Polo Ralph Lauren & Luen Thai: Using Collaborative Supply Chain Integration in the Apparel Value Chain Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Order winners and qualifiers Polo Ralph Lauren

Order winners are basically the main reason and source for customers to purchase a service or a product that brings in more business and revenue for the company. Order winners’ differentiate the service or the product of a particular company from its competitors. In case of Polo Ralph Lauren, order winners are the quality, speedy delivery, design of the product and the image of the brand. Above features basically constitute for Ralph Lauren to survive in the market as a renowned apparel manufacturer.

Order winners

Quality:

The quality of raw material used by Polo Ralph Lauren over a period of more than 40 years has been the main source of its competitive advantage where the company has been highly competitive amongst the apparel companies operating in the industry. The reason it has been successful is because the raw material that the firm has been using includes the raw material manufactured by Ruentex. The organization has been consistent with its business practice that is characterized by initiative, enthusiasm, and innovation, which makes a significant impact on the industry. Ruentex  has always strived to improve the quality delivered to customers and wholesalers to ultimately increase the international clientele, keep up to the quality of new products, keep with the latest market trends and increase the sales as well.

Speedy delivery:

Speedy delivery is again an order winner for the company, Ralph Lauren. The reason is that entire sales and delivery to customers of the firm is dependent on suppliers and manufacturers, if either one gets the delivery delayed then the company has to bear a 4% loss on the container. With the Ruentex and Luen Thai as intermediaries, Ralph Lauren has been on time rather than being late.

Design of the product:

This again is an important order winner for Ralph Lauren as the industry is highly competitive. Therefore, all apparel manufacturers have to come up with new designs and ideas to maintain their customer base. Designers provide input on design concepts, colors, cuts and specifications such as pockets, zips, snaps etc. to its manufacturers (i.e., Luen Thai). The final design for the apparel was a tedious process, which required frequent information exchange between designers and manufacturers to obtain mutual consent on a design.

Order qualifiers

Order qualifiers are ones who actually make the product or service competent enough for customers as a reason of purchase. Order qualifiers are often considered as minimum or qualifying levels of performance below which the company’s service or product gets disqualified by the customer or the market.  

Fabric:           

Fabric is the minimum requirement for a customer purchasing Ralph Lauren product because every customer who looks to purchase apparel demands good quality fabric, which is an essential component in the supply chain industry.

Variety:

Variety again is also an order qualifier. With the industry becoming competitive with every passing day, it is important to introduce new product range and variety so that customer demands can be met as per his needs and wants.

What are the competitive capabilities that Luen Thai must have in order to be a supply chain partner for Ralph Laurent?

Ralph Lauren has been one of the major clients of Luen Thai therefore; it has to come up with constant improvements in competitive compatibilities offered by the company to Polo Ralph Lauren. To improve upon the situation in order to stay a competitive and driving force for Polo, Luen Thai needs to strengthen itself in three departments. First of all, it has to be good and effective with the design and development. Along with this, Luen Thai has to become more focused with the logistics by improving upon the design and system, which is followed in Luen Thai to accommodate Polo Ralph Lauren.

Design Development:

To become a supply chain partner for Ralph Lauren, Luen Thai should develop a service oriented infrastructure which will make Luen Thai major brand client. If the development centers as planned are developed with Luen Thai it will give access to the clients to all the technical support. It will also streamline some client functions to the e respective factories. By taking the design process from Polo Ralph Lauren, Luen Thai can also arrange small groups of final products at a speedy turnaround and will provide better communication among the two companies....................................

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Luen Thai is considering the adoption of "design-to-store" supply chain strategy to compete in the apparel market, when it faces increasing margin pressure, new entrants, and the entry of China into the WTO. The decision to implement the "Design-to-store" will depend on the success of partner integration (between the fabric mills, manufacturers and brands) and mechanisms to enhance the "joint conduct" between partners. Luen Thai efforts to radically improve the flow of information, which can lead to a change in the processes and the creation of several companies efficiency. "Hide
by Benjamin Yen, Ali F. Farhoomand, Shamza Khan Source: University of Hong Kong, 19 pages. Publication Date: 24 November 2006. Prod. #: HKU595-PDF-ENG

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