Herman Miller Inc.

Topics: Financial ratio, Financial ratios, Gross profit Pages: 24 (7041 words) Published: April 6, 2014
Question 1: Herman Miller’s Strategies: evidence on its competitive advantage and good financial performance 1. Corporate Strategy: Diversified Strategy
From the headquarters of Herman Miller Inc., Curt Pullen talks amid the unmistakable pounding sounds and commotion associated with a construction work site about his company's plan to rebound from the recession. Pullen, the firm's executive vice president and president of North America, says the workers are installing new lower-height Herman Miller workstations designed to accommodate a growing trend in offices toward more open, collaborative environments. The new product, called Canvas, is part of the company's market-shift strategy after the demand for office furniture fell hard during the economic downturn. The plan also involves diversifying into the health care and academic furniture markets and more emphasis on emerging economies. The plan appears to be paying off. For the first time in nearly four years the company reported two consecutive quarters of double-digit percentage sales growth after releasing its second-quarter earnings statement on Dec 15th. Orders in the second quarter rose 34% to $462 million. CEO Brian Walker noted the company's expanded market reach as a contributing factor to growth. Significant increases occurred in international markets where sales rose 33%. In 2010 the company acquired UK-based ergonomic workstation manufacturer Colebrook Bosson Saunders and purchased assets from Australian furniture maker Living Edge Group. In 2008, the company announced a partnership with China's Posh Office Systems Ltd. to expand in the Asia-Pacific region. The company attributed a year-end surge to gains in its international, health care, learning and retail vertical markets. The expanding health care industry has become one of the company's key growth targets. One of the more recent expansions into the health care field came on Jan. 31 when Herman Miller completed its acquisition of health care furniture manufacturer Nemschoff Chairs LLC based in Sheboygan, Wis. Herman Miller designed the Canvas workstation at a lower height than traditional workstations to facilitate a workplace trend toward more collaborative environments. The design also allows more light into work areas and saves space, the company says. Including sinks and headwalls, to be reconfigured to meet patient needs. 2. Business Strategy: Broad Differentiation Strategies

This strategy pursues the buyer’s needs and preference to make them satisfied with the product. And to be different from other rivals, the product must have unique product attributes that a wide range of buyers find appealing and worth paying for. The strategy achieves its aim when an attractively large numbers of buyers find the customer buyer value proposition. Herman miller is pursuing this strategy as we refer to the case study that their products are based on the design which is designed according to the people who use the furniture. Like the president of Herman Miller said: ‘people are important not the furniture. Furniture should be useful’. Besides, this company emphasizes on product design and environmental friendly, these are two basic things that they have been practicing for many decades. Furthermore, they also invest more in research and development for product innovation. Take an example of office design product, Herman Miller’s Insight and Exploration team observed various workplaces to analyze how people collaborate and the ways in which their interactions vary over the course of a day, and throughout the life of a project by differentiating the subtleties of how, when, where, and why people connect independent of content or industry. Senior Researcher Shilpi Kumar notes that, “outlining these collaborative work behaviors will empower designers and decision makers with a greater understanding for how people really work, and will enable more informed choices in...

References: Adaptive Facilities Correlate to Patient Satisfaction (2013). Retrieved on December 03rd, 2013 from http://www.hermanmiller.com/research/research-summaries/adaptive-facilities-correlate-to-patient-satisfaction.html
Birchard, B
http://www.strategy-business.com/article/10206?pg=all
Hedging in practice (2013)
http://www.lme.com/en-gb/trading/risk-management/what-is-hedging/
Herman Miller Incorporation Annual Report (2011)
December 12th, 2013 from http://www.moneycrashers.com/reduce-materials-cost-goods-sold
New Technologies, New Behaviors (2013)
Recession business cost cutting (2013). Retrieved December 12th, 2013 from
www.basford.com/articles/recession-business-cost-cutting.html
http://ir.steelcase.com/financials.cfm#annuals
Students Research Work Behaviors Behind Innovation Spaces (2013)
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