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jerryking : furniture   23

Ikea dismantles tradition to seek inspiration from car industry
October 2, 2019 | Financial Times Richard Milne in Oslo.

Sometimes the complexity of their own companies can surprise top managers. Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of the owner of the Ikea brand, looks wide-eyed as he describes how the furniture retailer has nearly 100 different cabinets, sometimes with only 4-5 millimetres difference between models.

In storage solutions it has Pax wardrobes, Godmorgon bathroom cabinets, Metod in the kitchen and Besta in the living room — similar products but with subtly different heights or widths, making things difficult not just for the customer but also for Ikea itself.

So the world’s largest furniture retailer has looked to the car industry for inspiration. Platforms have dramatically changed the process of making cars — different models with vastly different pricing can be built on the same basic chassis. Changes are made between models on the things customers see — like the dashboard and entertainment systems — but much of the back-end that is invisible to drivers can be common.

Now Ikea is looking to bring platforms into home furnishing....Ikea is experimenting with city-centre and smaller shops as well as services such as home delivery and assembly. It is looking into renting out furniture instead of selling it, and smart home technology that brings it up against Silicon Valley.

Its platform initiative is one of its most important, albeit largely invisible to customers. Much still remains to be worked out such as just how much is common between different products — a dilemma recognisable from the car industry where Volkswagen faced complaints that there was little difference between VW and Skoda models except for the price.....standardisation should lead to lower prices for both it and customers. ....“How can we scale up in an efficient way? It’s difficult if we make each product uniquely. With platforms, it’s easier to adjust to new markets,” ...The new approach is not without risks though. Developing new platforms can be a costly business and in the car industry has often led to just as much complexity as before, particularly in companies like VW that are known for overengineering their vehicles, or confusion among consumers as to how big a difference there is between supposedly rival products.

Mr Loof is aware of the problem. “We need to define what makes sense to have on the platform and what not,” he says. “If you go too far you can arguably say you have decreased your range offer.”....for the furniture group, facing the same rapid changes in the retail landscape that have caused dozens of brands to fail, there is a feeling that it needs to do as much as it can even if it is likely to have failures on the way.
automotive_industry  CEOs  complexity  furniture  home_furnishing  Ikea  inspiration  platforms  retailers  risks  small_spaces  standardization  Torbjörn_Lööf 
october 2019 by jerryking
Ikea looks to launch sales platform that would include rival products
February 12, 2019 | Financial Times | Richard Milne in Almhult.

Ikea is exploring the launch of an online sales platform offering furniture not just from the famous flat-pack retailer but also from rivals as part of its big transformation...........

Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of Inter Ikea, added: “It is also about how you connect. If you take home furnishings, for instance — how you connect communities, how you connect knowledge, how you connect the home. It’s not only furniture, it’s paintings, it’s the do-it-yourself part. There are many different constellations that can and will evolve over the years to come.”
Alibaba  Amazon  brands  clothing  e-commerce  experimentation  fashion  furniture  home-assembly  Ikea  leasing  opportunities  platforms  retailers  third-party  Zalando  rivalries  digital_strategies  Torbjörn_Lööf  coopetition 
february 2019 by jerryking
Ikea furniture does not need to fall apart
Consumer companies can avoid an environmental dystopia by refurbishing and reusing more
FEBRUARY 6, 2019 | Financial Times | JOHN GAPPER
John Gapper
disposability  furniture  IKEA  refurbished 
february 2019 by jerryking
Why Crate and Barrel’s CEO Isn’t Worried About Amazon WSJ
March 20, 2018 | WSJ | By Khadeeja Safdar.

Furniture has been late to shift online, but it is now one of the fastest-growing segments of e-commerce. Competition from online players such as Wayfair Inc. and big-box stores like Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. has put pressure on furniture chains. Amazon.com Inc. has been making a major push into the home-furnishings business, too.
retailers  furniture  Amazon  social_media  decluttering 
march 2018 by jerryking
Hidden language of the streets - FT.com
March 6, 2015 | FT| Edwin Heathcote.

Each city has its own visual and filmic shorthand for its streetscape (should read "cityscape"). There are the monuments — the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, the Empire State Building and so on, but at street level there are markers of urban identity as potent as the great monuments and which, in fact, have a far more meaningful impact on everyday life, as the fragments that form the backdrop against which we live our public lives.
...Street furniture and the in-between architecture that populates the pavements defines the experience of walking through the city. ...Streets and their furniture are designed for an ideal public but they can also be vehicles of control....The question is, what kind of meaning does our contemporary streetscape communicate? Throughout the history of public space, urban markers have been used to convey a sense of place, of centre, connection and of context. ....Then there is a rich layer of what we might call in-between architecture, the market stalls, newsstands, food carts and hot-dog stands, caramelised-nut vendors and seafood stalls. To a large extent these are among the elements that make up the experience of the city yet they are rarely regarded as architecture. Instead they represent an ad-hoc series of developments that have evolved to an optimum efficiency....This layer expresses the story of the desires, the fears, the entrepreneurialism and the attitude to privacy of a city. But the most intriguing thing is that it is simultaneously an expression of the top-down and the bottom-up city.
cities  design  identity  architecture  public_spaces  furniture  cityscapes  iconic  top-down  bottom-up  street_furniture  streetscapes  overlay_networks  streets  landmarks  shorthand 
march 2015 by jerryking
IKEA's Path to Selling 150 Million Meatballs - WSJ.com
Oct. 16, 2013 | WSJ | By Jens Hansegard.

When IKEA decided to sell food, it chose to do it in much the same way it sells furniture: a few standardized staples, sold in large quantities. The result: 150 million meatballs.

That is the number IKEA estimates will be dished out in store cafeterias this year. Though the Swedish company is better known for its inexpensive, assembly-required furniture, its IKEA Food division is a behemoth, rivaling Panera Bread and Arby's, with nearly $2 billion in annual revenue. The company estimates about 700 million people this year will eat in one of the cafeterias that are located in 300 IKEA stores world-wide. ...The idea of making a lot of food on site was considered too complicated. IKEA decided to outsource meatball production. While IKEA came up with the formula and specifications, a Swedish food supplier, Gunnar Dafgård AB, was contracted to supply them.
IKEA  meatballs  restaurants  Outsourcing  Swedish  Sweden  furniture  assembly-required  inexpensive  low-cost 
october 2013 by jerryking
Art DeFehr: Immigration activist not an armchair CEO - The Globe and Mail
GORDON PITTS

Charlottetown — The Globe and Mail

Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012,
Gordon_Pitts  furniture  manufacturers  Manitoba  career_paths  HBS 
november 2012 by jerryking
Leon’s buys rival The Brick, to take on U.S. retailers - The Globe and Mail
Marina Strauss - Retailing Reporter

The Globe and Mail

Last updated Monday, Nov. 12 2012,
furniture  retailers  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Marina_Strauss 
november 2012 by jerryking
IKEA's New Catalogs: Less Pine, More Pixels - WSJ.com
August 23, 2012, 10:27 a.m. ET

IKEA's New Catalogs: Less Pine, More Pixels
Computer-Generated Images Aim to Save Money on Marketing Costs as Photographers Are Retrained to Apply Skills to 3-D Scenes

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By JENS HANSEGARD
Ikea  diversification  furniture 
october 2012 by jerryking
Book Review: Mahogany - WSJ.com
October 19, 2012, 2:44 p.m. ET

The Wood That Could
Mahogany furniture commissioned by the rich and fashionable of the American colonies has been prized for 250 years.

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By KIRK DAVIS SWINEHART
furniture  book_reviews  lumber  timber  craftsmanship  wood_products 
october 2012 by jerryking
Know When to Hold 'em, Know When to Fold 'em
February 10, 2005 | NYT | By CAITLIN KELLY

Nine days before Christmas, Jonathan Rosen of Scarsdale, N.Y., shut down Mobelex Designs, the home-office furniture retailer and wholesaler that he founded eight years earlier. In its early years, his company prospered, but then a combination of global forces knocked him to his knees: the Internet meltdown; the economic slump; a stronger euro, which hurt him as he bought primarily from Spanish and Italian makers; and cheap imports from China.

Not long after, Mr. Rosen did the unthinkable for many in the entrepreneurial world: instead of trying his luck in another business venture, he took a job in corporate America for the security of a weekly paycheck. "Sometimes it's a smart idea to start a business," he said, "and sometimes it's a smart idea to end a business."

Small businesses fail all the time. Gene Marks, author of The Small Business Desk Reference, says their average lifespan is about eight and a half years. According to the Small Business Administration, about 550,000 small businesses close each year.
entrepreneur  failure  small_business  furniture  retailers 
june 2012 by jerryking
Ways to make excellence pay
October 17, 2007 | FT | By Alicia Clegg.

Bruce Hodgson, founder of Artichoke, a company that designs and makes bespoke fitted furniture for the very rich, has little ambition to be the biggest brand in his sector – but he would like to be the best. The same can be said of perfumer Linda Pilkington, creator of Ormonde Jayne, and Sean Dixon and Richard James, co-founders of Richard James, a Savile Row tailoring business whose turnover (something in “excess of £7m [$14.2m, €10m]”) is less stellar than its reputation and celebrity-gilded client base might suggest.

Serving the super-wealthy has never been the preserve of brands with super-sized sales. Quite the reverse. What the super-rich long for are not luxury labels but one-off, superbly crafted goods. Serving such customers allows talented artisans to work at the pinnacle of their craft. With this opportunity, however, comes a challenge: finding a business model that rewards exceptional skill.....The business model emboldening Mr Hodgson to raise his commercial sights grew from a partnership, in 1998, with the late David Telling, founder of the entrepreneurial business services company Mitie Group. Invited to pitch for a contract to make a boardroom table, Mr Hodgson produced a quote that Mr Telling dismissed as "too expensive". Something must have impressed him, however, as he personally invested £70,000 in Artichoke, donated land for a bigger workshop and became chairman.

Under Mr Telling'sstringent tutelage, Mr Hodgson swapped hand-to-mouth bookkeeping for management accounting. Artichoke learnt to break down the cost of complex projects and value work in pro-gress to a far higher degree of accuracy than most artisan businesses. Once certain of the numbers, Mr Hodgson developed a "contractually rigid approach" to payment. This gave him the confidence to tackle complicated proj-ects, in which deviations from the customer's original specifications can leave small contractors facing big losses.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  bespoke  brands  business_models  craftsmanship  furniture  high_net_worth  Savile_Row  mens'_clothing  fragrances  luxury  management_accounting  hand-to-mouth  one-of-a-kind  professionalization 
may 2012 by jerryking
Forget Stocks—Chinese Turn Bullish On Booze and Caterpillar Fungus - WSJ.com
JANUARY 30, 2012 |WSJ | By DINNY MCMAHON.

Forget Stocks—Chinese Turn Bullish on Booze and Caterpillar Fungus
Investors Chase Returns in Strange Places; A Wild Ride in 'Roaring Yellow River'...With Chinese stocks falling, real-estate markets flat and bank deposits offering measly returns, Chinese investors have been looking for help in strange places. Besides traditional medicinal products, they are plowing money into art-based stock markets, homegrown liquors, mahogany furniture and jade, among other decidedly non-Western asset classes....The problem for Chinese investors is that returns have evaporated from more traditional markets. Real estate was once China's favorite investment, but government efforts to contain price increases and keep housing affordable have led to price stagnation and even declines in some cities. China's major stock exchange in Shanghai is down almost 20% since the beginning of 2011. Bank deposit rates are lower than the pace of inflation, meaning savers effectively pay banks for the privilege of handling their money.

"There really are very few investment channels," says Ren Jun, a 30-year-old media entrepreneur with investments in contemporary art, antiques, gold and silver. "That's why I'm kind of forcing myself to be brave in trying new options."
China  investing  investors  personal_finance  financial_planning  asset_classes  diversification  art  collectibles  commodities  alternative_investments  antiques  furniture  collectors 
january 2012 by jerryking
Two for the show
Nov. 21, 2006 | Report on [Small] Business Magazine | JIM SUTHERLAND
trade_shows  bespoke  furniture 
december 2011 by jerryking
Suddenly, the World is Their Market - Slide Show - NYTimes.com
The Web has changed the way that artisans sell their wares,
helping to overcome marketing and distribution hurdles. On Web sites
like Etsy, DaWanda, 1000 Markets, ArtFire and Silkfair, people all over
the world can see — and buy — handmade jewelry, clothing, artwork,
ceramics and furniture. And many artisans aren't stopping there. They're
creating their own Web sites and social networking accounts, too.
Etsy  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  handmade  websites  jewelers  clothing  artwork  ceramics  furniture 
august 2010 by jerryking
Finding New Life (and Profit) in Doomed Trees - NYTimes.com
Aug. 7, 2010 | NYT | By LAWRENCE W. CHEEK. Seth Meyer and
John Wells harvest local urban trees doomed by development, disease or
storm damage, and turn them into custom furniture, each piece a distinct
botanical narrative. Their business, started 4 yrs. ago, bears all the
markers that would seem to point toward collapse and extinction in a
recessionary economy: founded on idealism and emotion & riddled with
huge and unavoidable inefficiencies. And it tenders a high-end product
that asks buyers to take risks and have faith. Yet the company, Meyer
Wells, has thrived. It’s been profitable from the start with rev.
growing annually; $850 K last yr. and tracking to top $1 M this yr.
There are now 9 employees, and the furniture commissions have blown well
beyond suburban kitchens to high-visibility clients (e.g. Starbucks,
the Univ. of Washington). ...Green bus. fail for the same reasons others
do: racing too far ahead of the mkt. or failing to control costs.
bespoke  furniture  green  small_business  authenticity  sustainability  lumber  timber  craftsmanship  design  wood_products 
august 2010 by jerryking
Mining the golden years
Feb. 19, 2010 | The Globe & Mail | by RASHA MOURTADA.
""Aging is the largest growing business in the world," says Jane
Barratt, secretary-general of the Toronto-based International Federation
on Ageing. "It's going to happen to all of us." Furniture and home
design are key. "It affects everything from the height of the bed,
automatic taps in the bathroom, how to get in and out of furniture," Dr.
Barratt says. "In Japan, we already have kitchen cabinets that can go
up and down to adjust for height."

Equally as important are technology advances in the home that will
support independent living. Smart phones are being transformed from
Web-browsing devices to tools that can measure vital signs and deliver
that information to family and doctors. Sensor technology that will send
alerts if a person with dementia wanders beyond certain boundaries is
being developed. And we're already seeing communication tools that will
more easily enable older people to stay in touch with family.
Rasha_Mourtada  aging  opportunities  demographic_changes  baby_boomers  furniture  design 
february 2010 by jerryking
More mileage to gain from bikes and B-52s
January 10, 2007 | Financial Times pg. 9 | By Alan Cane who
reviews "The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since
1900," by David Edgerton. Oxford University Press

Edgerton pursues three propositions:

First, that conventional histories of technological progress are partial, incomplete and weighted towards innovation and invention.

Second, that older technologies – the guillotine, the rickshaw, corrugated iron and the horse among them – have an importance in the modern world that is often overlooked by “innovation-centric” pundits.

Third, that “to rethink the history of technology is necessarily to rethink the history of the world”.
.....Edgerton targets what he perceives as sloppy and clichéd thinking that celebrates the new and innovatory and ignores the old and useful..... Edgerton attacks authors who treat the history of technology as a succession of “boys toys”, who laud their innovators and inventors as heroes, and who play down the importance of copying, adapting and transferring......Edgerton argues that Ikea, the Swedish retailer, is a “wonderful” example of his arguments. “First, of the continuing significance of what we take to be old, in this case, not just furniture, but wooden furniture, supplied obviously by forests. In terms of industry, it exemplifies beautifully the extension rather than the retreat of mass production, and its globalisation, producing fantastically cheap outputs. In terms of service industries it is an example of mass retailing and mass consumption of identical goods.”......not all technologies are successful, that economics and culture play a big part in the rate at which technologies are adopted by particular countries and how long they continue to be useful, and that innovation is not a sure road to prosperity.....investments in research and development does not necessarily lead to economic growth and that change is more frequently the result of the transfer of technologies between companies and countries.
book_reviews  reverse_innovation  think_threes  Ikea  furniture  R&D  books  policymakers  technology_transfers  copycats  technology  adaptability  mass_production 
february 2010 by jerryking
reportonbusiness.com: Changing Gears
April 25, 2008 | Globe & Mail | by JOSHUA KNELMAN. Their
goal: Improve the experience of cancer patients at Toronto's Princess
Margaret Hospital. GEAR 1 DEEP USER UNDERSTANDING - Grichko and Leung
spent weeks hanging around PMH. GEAR 2 IDEATION AND PROTOTYPING The team
sat down with 20 PMH staffers—managers, surgeons, nurses and support
workers. "The idea of brainstorming is to have no limits—think big,"
says Leung. GEAR 3 STRATEGIC BUSINESS DESIGN Grichko and Leung asked
two key questions: "What do we need, and what's possible?" The answer
was simple: to create a better waiting-room chair
brainstorming  design  design_thinking  furniture  hospitals  idea_generation  ideation  innovation  MBAs  observations  OCAD  product_design  prototyping  Rotman  strategic_thinking  thinking_big 
february 2009 by jerryking

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