Herman Miller Case

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Herman Miller, Inc. Case – Page C-319

Herman Miller, Inc. is a company that specializes in the production and manufacture of modern office furniture. The company began its reputation through product innovation and production processes which started in the 1920’s. In the path of their success, Herman Miller, Inc. has been able to pursue a path distinctively marked by reinvention and by renewal. I would say that in the beginning the company pursued a focused low-cost strategy. The initial items the company specialized in, is what the company perfected and grew to produce efficiently. However that was soon to change. This path was able to serve the company well for many a decade. With the passing of time the company instituted a Scanlon Plan which is a productivity incentive program that helps companies to find ways at being more productive in their product offering. This model helped the company a lot. With the usage of this the company then moved to having a differentiation strategy. They started to produce more products that were based on scientific observation and ergonomic principles…some of the same observations and principles that the company still utilizes today.

In the reading of the case it was difficult for me to pinpoint exact issues in Herman Miller, Inc’s. functional departments (i.e., HRM, Accounting, Finance, Operations, etc). However in the area of human resource management this was actually a strength of the company. Being routinely listed on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work for, applicants desires to work for the company were very strong. There were many employee incentive programs offered that helped to boost the morale of employee and to retain the companies top performers. The finance department was considered a bit more conservative. Some issues that became was during the time of the recession when the debt-to-equity ratio rose. In order to improve these numbers the company sold more than 3 million shares of stock to help the...
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