Today we learned about the Consorzio Della Moda, or Mozzecane Fashion Consortium in English. This business trip was much different than most of the business that we have already visited because, well, it really wasn’t a business. The consortium and what it was proved to be a very challenging topic for many of us but I think that, at the end of the trip, we all finally had a good understanding what it was. The consortium can be best compared, in my opinion, to a help desk at a national park or mall. For example if I really wanted a pair of shoes in a mall and had no idea where to go to buy said shoes I would ask the help desk for help. In the case of the consortium, however, people will go to the consortium with the idea for a business or a product and the consortium will guide them to another company in their network that will be able to help them out.
Today for example, our meeting was held in a company called Mero and More. They were a clothing company that produced textiles and even came up with their own styles. They are also one of the 46 business that belong to the consortium. So, lets say I was a small business and I had a new idea for a shirt that I want to produce and get out into the market. Being a small business, however, I am very limited on resources and therefore do not have enough to mass produce said shirt. If I went to the Veneto Fashion Consortium they would direct me to a company like Mero and More within their network where I would be able to pitch my idea and possibly have it produced and sold.
While the benefit of a consortium is obvious for a small business just trying to get help in their start up, there are other benefits for companies that actually join a consortium. In the case of Mero and More, for example, if they were to run out of a certain material they have ready access to multiple business within their network that will give the opportunity for a quick solution to their problem. Also consortiums provide security for many businesses. Since the consortium is just a collection of businesses working together to try to survive, if one began to suffer, more than likes the other businesses will help out where they can because their networks are all heavily interwoven. This can help cover for changes in the fashion market and the demands for either cheaper goods or more quality, made in Italy type of clothing.
There is actually a board of directors that help control the consortium itself. They will help maintain the network and organization between the 46 companies. There is also a central location for the consortium but we had to have the visit with a separate company because there apparently was an event going on at their central location. In reality, while it may appear to be a true company with multiple locations, its organization is strictly the connections between the companies themselves.
The organizational structure of this “company” is definitely not one that most people are used to. The networking though plays a huge role in the success of all of the companies involved. As mentioned before the consortium has a board of directors that can make decisions on the behalf of the rest of the consortium. The organization, however, is not that strict. This board doesn’t make decisions like “all companies have to do… etc”, but instead they just serve a as a figure head for the organization. The consortium itself isn’t very strict with anything because it is simply a connected network of businesses that allow for quick access between all of the members while providing the opportunity for new companies to use their resources to get their own footing. So its not a very mechanical organization but instead a more fluid one.
This type of organization could have a big global effect on the economy. For example, many of these small businesses may have clothing or methods that they can’t get out to the world due to their small size. With help from a consortium, however, they will be able to mass produce their products and methods in a way that more of the world will have access to them. This will change how some businesses go about their interactions with others.
I’m definitely looking forward to being able to find out more about the consortium when we visit two more of their companies tomorrow.