The study reflects on the various aspects of operations management and its application in real life scenarios taking into consideration the case of Braccialini Group, a leading Italian manufacturer in the leather goods segment. The study attempts to analyse the operations management strategies followed by the Braccialini Group. Initially, the strategic roles of various operations have been identified. Accordingly, transformed and transforming resources used in the production process have been focused and finally, the abroad operations have been evaluated. At the end of the study, different operations parameters have been evaluated that gives rise to competitiveness and finally, a new product design process has been proposed.
Braccialini is a Florence based leather brand, having reputation for delivering reliable leather goods for over 50 years. The brand is currently operating across 40 different geographic locations with more than 50 mono brands stores across the world (Fashionbi.com, 2015). The entire operations management process in Braccialini can be divided into several sub processes with each of the processes playing a part to ensure success product development strategy. According to Lewis and Brown (2012), operations in a manufacturing unit can be regarded as Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), depending on which the success of entire manufacturing process can be determined. When it comes to Braccialini, the MOM process consists of following operations:
The R&D department of Braccialini is first responsible for conducting a market research in order to assess the market potential. The department first attempts to analyse the target demography. Then, the future prospect in the preferred region is analysed. As per Shepherd and Patzelt (2013), proper segmentation, targeting and positioning is a primary objective that brands need to emphasise on. The STP policy becomes easier, since, Braccialini targets both the men, women and kids segments. However, proper segmentation still plays crucial role behind successful assessment of the market potential.
Factors like the location for manufacturing, plant capacity and the availability of manufacturing facilities remain some points of interest for the project management team of Braccialini once the reports are published by the R&D department. According to Barratt, Choi and Li (2011), improper infrastructure assessment has been the reason behind a considerable number of failed manufacturing processes. Hand bags, belts and wallets accounts over 80% of the overall manufacturing process. Thus, infrastructure assessment makes sure the majority of the capacity utilisation is covered by the manufacturing of these products.
After the manufacturing facilities have been determined, the managers would be responsible for resource allocation depending on the type of manufacturing. For leather goods manufacturing, Braccialini managers need to analyse specific raw materials, required machineries and capital requirement for the manufacturing project. As stated by Katsikopoulos and Gigerenzer (2013), effective resource allocation would require proper coordination of various departments across the organisation. Likewise, the GM finance sanctions the capital for the manufacturing project that is used for purchasing raw materials like leather, adhesives or solutions and maintenance of instruments like cylinder bed sewing machine, upper leather skiving machine, flat bed sewing machine, etc.
Braccialini has altered the production process over the years. Perhaps, the changing trend in the fashion industry has played a significant part behind the alteration in the production process. Considering the thought of Subramanian and Ramanathan (2012), the global fashion and luxury industry has experienced a rapid change over the last two decades particularly during technological advancement. In order to keep pace with the rival brands, Braccialini has transformed several resources when it comes to the production process, while there is a considerable number of transforming resources as well. Transformed resources can be referred as inputs to production process that have already been changed in some way (Olhager and Johansson, 2012). On the other hand, transforming resources are inputs that play roles to conduct the actual transformation of the process.
The transformed resources for production at Braccialini are the process philosophy, manufacturing facilities and the supply chain network. Although the brand initially used to follow a small scale production procedure, the process needed to be altered with the increasing demand. Carla Braccialini in a recent interview mentioned that the brand recently emphasised on environment friendly business practices and the production process has been altered accordingly (ELITE Growth, 2013). Accordingly, the vegetable leather business has been newly prioritised by the brand. The brand’s supply chain network has been altered as well. Due to the continuously expanding global business, the import export activities were required to be altered and the number of players has been increasing within the supply chain network. Currently, the majority of the distributers are in the foreign markets and the lead time for completing the supply chain has been increased accordingly. According to Radnor and O'Mahoney (2013), alteration in demand supply ratio is likely to influence the production process. Braccialini has experienced a similar situation when it comes to production procedure. The production process has already been altered as per the transformed resources.
Resources like workers, finance, supplies, time, customers and market information are likely to alter with situational demand, which is why these resources can be termed as transforming resources for Braccialini. As cited by Singhal and Singhal (2012), transforming resources are factors that are used to carry out the production process or the process of transformation. These are supposed to be basic resources without which the production might not be completed. The line staff are managed by the business line managers in the manufacturing facilities of Braccialini.