CASE STUDY REPORT
1. Brief Introduction to Herman Miller
Herman Miller, one of the biggest furniture manufacturers in the US, was the forerunner of product innovation and information systems’ application in the furniture business. Earlier than the competitors, Herman Miller adopted the information systems and information processing through its entire business process, which brought enormous competitive strength in the market.
2. Information Systems and Information Processing in Herman Miller
In the past, information systems used to be designed focusing on accounting, inventory and management, which are inside functions of a company. At present time, a number of these systems have broken the barriers between the different functions and set a tight link through customers, suppliers, and even competitors. The concept of value chain is developed by Michael Porter (Porter, 1985a; 1985b).
The major idea of the value chain is to discuss how the information technology influences the performance of the whole organization by being adopted in the process of product creation, development and sales to clients.” The value chain model views the firm as a series or chain of basic activities that add a margin of value to a firm’s products or services. These activities can be categorized as either primary activities or support activities.” (Kenneth C. and Jane P., Laudon, 2007, p.88).
There are five parts of primary activities of an organization: inbound logistics, operations, outbound logistics, marketing and sales, and customer service (Porter, 1985). How the information systems/processing of Herman Miller work and add value to the business is discussed in this section.
Z-Axis: Attractive features in marketing and sales
Product innovation became a very competitive strength of Herman Miller since 1990s. Z-Axis, a proprietary, interactive, 3D space planning software of Herman Miller, provided a brand new concept of real-time design of furnishing the whole offices. Customers...