Case Study Questions
Maria Yee, Inc.
Read the case study and then spend time browsing mariayee.com. You will also need to research additional material related to Maria Yee, Inc., as well as Ikea, the Forest Stewardship Council, etc.
Answer the following questions:
1. Research and attempt to assess the corporate culture at Ikea. Does the culture at Maria Yee, Inc. appear to be different than the culture at Ikea, or are the two cultures similar?
1. Which aspects of Maria Yee’s personal background do you think instilled in her the passion that she has for environmental issues in general, and for building furniture in a way that is less impactful to the environment?
2. Research some ways in which other furniture companies have organized their supply chain operations. Provide some examples of companies that still produce furniture within the U.S. (including cutting, millwork, assembly, etc.). Does it appear to be common for furniture companies to OWN offshore factories? Do you think that owning and running its own factories gives Maria Yee Inc. a competitive advantage, or is this “vertically-integrated” approach inefficient?
3. Ikea’s business model relies heavily on assembly by consumers (i.e., minimal “case goods” are carried by Ikea). Does Ikea promote any “green” products or processes? Are Ikea and Maria Yee Inc. targeting the same market segments? Explain. What other international companies specialize in producing furniture requiring assembly by the consumer? For example, most of the furniture sold in Wal-Mart comes in this manner, but who actually makes it?
4. How would you characterize the personal management style of Ms. Maria Yee? Is this management style beneficial or detrimental when it comes to running and improving operations at her two Chinese factories?
5. On page 7, in the second paragraph, the statement is made, “The company used a ‘made-to-order’ model in which nothing was...
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