Herman Miller

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Essay
Sustainability Along the Global Supply Chain Spring Term 2011

Herman Miller Case Analysis

Name: Victoria Kondratova, Ekaterina Tarkhova Address: Bischof-Dirichs-Str. 56, 65375 Oestrich-Winkel Submitted to: Prof. Dr. Julia Wolf Submission Date: April 1st, 2011

Table of Contents:

Table of Contents List of Abbreviations 1. Introduction 2. Herman Miller’s Environmental Protection Strategy and its Necessity 3. Cradle-to-cradle Design Protocol 4. TPU verses PVC Approach 5. Implementation of C2C Protocol in Herman Miller 6. Advantages and Disadvantages of C2C Protocol 7. Conclusion Reference List 1 1 2 3 4 5 5 6

Sustainability Along the Global Supply Chain ii

List of Abbreviations

C2C C2G DfE EQAT MBDC PVC
TPU

Cradle to Cradle Approach Cradle to Grave Approach Design for Environment Environmental Quality Action Team McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry consulting Polyvinyl chloride Thermoplastic polyurethane

Sustainability Along the Global Supply Chain 1

1. Introduction
Founded in 1905, throughout the time Herman Miller has become a leader of residential and office furniture. During the entire span of its long-time existence, it has been precisely focusing on financial, environmental and socially responsible performance in order to attain and maintain its leading market position. As a result, Herman Miller established itself as an industrial leader of environmental protection. In this paper we try to finalize and analyze initiatives and programs, the company was involved in, to understand their core and evaluate their impact on the company’s current position in particular, as well as on industry, society and environment in large.

2. Herman Miller’s Environmental Protection Strategy and its Necessity Throughout its operation, Herman Miller has been engaged in continuous series of environmental initiatives and programs. There are several rationales behind such strategic approach; however, in our paper we would like to point out and discuss the main three of them: culture, image and economic sense. Beliefs and assumptions of its founder (D. J. De Pree) have substantially contributed to the development of company’s culture. By the precise look at Herman Miller’s history we see that they are behind company’s corporate values, operational and working standards, strategic approaches, and focuses. For instance, D.J. De Pree believed that his firm serves a moral purpose in everything it does. Therefore, he aimed to attract and retain talented employees with the same mindset. These people were ready and able not only to work efficiently, but also respect each other and take care about the environment in large. As a result, in 1989 environmentally responsible workers formed the EQAT in order to generate and implement ideas aimed towards achievement of the company’s environmental goals. Consequently, EQAT has established a range of sustainable initiative targeting such aims as zero landfill, zero hazardous waste generation, and zero air and water emissions from manufacturing processes.

Sustainability Along the Global Supply Chain 2

Apart from culture, company’s image is another rational for the environmental initiatives engagement. Herman Miller has succeeded in positioning itself as an environmental leader of the industry with the rivals following its lead on many environmental initiatives. Such position of the company partially can be explained by the structure of its final customers. A relatively big fraction of Herman Miller’s customers are healthcare providers; therefore, company’s environmentally-friendly products are perfect tool to attain them overtime. Further engagements in the environmental initiatives gives company a chance not only to maintain its lead, but also to sustain it in the long-run, since it has a first-mover advantage among rivals. Final rational behind environmental initiative is an economic sense. Since, there is a global trend towards environmentally-friendly...
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