BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE : APRIL 3, 2000 ISSUE
BUSINESS WEEK E.BIZ -- STRATEGIES

The Making of SQA Furniture


SQA, Herman Miller's ''Simple, Quick, and Affordable'' line of office furniture, is aimed at smaller companies with five to 150 employees. To accommodate demand for fast turnaround and lower prices, the company has turned to the Web to cut inventory, reduce costs, and slash delivery times. It has also narrowed the number of options to just a few dozen compared with the hundreds of variations available from the company's $1.6 billion main unit

STEP 1
SQA sends salesperson armed with 3D design software to customer's office. Customer selects furniture from limited range of options, choosing colors, configurations, and styles. Variants are shown on laptop computer screen in 3D, while costs of various options are tallied by program.

STEP 2
Customer settles on furniture and an office layout. Salesperson generates a final bill, logs onto the Net, and zaps order to Herman Miller factories in Michigan or California. Within two hours, customer receives e-mail confirmation of delivery date. Scheduling software reserves time and day for production, and space is reserved on delivery truck. Another e-mail notifies the local dealer to schedule a crew to install order.

STEP 3
On manufacturing day, order is broken down into components, and employees on various production lines start work at the same time. Factory workers gather parts for the order, staple fabrics on chairs and screens, and assemble the furniture. When delivery truck arrives, components are brought together on loading dock. Several times a day, suppliers head to SQA Web site to check order volumes to see if inventory is running low and needs restocking.

STEP 4
Furniture is installed on customer site between three days and two weeks after date of sale. System provides nearly 99% on-time deliveries.



_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

BACK TO TOP
RELATED ITEMS
Reinventing Herman Miller

TABLE: Building Furniture on Internet Time

TABLE: The Making of SQA Furniture



INTERACT
E-Mail to Business Week Online

 
Copyright 2000-2009, Bloomberg L.P.
Terms of Use   Privacy Notice