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Wendler Einlagen: global success with textile commodities

Author: Van Wassenhove, Luk N. ; Cagna, Anne-Marie ; Lebreton, BaptisteINSEAD Area: Technology and Operations ManagementPublisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD, 2009.Language: EnglishDescription: 18 p.Type of document: INSEAD CaseNote: Latest version available via https://publishing.insead.eduAbstract: This case describes how Wendler Einlagen GmbH and Co became the world’s largest shirt interlining provider: in 2007 it had a 40% market share in Europe and the US combined. Wendler produced interlinings for both the high and low value markets – from Hugo Boss to Aldi – with manufacturing operations in Germany and China and a warehouse in Hong Kong. German competitors, who made interlinings for other products, had higher sales volume but Wendler remained market leader for shirt interlinings with a worldwide market share of 20% in 2007. Despite intense competition, a German production base and stagnating demand in Europe and the US, growth averaged 9% per year.Pedagogical Objectives: To show the link between a successful business strategy and its implementation throughout the life-cycle of the customer. The case offers the opportunity to map the relation between strategy and operational elements, demonstrating that you can succeed with commodity products if you provide a service that is recognised as superior. Supply chain flexibility and technical services play a vital role in this strategic differentation. Students should also identify the risk facing a mono-product company in the long term: if a groundbreaking innovation replaced the classic shirt interlining, Wendler could see its experience and market share vanish overnight.
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Latest version available via <a href=https://publishing.insead.edu>https://publishing.insead.edu</a>

This case describes how Wendler Einlagen GmbH and Co became the world’s largest shirt interlining provider: in 2007 it had a 40% market share in Europe and the US combined. Wendler produced interlinings for both the high and low value markets – from Hugo Boss to Aldi – with manufacturing operations in Germany and China and a warehouse in Hong Kong. German competitors, who made interlinings for other products, had higher sales volume but Wendler remained market leader for shirt interlinings with a worldwide market share of 20% in 2007. Despite intense competition, a German production base and stagnating demand in Europe and the US, growth averaged 9% per year.

To show the link between a successful business strategy and its implementation throughout the life-cycle of the customer. The case offers the opportunity to map the relation between strategy and operational elements, demonstrating that you can succeed with commodity products if you provide a service that is recognised as superior. Supply chain flexibility and technical services play a vital role in this strategic differentation. Students should also identify the risk facing a mono-product company in the long term: if a groundbreaking innovation replaced the classic shirt interlining, Wendler could see its experience and market share vanish overnight.

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