1. IntroductionIKEA, the famous Swedish company, is the one of the largest furniture retailers in the world, which specializes in modern but inexpensive Scandinavian designed furniture. According to Echeat (2006), the IKEA had more than 175 stores spread over 31 countries at the end of 2002 and worldwide sales of about 12.8 billion euros in 2004. During the IKEA financial year 2001-2002, a total of 60,000 people are employed by IKEA worldwide and there are 323 million people visited IKEA stores around the world (Kronos, 2006).
IKEA's mission is to offer consumers good value for their money. The typical IKEA customer is young low to middle income family. IKEA's success in the retail industry can be attributed to its vast experience in the retail market, product differentiation, and cost leadership (Echeat, 2006). As a global organization, the company is the world's most successful retailing firms based on its unique concept that the furniture is sold in kits that are assembled by the customers at home.
1.1 Operating strategyIKEA dose not manufacture its own products, but works through a complex network of suppliers around the world to help company maintain its low-cost position. Actually, it has 1,800 suppliers in 55 countries. By providing the manufacturers with technical and financial assistance, IKEA establishes durable partnerships with furniture producers and suppliers. To secure suppliers and help suppliers develop, IKEA also has launched partnerships as joint owners in several countries including Poland, Russia, and China.
Due to "typically Swedish" style, all research and development activities are centralized in Sweden where determined what materials should be used and what manufacturers would do the assembly work. In addition to using high volume runs to cut costs, IKEA always believed that costs are kept under control starting at the design level of the value-added chain. IKEA...