A Comparative Analysis of H&M, Benetton, and Zara's Supply Chains

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Over the years, the fashion industry has been remarkable, owing to the style trends globally. In the fashion world, fast fashion superintends the production of the most recent trends that are usually presented in the "Fashion Week" in the seasons of the year. Moreover, sustainability has been significantly crucial, due to prompt customer's awareness of the environment, hence, demand for quality and transparency (Shen 6236). Notably, due to the social, economic problems, companies such as H&M, Zara, and Benetton, have significantly focused on their sustainability to ensure that they deliver same quality and standards all through their supply chains (Turker and Altuntas 837). Through monitoring and controlling hitches in production, the company's performance of their supply chain improves. Moreover, their cost of production reduces, ensuring affordability for their customers (Turker and Altuntas 837). This paper focuses on the comparison and contrast in the approaches taken by H&M, Zara, and Benetton, to manage their supply chains. More so, the changes that can be made in each company to ensure that their supply chains are environmentally sustainable.

Comparison and Contrast in H&M, Zara, and Benetton Approaches in Managing Their Supply Chains

The companies monitor their supply chain to ensures the overall overlook on the sourcing network and determine their competitive advantage over other rivalry firms (Härtsiä 10). Additionally, firms outline the best performance that contributes to the maintenance of their loyal customers (Härtsiä 10). Their supply chain involves; design of the garments, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of the garments through their retail stores.


All the three companies deal with the production of fashion garments; henceforth, they rely immensely on the design stage to produce high quality and standard outfits that meet their customers' requirements and can compete with other brands. Comparatively, the three firms rely on their design consumption to determine the trending designs. Moreover, they ensure that the designer teams attend fashion shows and catwalks, art, exhibitions to analyze the designs that are trending (Härtsiä 2). Lastly, their designs encompass the women, men and children fabrics.

On the contrary, Zara uses the pull model of their inventory through the excellent record to monitor all its stores globally (Hualien 19). They evaluate and deliberate on the types of designs that are mostly consumed by their customers and then iterate on the next patterns (Hualien 19). They have a creative team of 300 people that include designers, market experts, and product development personnel team (Hualien 21). Collaboratively, the group produces approximately 40,000 design items, choosing only about 10,000 items for production (Hualien 21). The creative team acquires the ideologies of the patterns through three approaches. First, through the designer team that travels internationally for the catwalk events, to evaluate the garments that are trending (Hualien 21). Secondly, through the environment team that gets ideas from clubs, cafes among others, and lastly, through the analysis of its report (Hualien 21).

On the other hand, H&M has its design centralized at Stockholm headquarter, with approximately 160 in-house designers and about 100 pattern makers (Hualien 35). The centralism of the plan consents the firm with less time required to market their designs. More so, the designer team maintains direct contact with their 21 production firms and act on trendy patterns on time (Hualien 35). The design team is usually enthused by exhibitions, arts, media, and rivalry companies to come up with stylish collections (Hualien 35). Lastly, Benetton has approximately 300 designers, providing the contractors with the patterns for assembly and knitting (Kong and Allan 4). Moreover, the designers are responsible for sourcing ideas on trending fabrics.


All the designs created have to be fabricated before distribution for marketing. Comparatively, both Zara and Benetton have their factories. On the contrary, Zara has half of its product fabrication in-house by operating around 22 Spanish factories (Hualien 21). The remaining half comes from its 400 suppliers globally, with 70% procured from Europe and the rest in Asia and other low-income countries (Hualien 21). Production in Europe takes place mainly in Spain and Portugal, due to the sensible labor (Hualien 22).

On the other hand, H&M lacks its factories; however, it sources its products from independent long-term partner suppliers (Hualien 36). The firm has approximately 850 suppliers in Asia and Europe, with an insignificant fabrication placed in Africa (Hualien 36). The brand has 21 production offices, which ensure the delivery of their products on time at the contracted amount (Hualien 37). Lastly, Benetton, despite producing its garments, it relies on contractors to knit and assemble the fabrics (Kong and Allan 6). As a result, its production cost of woolen items is relatively low compared to its competitors (Kong and Allan 6).


Dissemination of the final products is the vital stage in the supply chain since it determines the marketability and profitability of the brand. By comparison, all three companies distribute their brands to their preferred store; more so, they showcase their designs through fashion shows and catwalks in the seasons of the year (Hualien 16). Additionally, they rely on their distribution personnel to ensure that their products reach their destined customers on time. On the contrary, Zara has its central point at Arteixo, for storing all its products despite their original place of production, before dissemination (Hualien 22). The garments are then shipped twice weekly to all the store globally, with each shipment including new designs (Hualien 23).

On the other hand, H&M distributes its brand to all its stores and local replacement stores to offer their customers the shopping experiences (Hualien 39). Through an integrated dispersing channel, the brand ensures that the stores receive new consignments on a daily basis (Hualien 39). Lastly, Benetton distributes its brands to the agent's stores. Through their manufacturing policy and the agent's stores designed to be relatively small, the firm ensures that their deliveries are fast and dependable to meet their consumers' demand (Kong and Allan 6).


Both Zara and H&M have their stores, while Benetton relies on its agents for storage. However, Zara and Benetton stores are relatively small in size. Zara has its significant stores in Europe and Asia, though smaller since they produce their garment in smaller quantities with non-repeated designs (Hualien 23). On the other hand, H&M has its retail stores in the best locations in the cities and small shopping centers globally, to provide flexible frameworks for their consumers to have a look at their brands (Hualien 39). Lastly, Benetton relies on agents situated in a diverse geographical location and is responsible for developing stores in their areas (Kong and Allan 6). More so, they have to design the stores to be relatively small (Kong and Allan 6).

The Changes Required by Each Company to Ensure a More Environmentally Sustainable Supply Chain


The brand can increase their production quantity, to meet their consumers' demands globally. More so, the firm can locate more of its stores near boutiques, and other areas regularly visited, to attract more consumers. Lastly, they can lower their prices to fascinate more customers and maintain their loyal consumers.


The company can increase its weekly shipments globally, to maintain a constant supply. Moreover, the prices of their brands reduced for affordability by the majority of the consumers. Lastly, the firm can ensure that the designing team is more creative to come up with designs that do become unfashionable within a short span (Hanbury). Furthermore, the firm can create its factories to produce its garment depending on the quality preferred to avoid hitches that can be caused by their suppliers.


The firm is the oldest brand, and its rival companies have surged ahead (Chahal). As a result, the company can start campaigns and projects that can market its products broadly. More so, the corporation can rebrand itself with a competent team of designers to compete effectively in the fashion world.

Conclusively, the three rival brands have boosted the fashion world, especially the fast fashion. Consequently, each firm designs high quality and standard garments depending on its designs to attract and maintain their consumers globally. However, if each firm can implement the proposed changes, their supply chains can become more environmentally sustainable in the society.

Works Cited

Chahal, Mindi. How Benetton is changing its colors. 2 12 2015. Web. 15 8 2018. .

Hanbury, Mary. Fashion is undergoing a massive change- and H&M's struggles are proof. 7 4 2018. Web. 15 8 2018. .

Härtsiä, Anni. Future sustainability in fast fashion. Thesis. Helsinki: Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Science, 2017. Document.

Hualien, Taiwan. "The Contrast of Fast Fashion Giants Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo." Higher Technical School of Industrial Engineers and Telecommunications (2016): 1-85. Document.

Kong and Allan. "Learning from supply chains: Benetton Group S.P.A and the apparel industry." Kong and Allan (2007): 1-7. Document.

Shen, Bin. "Sustainable fashion supply chain: Lesson from H&M." Sustainability

(2014): 6236-6249. Document.

Turker, Duygu and Ceren Altuntas. "Sustainable supply chain management in the fast fashion industry: An analysis of corporate reports." European Management Journal (2014): 837-849. Document.

October 30, 2023

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