AEM 437: Assignment 3
Herman March 25, 2008
CASE ANALYSIS: MILLER SQA
In 1982, Miller SQA sought to recycle the used furniture of its parent company, Herman Miller, in
order to allow it’s customers to trade in old furniture for new furniture.
With this innovative business idea,
there was a need for Miller SQA to generate a new business model.
The following analyzes each component
as it relates to Miller SQA:
: When analyzing the value proposition of Miller SQA, it is important to understand what
customer problem Miller SQA was attempting to solve and how big of a problem this was to the customer.
When large companies, that were Herman Miller’s core customer base, were ready to update their work
spaces, they wanted a way to recover some of the capital they had previously invested.
A solution to this
problem was the development of Miller SQA and its refurbishing segment. Later on the subsidiary moved
into the field of providing new furnishings for smaller firms. As such, the value proposition became
in process of product selection and ordering;
response time to
delivering orders; and the ability to provide these services at an
: After identifying a clear value proposition, targeting a specific market establishes
what must be done in the technical domain. The business model of Miller SQA targeted small- to medium-
sized organizations seeking to buy office furniture products. Customers of Miller SQA highly valued
attributes such as ease of ordering, accessibility, product availability, responsiveness and dependability. As
such, Miller SQA had to provide a service that catered to the needs of a smaller company that may not have
the knowledge base for complex ordering processes or necessary capital. The focus switched from a product-
centered approach of production to an order-centered approach to production that better suited the needs of
their new customer base. Several systems emerged: Z-Axis, PMC, ERP, EnSync, Supply Net, which enabled
the ease of ordering, production and delivery of Miller SQA furniture.
: The value chain began with the Z-Axis software.
Because Z-Axis was developed specifically
for Miller SQA, it gave the subsidiary a huge advantage in the marketplace for the sales representatives and
dealers that used it.
The customer utilized the order entry and order status programs as well as
images/models produced by AutoCAD.
Within two hours, the customer received confirmation, complete
with shipping and installation dates. The Enterprise Resource Planning system and Expert Scheduling
module identified the framework for manufacturing and critical component material availability. EnSync
allowed for each order to be built in one sequence. SupplyNet created supplier delivery and quality
performance scorecards in order to monitor how well they were meeting the standards of Miller SQA.
Finally, the product(s) was delivered and installed in the customer’s office.