How cultural environment impacts the marketing of clothing

I would like to discuss how the cultural environment impacts the marketing of clothing.

Clothing is a large aspect of fashion and the fashion industry is one of the most prominent industries in the world, I think we can all agree on that. Although there are many different cultures in the world, we tend to generalise the global differences to eastern culture and western culture. Eastern culture has always tended to being the more modest, or conservative, when it comes to clothing while the West is renound for the “less is more” look amongst women mainly, and has a wide range of predominantly casual attire for men (of course, this is a vast generalisation).

Gökarıksel (2009) discusses in a paper on the Turkish fasion industry about how, after a fashion show, the designer (Tebkir, Turkey’s leading producer of women’s Islamic attire) was criticised by local tabloids for “seducing” the consumers “through the use of young, attractive models” (Gökarıksel, 2009). Gökarıksel goes on to talk about how many Islamic scholars and journalists have written about how “veiling-fashion” goes against the Islamic principles of “israf” (waste) and “frown upon the display involved in modelling and fashion”.

Another good example is in Brazil. Artigas & Calicchio (2007) did a study on the Brazillian consumer with regards to purchasing of clothing. Brazil poses itself a potential “dream” to any retailer according to Artigas & Colicchio (2007), but their study has shown that Brazillians are far more likely to buy from local suppliers than multinational “big brand suppliers”. In their study, Artigas & Colicchio (2007) asked Brazillian consumers whether they trusted local brands more than international and 81% of the respondents agreed that local is better, as well as being of a higher quality. Another question posed was whether or not they were ok with purchasing on credit, more than 60% of the respondents were in agreement that credit purchases are acceptablel; this contrasts to 30% in India, 24% in Russia and 13% in China (Artigas & Colicchio, 2007).

Another angle to look at is the culture that goes with a brand itself. Thinking locally, in South Africa (where I live), we have a number of brands that are themselves associated with a certain economic demographic (as described by Kotler & Armstrong, 2010, p41 in their Best Buy example). For example, we have PEP stores which is one of the lowest price clothing retailers and caters to the low-income consumers whereas there are shops like Levi’s which is more middle class and Diesel Clothing or Fabiani which caters to the high earning consumers.

Through all of these examples that have been outlined above, marketing the clothing products will potentially be completely different. Marketing to an Islamic, female culture will be very different than marketing to a high-incomed Fabiani customer in South Africa, which will also contrast when marketing to a credit-friendly, locally loyal consumer in Brazil. Whether or not the clothes are in-fact the same style and the same brand, the marketing of them must be carefully based around the culture and demographic; the “Place” P in the 4 P’s of Marketing – Product, price, place and promotion (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010, p.36).

References

Artigas, M, & Calicchio, N 2007, ‘Brazil: Fashion conscious, credit ready’, McKinsey Quarterly, 4, pp. 76-79, EBSCOhost [Online]. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=27602588&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 9 July 2011).

Gökarıksel, B. (2009) ‘New transnational geographies of Islamism, capitalism and subjectivity: the veiling-fashion industry in Turkey’, Area Mar2009, 41 (1), pp.6-13, EBSCOhost [Online]. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=s3h&AN=36218720&site=ehost-live&scope=site (Accessed: 9 July 2011).

Kotler, P. & Armstrong, G. (2010) Principles of Marketing. 13th (Global) ed. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Material Requirements Planning (MRP), what is it and how do we perform it optimally?

MRP (material requirements planning) is a technique of assessing dependent demand by using a BOM (bill of material), inventory, expected receipts and a MPS (master production schedule) to determine the material requirements (Heizer & Render, 2009).

When we say “dependent” demand, we are referring to the production of an item that is dependent on certain parts. For example, the production of a motor car is dependent on parts like the engine, wheels, windows, body etc. Heizer and Render (2009) also note that, broadly speaking, “for any item for which a schedule can be established, dependent techniques should be used”.

In a paper by Anderson and Schroeder (1984) points out that MRP can and shouldn’t operate in isolation from the rest of the business (i.e. only in manufacturing). MRP Systems should expand to the other functional areas of a firm and information must flow freely between these areas.

The main functions included by Anderson and Schroeder (1994) include:

1)     Manufacturing
As we have discussed above the main focus behind MRP is on manufacturing. The MRP system is based on the type of product being manufactured, identified by using the Master Production Schedule and Bill of Materials (MPS and BOM). Manufacturing is the core process of developing the products.

2)     Engineering
The engineering function of the firm is where the BOM mentioned above comes from. Anderson and Schroeder use an example of a firm implementing MRP where the BOM from Engineering did not match up with the Manufacturing bills – It is important to make sure all data is correct and this is another reason why all areas of the firm should be involved in the system.

3)     Marketing
Marketing is important to MRP systems because this is where the main demand forecasts are coming from. As mentioned in Anderson and Schroeders (1994) example, marketing “provided the information on firm orders and a forecast for the system”.

4)     Finance
As we know the main point of just about any organisation is to maintain profitability and the MRP system is a tool used to optimise the materials required for production. Finance provides accurate reporting on the performance of the implemented MRP system.

5)     Personnel

At the heart of any organisation is its’ personnel. All personnel should be well educated in and understand the purpose of the MRP system.

Expanding on the last point, the study by Anderson and Schroeder (1994) outlined the implementation of an MRP system across two organisations; one successful and one not. The main reason for the unsuccessful implementation was the “degree of commitment to a system rather than to a concept” (Anderson & Schroeder, 1994).

Educating and training employees to understand the importance and exact steps and procedures involved in the MRP system is very important across the organisation as it affects all functions. 

References

Anderson, J. & Schroeder, R. (1994) ‘Getting Results from your MRP System’, Business Horizons, 27 (3), pp.57-64, ScienceDirect [Online]. DOI 10.1016/0007-6813(84)90028-4 (Accessed: 28 May 2011).

Heizer, J. & Render, B. (2009) Operations Management. Ninth Edition. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.

 

Marking, Finance and Operations

The three basic functions of a firm, as Heizer and Render (2009, p.4) have outlined, are applicable to all firms and organisations; whether private, government, non-profit or any other type of organisation. These basic functions can be outlined as follows

1)     MARKETING

Marketing is the part of the firm that is concentrating on generating client demand for the product or service that the firm is producing or providing.

Heizer & Render (2009, p.5) provide some good examples of marketing departments in different businesses, some examples can be:

  1. Commercial Bank – Marketing of loans (mortgage, personal, commercial etc.) which brings in the demand for which the latter two points of this discussion are involved in (mainly 3 – Productions/Ops.).
  2. Internet Service Provider – Marketing of Internet connectivity, shared website hosting, dedicated website hosting, backup services.
  3. Food Store Chain – Marketing opening of new branches, weekly/monthly specials on food products etc.

2)     FINANCE / ACCOUNTING

As I have covered in previous posts, accounting is a vitally important function of a business. Accounting measures the performance of the organisation as well as makes sure the income is collected and the debts are paid (Heizer & Render, 2009, p.4).

Thomas (n.d.) sums the importance of accounting as a function in business as

  1. Allowing business owners to see where profit and losses are being made (Profit and Loss)
  2. Allows business owners to see where and how cash is being spent (Cash Flow)
  3. Shows whether profits are large enough to cover expenses (Balance Sheet)
  4. Helps aid financial decisions.
  5. Required to adhere to tax legislations

All of these areas of accounting apply to all types of businesses.

3)     PRODUCTION / OPERATIONS

This is where operations management comes in to play. Whether the organisation provides manufactured goods or intangible services, or a combination of both the processes are part of the production/operation function.  As Heizer & Render put it (2009, p.4), this function “creates the product”.

There are some notable differences between services and goods but as Heizer & Render show (2009, p.11); even organisations which seem very much “goods” (eg: automobiles), they still require a level of service (vehicle finance, vehicle delivery). The same goes with service heavy organisations (eg: consulting), which mostly have an element of goods as well (eg: printed reports). Heizer & Render  (2009, p.11) point out that one of the only “pure service” providers are those that provide counselling.

Some examples of operations in different organisations are:

  1. Commercial Bank – Tellers, transaction processing, cheque clearing, facility design and layout, vault operation, maintenance and security (Heizer & Render, 2009).
  2. Software Development – facility design and layout (placement of personnel), communications, training, client liaison, quality assurance and control, product development, product design and maintenance.

All of the above 3 functions are imperative to the operation and success of an organisation.

References

Heizer, J. & Render, B. (2009) Operations Management. Ninth Edition. Prentice Hall: New Jersey.

Thomas, C. (n.d.) Why is accounting important in business? [Online] eHow. Available from: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5003375_why-accounting-important-business.html (Accessed: 7 May 2011).