Very comprehensive analysis Silvia! I also love operations at Zara [not that we’re biased 😉 ]. As you mentioned, they’re truly a role-model in that they pioneered the translation of the Toyota model to the fashion industry. What I find fascinating is that they managed to be successful with “Every Day Low Prices” in an industry that’s very sales-driven. My hypothesis is that they effectively replaced the impulse trigger (“I need to buy now”): from using continuous discounts (“if I don’t buy now it will be more expensive”) to having fast fashion (“if I don’t buy now, it may not be on sale anymore”). This is great, because avoiding the discounts they have healthier and more predictable margins. I would love to explore if this benefit can be applied to other industries…
Very interesting company Rob! Grocery Outlet must be best-in-class in logistics to be able to have significantly lower prices than other stores. I think it covers a great market today, but I wonder how sustainable is their business model in the longer term. This business model relies on other supermarket flaws (i.e., supermarkets stock more food than what they sell, leading to large amounts of perished items). I predict (and hope) that supermarkets will get better analytics/forecasting capabilities to predict sales and reduce their own waste (both with goals of profitability and becoming more sustainable). However, I recognize it may take a few decades till significant improvements in this area are achieved. Thus, I’m sure Grocery Outlet will have figured out a new competitive advantage by the time their current one fades away.
Great post Nupur! I also think it’s fascinating how Netflix has been able to radically change its operating model over time to grow and secure the leadership of at-home entertainment. Many people talk about the successful shift from DVD to streaming, but to me it’s much less remarkable than the shift to original content. The first one was already planned when they launched (they say that the mere name Net-flix is a play on internet streaming), but the 2nd one is the real strategic bold move: the large networks don’t want to give Netflix rights to the newest content? No problem, Netflix will create better content of its own! (something that seems to be working very well, as they got more Golden Globe nominations this year than any other network! http://techcrunch.com/2015/12/10/netflix-beats-hbo-traditional-broadcasters-with-the-most-golden-globe-noms/)