Operation Management

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How might IKEA’s operations design is different from that of most conventional furniture retail operations? Discuss the operations design while analyzing the positive contributions towards customer satisfaction and company’s growth.

Being one of the famous brands for furniture, IKEA has its own operations design that had been proven successful based on the growth of the company throughout the years of business. IKEA’s vision is clear which is ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’ and aims to offer well-designed and functional furniture at a very low price that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.

Unlike other convention furniture retail, IKEA stores are located at the most strategic location in major cities with high population density to capture as much target audiences in that area (Ikeafans, n.d). The designs of IKEA stores are large in size (Fabian, 2006). It features not just the showrooms but also other facilities such as a large car park to accommodate large volume of vehicles and ease customer frustration to find parking space. Where else conventional furniture retails are small and usually does not such facility.

In terms of product, IKEA offers a wide range of furniture for home and workplace use. By providing a wide selection of furniture, customers can choose the furniture that best suit their style and purposes that creates value for customers (Jacobson, n.d). It is vital to have a wide range of selection for customers to choose because everyone does have different needs and wants especially in Malaysia that consist of multi racial people and also different culture. As compared with other conventional furniture retail, there are limited choices for customers due to the size of the store that could not provide as much variety of furniture as IKEA does.

One can easily recognized the design of the furniture that IKEA offers because of its modem, simple and yet functional design. The design of IKEA furniture take space efficiency into consideration where customer does not have to worry if the furniture will take up a lot of space of their house and looks bulky. Some of the designs also allow customer to assemble their furniture in many ways allowing them to DIY according to their style. Furniture is usually designed in a ‘flat pack’ for easy transportation that customer pick up home and assembles at home (Wisegeek, n.d). This eliminates the need of having large transport to move the furniture from the warehouse to customers house and also reduce workforce to carry heavy and fully assembled furniture into customer’s house. This contributes to IKEA’s cost efficiency concept that able to offer furniture at a very low price. Whereby customer might have to pay extra charges for transportation and labor work if they purchase their furniture from other conventional furniture retail.

The whole IKEA stores are built based on self-service concept therefore every part of the store is designed to guide customers throughout the whole buying process. In the entrance of each IKEA stores, there are large notice boards providing advice to customers who never been to IKEA and information such as the location of the specific type of products that customers are looking for. Catalogues are also provided to provide further details and illustrations.

Although IKEA stores are designed on self-service concept, customers can at any time request for assistance for sales representative if needed (IKEA, n.d). This would encourage customers to make their own decision to choose what they really like instead of other conventional furniture retail where sales representative suggesting products that might not fit the needs and wants of customers. Besides that there is a specially designed space for children to play and a small cinema where parents can leave their children to have fun under supervised environment so parents can have a better shopping experience (IKEA, n.d). There is also...
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