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Fast Retailing

Introduction

Fast Retailing is a public Japanese retail holding company. It also owns several other companies such as National Standard, Foot Park, and Princess Tam-Tam. The company was originally founded as Ogori Shoji Co., Ltd. by Tadashi Yanai in 1963. The name was later changed to Fast Retailing in 1991.

Strategy

Fast Retailing's Corporate Statement:
Changing Clothes. Changing Conventional Wisdom. Change the World.

The specialty retailer UNIQLO is the Group's mainstay operation, and it has enjoyed strong growth by offering high-quality casualwear at reasonable prices based on its SPA (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel) business model, which spans product design, manufacture, distribution and retail.

Generic Business Strategy: Differentiation
-Based on exceptionally high quality
-High quality products
-Target market not defined by price sensitivity
-Competitive market
-Specific customer needs
-Unique resources & capabilities

Value Discipline: Product Leadership
-Strong innovation
-High level of operation in dynamic market
-Focus on development
-Unique designs

I came to the conclusion that Fast Retailing's Generic Business Strategy is based on differentiation while their value discipline is product leadership. These two concepts go hand in hand because by creating innovative products they natural differentiate themselves from other retailers. They most definitely operate efficiently in a dynamic market with sales in continents all over the globe. Fast Retailing and its brands are constantly developing their products and looking for new innovative ways to gain a competitive advantage.

Prof Comments: Keep what you have here. But also add some answers to the following
  • What is their Value Discipline (see Treacy & Wiermas slides/paper)? Or, use Porter's 3 generic business strategies (from the text) and discuss which is your company's primary strategy.
  • How do you support your answer to the previous question?
In essence, they can say what they think their corporate strategy is, but I want you to translate what they actually are doing into the concepts we've been discussing in class.

Value Chain

Primary Activities
  • Inbound Logistics: The Inventory Control department helps to keep the optimal levels of inventory by monitoring sales and stock weekly. They also dispatch necessary inventory and new products to fulfill product orders. At the end of each season, they work with other departments to ensure products are sold out.
  • Operations: UNIQLO's Production Department has production managers who visit the partner factories weekly to observe and resolve any issues. Customer related issues are relayed directly to the production department, which then allows them to make improvements.
  • Outbound Logistics: "We move speedily and deceisively in everything we do."
  • Marketing & Sales: As each season approaches, UNIQLO creates promotional campaigns for products such as fleece in the winter or polo's in the spring. The products are advertised on TV and other media.
  • Service: Their Customer Center receives over 70,000 comments or requests from customers each year. The team then works to improve their services, stores, and products.
Secondary Activities
  • Firm Infrastructure: Merchandisers play an important role from product planning through production. They decide product lineup and volume for each season, which requires the team to pay close attention to the marketing strategy. Also, they decide when to increase or decrease production.
  • Human Resource Management: Employees go through a Global Management training. Talented individuals are hired regardless of nationality, but they particularly look at individuals who could lead the company in the future. UNIQLO University was established in order to train store staff. Lastly, they have Career Specific Support Programs. These programs enable employees to set up independent companies and operate UNIQLO stores as franchises.,
  • Development: UNIQLO's R&D center is continually researching latest fashion trends and lifestyles. R&D designers meet with representatives from all departments to discuss and finalize products for upcoming seasons each year.
  • Procurement: UNIQLO maintains a stable large supply of high quality products for a low cost. They work directly with materials manufacturers.

IT Exemplars

At Fast Retailing, they aim to continuously innovate their business in order to enrich people's lives around the world. The following are examples of how Fast Retailing utilizes IT:
  • One of Fast Retailing's companies, Theory, an American based store, utilizes IT to perform efficiently to customers. After ordering with Theory, customers are able to check their order status and track their purchases.
  • Additionally, IT is utilized when customers create accounts to specialize in their previous and potential purchases.
  • Another company named Princesse Tam-Tam, a store located in Paris, France, utilizes IT to specialize local and international customer accounts. After entering customer personal information, IT is used to store and protect the privacy of each individual customer.

Be sure to tie this in to what value chain activities are aided by the example(s) and, of course, tie it all back in to the corporate strategy (which could come through the value chain discussion).

Competitors


Fast Retailing's top 3 competitors are :
1. The Gap, Inc.
2. H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB
3. Industria de Diseño Textil, S.A.

In order to compete with its competitors above, Fast Retailing's Uniqlo has finally launched a US e-commerce website a full six years after parent Fast Retailing Co opened its first store in the country.
Fast Retailing’s chairman Tadashi Yanai has previously spoken of his desire to earn USD 10 billion in overall North American sales by 2020, with a huge 20 per cent of that coming from e-commerce.

are there things the competitors are doing that Fast Retailing should be worried about? Ready to react to? Does Fast Retailing follow the competitors or do they lead in terms of IS or business strategy?

Future Initiatives


Fast Retailing has been dedicated to achieving the optimal use of information system resources and to encouraging reform of business operations. They assess reports on the IT investment budget, verify the suitability of investments with the participation of external experts and evaluate potential return-on-investment proposals.

As of future initiatives Fast Retailing's Uniqlo will equip its staff with mobile touchscreen devices, aimed at boosting productivity in store. Uniqlo chose a Casio device to hand to shop staff across the globe. Employees will carry the touchscreen and use it to help them with tasks such as barcode scanning, stocktaking and instore communication. The Fast Retailing subsidiary is one of a number of retailers turning to shop-floor handheld technology.

looking good. I'd just suggest you keep an eye on our emerging technologies topic to see if you have some additional suggestions for the company.

Benefits

Offering high-quality casualwear at reasonable prices based on its SPA (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel) business model, which spans product design, manufacture, distribution and retail.

1. you can put Benefits earlier if you like (maybe after the IT examples) and discuss how what they're doing is helpful. I think I essentially suggested this general concept in that section already. 2. you could talk about how some of the specific new initiatives would benefit the firm, especially if it gets them ahead of the competition.

Conclusion

Fast Retailing has benefited greatly from IT. By using different aspects of IT Fast Retailing is able to boost productivity in stores, improve their investment budget by using IT to verify the suitability of their investments, and by taking advantage of things such as e-commerce Fast Retailing is able to compete in a very competitive market. They are able to provide an easy experience for their customers. With the use of IT Fast Retailing is able to compete with large, established companies such as Gap and H&M.