Impacts of Product Design Changes on Suppliers: A Case Study of the Fashion Industry
thesisposted on 30.07.2018, 13:43 by Nihan Ozkan
This thesis focuses on product design change in the fast fashion market and its impact on supplier companies. Theorizing from the relationship between product design and suppliers within an overarching framework of the supply chain and product design literatures, the research develops what impact product design changes have on supplier companies and how those changes connect to the performance of supplier companies. The multiple case study draws on interview data with 20 participants from a famous high-street fashion retailer and eight of its suppliers. This research validates that product design changes in the fast fashion market have physical and non-physical impacts across supplier company departments, and shows that these impacts connect significantly to the performance of supplier companies. This research contributes to the supply chain and product design literatures by providing an understanding of how product design changes create chain-like-effects, both internally and externally to supplier companies. This can catalyse supplier company strategy, which mitigates product design change to avoid this chain-like-effect. Practically, this thesis offers guidance for retailers and suppliers in creating solutions for the problems that they encounter during the product design change process by revealing the cause and effect relationship of product design changes and supplier companies. The results are currently limited to the fashion industry, and they are yet to be generalised to other buyer-driven commodity chains. Future research should focus on best practices for management to deal with the impact of product design change and in consideration in other industries.