensive production processes should be replaced with cost-cutting measures which promote the efficiency of manufacturing clothing. Coordination of the various units of production should be enhanced from sales, management, supervision and production departments. The entire manufacturing process should conform to established standards and procedures. Management processes should measure to the international standards of the global market. Production processes should adhere to stipulated procedures and standards which promote the quality and efficiency of the manufacturing processes.


The number of employees employed in the various production plants should be properly trained in order to equip them with the necessary skills and techniques for manufacturing the highest quality garments. Manufacturing processes should be clear and concise in order to facilitate swift garment production. Zara makes use of an informal labour economy that is properly compensated for its tasks. Australian fashion retailers should also ensure that labour costs are substantially reduced. Essentially, Zara employs mothers, grandmothers and young girls to work in their production units. This informal labour actually works on finishing and packaging fashion clothing. Since the informal labour is semi-skilled, further training on the simple application of manufacturing procedures enables efficient production to take place. Zara minimizes marketing and labour costs by utilizing locally available manpower and distribution channels. A semi-skilled workforce is locally available and efficient. This also serves to enhance corporate social responsibility for fashion companies keen to retain loyal customers.

Information and communication technology

Information and communication tools should be utilized to ensure that information is enhanced and disseminated with accuracy and speed. The internet is a useful tool for the proper utilization of information and data regarding various matters in the fashion industry. Most people spend significant time on the internet on social interaction sites. Fashion retailers can therefore strengthen their commercial teams by equipping them with tools in information technology ad the internet. Zara’s commercial team is appropriately equipped with communication networks that enable them to carry out extensive market research in the field as well as convey sufficient data back to the head for further decision making. Swift decision-making systems are structured on elaborate information networks. Market research can be done by collecting real-time data on prospective designs and fashion expectations in various markets.

The effective performance management process

Performance management is a systematic process of evaluating employee productivity and performance by managers in order to determine the extent to which the vision and mission of an organization have been achieved. Several components are designed by managers to ensure that employees; actions do not contradict established organizational goals. These components include;

Planning tasks and setting expectations

Strategic planning is part and parcel of effective organizations. Planning enables tasks and processes to be carried out in a systematic manner. The efforts of individuals and teams within organizations are therefore directed towards business goals through effective planning. As such, it is important that employees are integrated into the planning process in order to ensure successful implementation of the purposes of a company that has employed them.

Continuously conducting employee monitoring

The actions and behaviours of employees are continuously monitored by managers of an organization. Employee monitoring enables managers to judge employees’ performance on assigned tasks as well as creates an opportunity for giving and receiving feedback as far as achieving organizational goals is concerned.

Developing and training

Effective organizations have an established structure for training their employees from time to time. Employee training and development is carried out in accordance with performance benchmarks. Through effective employee training programs, managers entrust their subordinates with new tasks that come with higher levels of responsibility. Training, therefore, acts as a tool for streamlining work processes with skills acquisition interventions based on performance indicators. Employee training reinforces workers’ competencies to perform their duties in addition to helping them adapt to organizational changes.

Systematic appraisal of employee performance in a summary manner

Employee performance also entails the identification of talented workers from unsatisfied labourers. Performance appraisal systems are therefore applied in performance management against standards and indicators that measure workers’ performance results. The best performance is rated against exemplary individual performance. Poor performance refers to appraisal rates from unsatisfied employees and those with a negative attitude towards their tasks and organization in general.

Reward Systems

Reward systems are directly associated with job satisfaction and performance at the workplace. Satisfied workers are more committed to their tasks and in achieving organizational objectives. Dissatisfied employees lack the right motivation to task performance. Job satisfaction is exhibited in individuals’ attendance on duty and the motivation to go the extra mile to fulfil assigned tasks. Job satisfaction leads to greater performance and vice versa. Appropriate reward systems are instrumental in motivating employees in directing more effort for greater work performances. Performance contingent rewards positively influence individuals and groups towards greater involvement in activities that promote the realization of organizational goals and objectives.

The nature of the relationship between managers and subordinates is important in designing performance-specific reward systems. Issues relating to employees’ workplace relationships are determined by needs, values, attitudes and norms which are associated with organizational culture. Individual workers’ performance and degree of satisfaction are influenced by the nature of relationships and associations at the workplace. Self-esteem and need for motivation describe the sources of internal influence for job satisfaction. Various needs for employee motivations include security, love, career development and promotions. Reward systems that influence job satisfaction and greater work performance recognize these needs.

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OctoStudy. (2023, February 9). Zara’s Product Management Lessons for Australian Retailers. https://octostudy.com/zaras-product-management-lessons-for-australian-retailers/

Work Cited

"Zara’s Product Management Lessons for Australian Retailers." OctoStudy, 9 Feb. 2023, octostudy.com/zaras-product-management-lessons-for-australian-retailers/.

1. OctoStudy. "Zara’s Product Management Lessons for Australian Retailers." February 9, 2023. https://octostudy.com/zaras-product-management-lessons-for-australian-retailers/.


OctoStudy. "Zara’s Product Management Lessons for Australian Retailers." February 9, 2023. https://octostudy.com/zaras-product-management-lessons-for-australian-retailers/.


OctoStudy. 2023. "Zara’s Product Management Lessons for Australian Retailers." February 9, 2023. https://octostudy.com/zaras-product-management-lessons-for-australian-retailers/.


OctoStudy. (2023) 'Zara’s Product Management Lessons for Australian Retailers'. 9 February.

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