Mr. Bruce Richardson
Principles of Management
20 October 2014
IKEA is On Top of the Furniture World
There are certain necessities that consumers will buy in their lifetime. Furniture is on the top of that list. With so many consumers shopping to decorate and make their homes livable, there is a definite competition out in the furniture world today. One company name stands out more than others. IKEA sits with a high reputation among consumers and other businesses. They not only strive to make contemporary and stylish furniture pieces, but also make their inventory affordable enough that the average person would be able to buy it. Although there are many furniture companies competing to be successful, IKEA leads the charts as number one.
IKEA started its journey in 1943 by the company’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad (Bing, Zaleski and Gediman). The journey was conceptualized much earlier than that though. Kamprad had envisioned having his own business at the age of 5. Starting out at the age of only 17, Kamprad is given some reward money by his father (IKEA). With this money, he uses it to establish his own business, IKEA. IKEA originally sold pens, wallets, picture frames, watches, and jewelry; Not furniture. Furniture was introduced 5 years later in 1948. The response to the first line of furniture is quite positive, so Kamprad continues to expand the line. With his success, Kamprad decides that he would like to sell the furniture on a larger scale. In 1951, the IKEA catalog is born. In today’s world, this catalog is still very sought after and anticipated every season. Not only are the catalogs popular, but also the furniture showrooms. This feature was added in 1953 and gave IKEA most of the competitive advantage at that time. For the first time, customers can feel, touch, and look at IKEA furniture without ordering it. This innovation was also a success.
IKEA was now climbing the scales of the furniture market. To only further this success, in 1956, Kamprad comes up with an idea of how to get customers to take this furniture home in a safe, but also convenient way to consumers. IKEA then focused on flat packaging and self-assembly. The impact of this idea was so highly positive, it became the staple of IKEA as we know it today (IKEA). To add to this combination of IKEA staples, particleboard was introduced in 1968. Because of particleboard’s inexpensive and easy-to-process reputation, IKEA soars in the market. The price of furniture was unbeatable at IKEA and the consumers knew about it. IKEA made its mark in the furniture world with these winning concepts.
Fast forward to 2011, IKEA sales soared to over $40 billion, or over 23% of the global furniture market (Jones and George). IKEA is now the largest furniture chain in the world having over 300 stores in 40 countries. Their innovations attract customers at all levels. Not only are customers able to purchase furniture at an affordable price, but also, the furniture is modern and sleek with a contemporary design. IKEA’s designs focus on simplicity and attention to detail that is popular throughout the world.
A company is only as strong as its weakest link. Kamprad’s core values stream throughout IKEA’s stores and into the employees themselves. When stepping foot into an IKEA store, you are greeted by employees that operate on the simplest rules and procedures. Kamprad prides himself on being frugal, hardworking in which he teaches his managers. All IKEA employees from the bottom to the top are all in business “together”, which means that every person who works in his global empire plays an essential role and has an obligation to everyone else (Jones and George). Once an employee is recruited to one of it’s many stores, they start learning about the culture and norms of the company. For example, someone being hired as a manager might go through a training process with the bottom line. The manager would see the production line and how they...
Cited: Bing, J., Zaleski, J., Gediman, P., & Abbott, C. “Leading by design: The IKEA story.” Publishers Weekly, 246 (1999): 174. Proquest. Web. 19 September 2014.
Ikea.com. Ad. Anonymous. 2014. Web. 5 October 2014.
Jones, Gareth and George, Jennifer. Contemporary Management. McGraw-Hill/Irwin: New York, 2014. Print.
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