Teacher's Guide

Teacher's Guide

The following teachers guide has been developed to assist teachers who plan to use this curriculum web in conjunction with the Harvard Business School Case - Zara: IT for Fast Fashion.

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Aim

Introduction

Rationale

General Goals

Subject Matter Description

Learner Description

Prerequisites

Learning Objectives

Materials

Computer Technology Requirements

Instructional Plan

Assessment & Evaluation

Aim    

The What Business is Zara In? curriculum web will build confidence in fourth year BBA or MBA students to construct an understanding of how companies compete in an industry via analyzing their business models. Through this process students will build skills which will enable them to confidently study an industry and draw key conclusions of how companies can effectively compete within that industry. This is more easily accomplished by studying companies who have introduced disruptive business models into their industries, like Zara, Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart or Dell.

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Introduction

Zara is one of the most successful apparel manufacturing and retail business in the world today. They are not the biggest, but their profit margins and growth rates are leading the industry. Most interesting though is that they have accomplished this through the introduction of a very unique business model within their industry.

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Rationale

Graduates with business degrees or MBA's too often are led to analyze problems or opportunities through narrowly focused functional silos like operations management, marketing, distribution, financial management or supply chain management. They are taught to perform SWOT analysis, which can build long lists of external and internal factors which are rarely put in context of the industry and the company's competitors.

The proper approach starts with an understanding of how the business model for an industry works. When students have a picture in their minds of how an industry works, from a broad perspective, they can more easily solve a problem or address an opportunity any one stakeholder or company in that industry is facing.

Building this kind of perspective is difficult for students, who have little business experience. The use of business cases is one effective method to help students engage in this kind of high level thinking. Business cases typically describe a situation in which a company finds themselves. It is the job of the instructor and students to dissect the situation and build to a solution for the problem or opportunity.

The instructor will usually begin the in-class discussion of the case by attempting to build an understanding of the industry and then build a picture of how the company fits within that particular industry. This top down approach can be very difficult to execute successfully, with the industry analysis usually taking up at least half of the class time allotted to the case discussion.

A curriculum web will not replace an in-class case analysis and discussion, but it can better prepare the students for this discussion. Specifically it can help the students to understand the dynamics of the industry and the business model which is driving the companies within that particular industry. This will better prepare the students for the class discussion and more importantly, free up the class time to focus on the company, discuss and ultimately analyze various solutions to the problem at hand.

Zara is a perfect case to exemplify how this concept can work as they have introduced a very successful, yet simple, business model, into a complex industry fashion apparel manufacturing and retailing. Their approach to succeeding in this industry is radical, yet easy to understand. Students can be led to answer the question at hand What Business is Zara In?

In doing so they will gain an understanding of how Zara's business model is radically different than that of their competitors. The fun part of this case is the answer to the question is a two word answer, which when discovered is almost always is an aha moment for the learner.. Building this understanding will help them gain the confidence to look at other companies, in other industries, from a broad perspective.

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General Goals

Zara is a fashion manufacturer and retailer based out of Spain. They are the most profitable in the world when you consider their profit margins, although they are far from the largest. Zara has adopted a very unique approach to the market, through a disruptive business model. Identifying this model is key to understanding their success and ultimately their unique approach to fashion retailing.

The goals of this web are to have the students build an understanding of the business model for the industry and then understand the unique approach or business model of Zara. This web should be used in conjunction with an in-class case discussion and analysis.

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Subject Matter Description

This web is a problem centered curriculum, which is trying to answer what at first glance seems like a very simple question -What Business is Zara In? It is centered on understanding how Zara approaches their business, to better help the student build skills in analyzing and observing an industries business model and ultimately learning to look at business from a broad, overarching perspective. This web involves the exploration and understanding of:
  • A competitors approach and business model to the apparel manufacturing and retailing business by looking at Gap.
  • Understanding the key core competencies of Zara.
  • Understanding the supply chain management capabilities and practices at Zara.
    • Recognizing the strong beliefs or overarching principles that guide the business and how they are weaved into the company's strategy and business model.
  • Recognizing the role key employee groups play in the company.
  • Ultimately recognizing the difference in Zara's approach to the business.
  • Seeing how a different approach to business can lead to superior results.
  • Understanding how business risk can be almost completely mitigated through the proper strategic approach.

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Learner Description

The activities in this curriculum web are designed for fourth year Bachelor of Business students or MBA students taking a Competitive Strategy or Managing Innovation course. They will be familiar with and will have used business or situational analysis techniques, such as performing SWOT analysis.

They will also have knowledge of functional business topics, such as marketing, finance, operations management, manufacturing, and human resources management. They typically do not have much “real world” business experience.

This curriculum web is designed to be used in conjunction with the Harvard Business School Case - Zara: IT for Fast Fashion As this case study can be presented from a number of different business contexts, including strategic business growth, managing innovation, human resource management, competing globally and implementing disruptive business models, the audience for this web could potentially vary widely.

For example, this case and curriculum web could be part of a seminar series being delivered to management employees at a large enterprise or to a group of technology entrepreneurs trying to understand how to grow their business globally.

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Prerequisites

Students taking this curriculum web will typically be in the fourth year of a Bachelor of Business program or in an MBA program. They will have had previous experience in case study management and have a foundation of knowledge in core functional business areas, such as operations management, supply chain management, financial management and marketing.

They will understand the basic notion of a “business model” and have some confidence in discussing industry level analysis. All of this educational background can of course be replaced or augmented with "real world" experience.

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Learning Objectives

On completing this curriculum web, students will be able to:
    • Describe the key elements of disruptive business models in the retailing, airline and personal computer businesses.
    • Discuss the general business model for the apparel industry and describe the inherent risks associated with this business model.
    • Describe the unique customer characteristics and behaviors of Zara's customers. Related these to the behavior drivers inherent with Zara's approach to the business.
    • Discuss the key core competencies of Zara and the business measures driven by these competencies.
    • Draw a picture and provide a succinct overview of Zara's business model. In doing so discuss how Zara has all but eliminated risk in what is a very hard to predict business; the fashion apparel industry.
    • Answer the question What Business is Zara In?

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Materials

All of the materials required for this curriculum web are available for download within the web site itself, with the exception of some of the research information, which is hosted on various other web sites and directly accessible via links.    The business case itself will not be made available through the web as there are licensing restrictions with Harvard Business School Publishing which do not allow this case to be posted. It can be accessed and purchased at http://www.hbsp.com. The following documents, worksheets and interactive materials are included in the web:
  1. Worksheet #1 - The Question
  2. Worksheet #2 - Business Models
  3. Worksheet #3 - Customer’s & Behaviors
  4. Worksheet #4 - Competencies and Competitive Advantages
  5. Zara Crossword Puzzle
  6. Zara Word Scramble
  7. Teaching Guide for What Business is Zara In?
  8. Imbedded Video – Clayton Christensen at MIT

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Computer Technology Requirements

This curriculum web contains a number of interactive and multi-media features. For these to run smoothly the student's computer must have an up-to-date browser, such as Internet Explorer 7.0, the appropriate Java run time application (which is typically embedded in IE 7.0), Flash player to view a streaming video and a copy of Adobe Reader. Parts of this curriculum web will not function properly if the user does not have a broadband connection to the internet.

Certain interactive applications have been duplicated onto Adobe pdf files for students unable to run the Java applications, either due to an insufficient browser or security measures on their computer which will not allow them to turn on the “Active X” capability required for the web.

All of this required capability is available on the University computers in the computer labs or libraries.

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Instructional Plan

Students should be able to complete this web prior to the class discussion of the Zara case. This can be done in the computer labs on campus or at home. This web is designed to be executed by students individually. However, there is no reason why they could not do it in groups.

It should take 4 - 5 hours to complete the research, all the worksheets and activity sheets, including the interactive crossword, word scramble and watch the online video of Clayton Christensen. These are all accessible and downloadable through the curriculum web. This will prepare the students to present a supported answer to the question What Business is Zara In?

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Plans for Assessment & Evaluation

As part of the assessment students will be required to complete and submit four worksheets, an interactive crossword puzzle and word scramble and prepare and present a power point presentation to class.

The following rubric has been designed to assess each of the learning objectives, with appropriate weighting on sections of greater importance, complexity or relevance to the overall learning goals of the curriculum web. Please note item numbers in the rubric should correspond to the associated learning objective, with the exception of the final presentation, which will demonstrate all of the learning objectives.

Learning Objective

Assigned Task

Incomplete

Complete

Enthusiastic Learner

Score

1.

Disruptive Business Models

 

 

Complete Section 1 of Worksheet 2

0 points

 

No submission or poor research as evident by misunderstanding of disruptive business models.

2 points

 

Good understanding of at least two key elements all three disruptive business models.

 

4 points

 

Apply disruptive litmus test to each of the three business models.

 

2.

Apparel Industry Business Models

 

 

Complete Section 2 of Worksheet 2

0 points

 

No submission or poor research as evident by misunderstanding of the apparel industry business model.

4 points

 

Good understanding of apparel industry business model as evident by pictorial view and description of three key elements of the model.

8 points

 

Strong understanding of the apparel industry business model through concise pictorial view which demonstrates strong research into Gap’s approach to the business.

 

 

3.

Customer characteristics & behaviors

 

 

Complete Worksheet 3

0 points

 

No submission or a basic regurgitation of facts from case.

1 point

 

Strong discussion supporting facts from the case.

2 points

 

Strong links between customer characteristics and behaviors with an eye to the driving factors.

 

 

4.

Zara Competencies and Business Measures

 

 

Complete Worksheet 4

0 points

 

No submission

3 points

 

Students show an  understanding of at least three key core competencies of Zara.

6 points

 

Students show an understanding of at least three key core competencies of Zara and links these to achieving core business measures and results.

 

 

5.

Zara Business Model

 

 

Complete Section 3 of Worksheet 2

0 points

 

No submission or complete lack of understanding of the uniqueness of Zara’s business model.

6 points

 

Good understanding of Zara’s business model.

12 points

 

Strong understanding of Zara’s business model, which is well communicated through a pictorial representation.

 

 

Interactive Exercise

 

 

Complete Zara Crossword Puzzle

0 points

 

No submission or incomplete crossword.

4 points

 

Completed crossword.

8 points

 

Completed crossword and unscrambled letter puzzle with correct two word answer to the question.

 

 

6.

What Business is Zara In?

 

 

Answer(s) on Worksheet 1

0 points

 

No submission or wrong answer.

5 points

 

Right answer.

10 points

 

Right answer showing a strong sense of what it means.

 

 

What Business is Zara In?

Discussion Paper

 

 

Discussion Paper

0 points

 

No submission

10 points

 

Good succinct paper showing a strong  understanding of the uniqueness in Zara’s business model.

20 points

 

Good succinct paper showing strong understanding of the uniqueness in Zara’s business model and discussion on why this is a disruptive business model and how Zara has all but eliminated the core risks associated with the industry through this model.

 

 

Total Score

/70

Ultimately the answers to the worksheet questions will lead to completion of the crossword and the answer to the question at hand. The students ability to answer the question and describe Zara's approach as a disruptive business model will be a key deterministic factor in their learning achievement. Also, their ability to simply and accurately describe the different risk profiles of the two business models is a final learning deterministic factor.

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