Merchants of Prato Supply Chain Case Study

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Merchants of Prato Case Study Supply Chain

The Merchants of Prato: Supply Chain

The purpose of this work is to perform a sample case analysis of the case expressed in "The Merchants of Prato." This case essentially is in relation to Information Technology, Supply Chain Management and Knowledge Management. The supply chain structure currently in existence in Prato will be described as well as defining the difference in the structure from those defined in figures 1-2 and 1-3 of the Handfield and Nichols text. The work will examine the possible role for information technologies into an organization structure such as those which existed in Prato as well as explaining the procedures for development and implementation of such technology. Issues will be identified which will be important for consideration in the design of information technologies in the organizational and supply chain structure of Prato. Finally, the role of knowledge management initiative in Prato will be identified if this possibility realistically exists and the methods for development and deployment of a KM initiative in Prato will be described.


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Prato is located in a region that is said to be "in a socially and economically homogenous geographical area in Tuscany" which is in "North-Central Italy approximately 30 kilometers North-West of Florence. " Kiman et al. (2004) This region is known for its industry in wools and was also known to be an industry that originated in sharecropper farmer customs or the "mezzabi" who not only farmed but also gained income through "sheep shearing and wool processing." Kiman et al. (2004)

I. Organization and Commercialization of Prato:

Case Study on Merchants of Prato Case Study Supply Chain Assignment

The wool industry started with modest resources but son became "an extensive network of a large number of small firms" Kiman et al. (2004) with each of these entities having a different area of specialization in the process of taking wool and processing it into cloth products. Eventually the wool supply was known to have run short and innovation led to the textile industry procuring used cloths which would be recycled into raw materials and then used again in the industry. The city was known at the citta' delgi stracci which means "city of rags." Kiman et al. (2004)

The trend in the region after the 1930's and under the reign of Mussolini was toward that of centralization which was referred to as an "autarchic" policy. However, upon democracy being restored in 1948 the family business gained momentum again. The Prato system is one of "production through a network of small specialized firms." Kiman et al. (2004) The most recent statistics provided by Financial Times in 1994 state the "existence of approximately 8,500 small firms." Kiman et al. (2004) According to the stated information "47%" of the firms "employ fewer than 10 people" and another 40% of the firms are employing less that 50 individuals. The survey further shows that "Prato is the single biggest agglomeration of the textile manufacturing facilities in Europe with a turnover close to ItL 6,500 (U.S.$4.65 billion)" Graham (1994) as cited by Kiman et al. (2004).

Presently the industry of Prato is geared toward the fashion industry's high and middle sector and is no longer relying on recycling of cloth and utilizes natural and synthetic fibers as well. Innovation is key in the industry as well as flexibility due to the changing needs and demands in the fashion industry. The area is well infiltrated with CAD - Computer aided design use. The Praetorian industry is a type of value chain but is also inclusive of the concept known as "value-added partnerships." In the Prato region the family owned businesses market their goods through small companies or impannatores and the value chain is distributed between the companies in the region with the impannatore easily able to post and change production orders to add or remove production capacity." The impannatore is the provisionor of access to global markets. Kuman (1996).

II. The Difference in the Praetorian Industry and figures 1-2 and 1-3 of Handfield and Nichol's text:

Handfield and Nichol's text demonstrate a system with an external downstream supply chain that is inclusive of all the downstream distribution channels, processes and functions that are transversed in the product having reached the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Merchants of Prato Supply Chain" Case Study in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Merchants of Prato Supply Chain.  (2005, January 8).  Retrieved June 4, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Merchants of Prato Supply Chain."  8 January 2005.  Web.  4 June 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Merchants of Prato Supply Chain."  January 8, 2005.  Accessed June 4, 2020.