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Herman Miller Case

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1. What are the main elements of Herman Miller’s history, design philosophy, and corporate values? How have they influenced the company’s success?

History: furniture manufacturer, began with smaller bedroom items during the Great Depression then moved to office items, started off as a family run business Design philosophy: innovative new designs, highly driven by the ideas of the designers, variety, customization, researched customer needs to solve real world problems Corporate Values: thinking outside the box, realizing the full value and contributions that employees have to offer, reusing materials, diversity, the HM Promise of providing best service These elements set Herman Miller apart from their competition and allowed the company to thrive.

2. What led Miller SQA to develop a new business model to serve its market? What is this model and how does it work?

Costs were high and the original process was time consuming. Competitors entered the market and were able to sell used furniture at a much lower price. Their service was more profitable than the products. They focused mostly on being convenient, quick, and reliable for their customers.

3. What allowed Miller SQA to reduce a 6-8 week order-to-installation process to an average of 6 days?

Z-axis, SCR order to fulfillment system, ERP system, EnSync, PCM, SupplyNet

4. In what ways is the Miller SQA business model a departure for Herman Miller? Are there ways in which it is consistent with the past?

Miller SQA focuses mainly on improving its customer service and response time. They limited the number of options in order to become more efficient as well as responsive. They are consistent with the past in regards to thinking outside of the box and being innovative.

5. What would you advise Van Spronsen to do about his new assignment? Defend your response.

I would advise Van Spronsen to not try to implement everything that was in place at Miller SQA. Herman Miller is more focused on creating and offering innovative designs while Miller SQA decided to reduce the number of options in order to better focus on customer service. Van Spronsen should apply his out of the box thinking to Herman Miller while still staying true to company’s strategic plan.

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