Monday, January 20, 2014

A Sustaining Table for 2 Please, Thank You.

As an adult who likes to make purchases and remain fiscally conservative I admit falling for the sexy price tags that IKEA has to offer.  Who doesn't want super cool furniture shaped to fit all shapes and sizes of the human body and serve as conversation pieces when entertaining?  We walk into this amazing display and picture ourselves with various pieces only to know that it looks great here, how will it look when I get home and attempt to put it together. IKEA is the godfather of furniture and well recognized all around the world.  175 stores in 32 countries leave this massive blue and yellow structure as one of the most recognizable to any consumer.  

After reading How IKEA Designs Its Sexy Price Tags (Business 2.0, October 2002)  I have to wonder, is the supply chain management really being handled in sophisticated way?  I remember first shopping at IKEA 10 years ago.  Four step directions and bam!  I had an entertainment center!  Five years later after 6 steps I had a buffet and self designed table.  This was fun and very easy on my wallet.  Last year I purchased the Tarva 5 drawer chest for a sexy $99.00.  After step 2 it’s still sitting in my spare room unfinished.  I didn't get lazy, I lost hope.  Even after diligently following directions with sheer enthusiasm, boards were splitting, drawer tracks were sticking, screws were losing their smooth groove and I lost my overall groove.  With the first experience to the most recent one I noticed a significant decline in product quality.

The positive side of IKEA is the affordability.  The obvious downfall in my opinion is the use of cheap materials from all over the world that end up neatly packaged in small boxes for our purchase, this topped off with a few steps to make the magic happen.   Scaling down on product material is a great way to lower costs in the supply chain management process. Nevertheless, IKEA is going to keep getting bigger and the 175 stores will multiply in years to come.  I have to ask, if increasing supplies for the IKEA demand means lowering the company’s overall quality of product how will they sustain when a sexy $99.00 Tarva dresser sits hopelessly in a quiet corner of one’s home?  

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