McDonough School of Business
News Story

Kasra Ferdows Receives Annual Award from the Case Centre

Kasra Ferdows, Heisley Family Chair of Global Manufacturing at Georgetown McDonough, won the Production and Operations Management category in the annual Case Centre Awards for his case “Zara: The World’s Largest Fashion Retailer.” The award honors faculty’s contributions to the most widely used cases across the globe in the past year, in nine management categories. The case was co-written by Jose Antonio Dominguez Machuca, professor of operations management at the University of Sevilla, and Michael Lewis, professor of supply strategy at the University of Bath.

“Back in in the early 2000s I was working with Benetton, and Zara, a company I didn’t know well, got my attention because of how quickly it had disrupted the industry and the way it had managed its supply chain, which seemed counterintuitive,” says Ferdows, who co-authored an initial award-winning case about the retailer. That case, however, quickly became outdated.

“A couple of years ago we decided to update the case, but when we revisited Zara and interviewed the senior managers, we realized that many important changes had taken place,” Ferdows says. “The company’s sales had grown seven-fold since 2013. Zara had opened thousands of new retail outlets in over 80 countries, becoming the largest and most successful fashion retailer in the world, and had still managed to keep an amazingly efficient and fast supply chain. It also had introduced ecommerce in over 20 countries.”

Despite these  changes, the company’s leadership has managed to keep running an enviable global supply chain, Ferdows notes, and has maintained market leadership despite aggressive competitors who have tried, unsuccessfully so far, to emulate their business model.

Ferdows’ research focuses on managing international operations, particularly in charting strategies for global production and supply networks. He is a fellow of the Production and Operations Management Society and has been published in many scholarly journals in the field of operations management. He has consulted for numerous multinational corporations including Apple Computers (Ireland), Barilla (Italy), BASF (Germany), BHP Billiton (Australia), Danfoss (Denmark), SABMiller (South Africa), and Unilever (Mexico), among others.

Established in 1973, the Case Centre houses thousands of management cases, articles, book chapters, and other materials for business educators. Since 1991, the Case Centre Awards honor the cases that were used by the most organizations within the past year. All articles that were added to the database over the past five years are eligible for an award in one of nine management categories. Winners of the Case Centre Awards are granted “prizewinning” status in the Case Centre’s collection.


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