Operations management and product design… Two important areas each organization should focus on in order to differentiate itself from its competitors and become a success.
A very successful organization that has managed to become a very well known brand and a leader in its industry by developing its own operations management style and focusing on its product designs is IKEA. The IKEA vision is “To create a better everyday life for the many people.” Its business idea is to offer a wide range of well designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.
By focusing on product design, consumer value, clever solutions, and by using inexpensive materials in a novel way and minimizing production, distribution and retail costs, IKEA was able to offer its customers furnishing products at low prices compared to its competitors. The IKEA product range is developed to be extensive enough to have something that appeals to everyone and to cover all functions in the home. The products are modern not trendy so they are practical enough for everyday use. They are functional and appealing, and enable many people to improve their home life through practical solutions to everyday problems. Creative yet practical!
Not only that, IKEA products are subjected to rigorous tests to make sure that they meet national and international safety standards (Quality Management).
IKEA has developed a unique way to manage and craft its customer experience and therefore had become its core competence. Many organizations tried to copy this approach but so far none were met with success. The IKEA concept builds on a relationship with the consumer. IKEA is one of those stores with a great shopping experience that evokes word of mouth. I always look forward to my visits there. It is so much fun to just sit on all those couches or envision how that bedroom would look in my own house.
What IKEA management has done was that they have studied thoroughly the customers’ behavior and their hot buttons when it comes to shopping for furniture and focused on developing its shopping environment and operations in a different way from its competitors. They focused on developing unique ideas and solutions that meets different styles and tastes in reasonable budgets by featuring mock up rooms with different sizes and showcase how their products could fit in small rooms and houses.
They have also been very successful in creating some kind of a walkthrough experience from the entry point to exit point with having some arrows on the floor guiding the customers to move from one section to the other. In a way, they are leading you by hand to make your shopping experience more enjoyable.
It might look very simple when discussing the different aspects of a successful operations management in IKEA, but combined together, it is a force to reckon with. Do you not agree?