Cradle to Cradle- Herman Miller Case Study

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Cradle-to-Cradle Design at Herman Miller: Moving Toward Environmental Sustainability

MGT 551 Operations Analysis
October 21, 2013

Cradle-to-Cradle Design at Herman Miller: Moving Toward Environmental Sustainability
Many organizations today claim they are environmentally friendly, their businesses are sustainable, or they work at minimizing their carbon footprint. While stating the claims may be easy, they take commitment of time and resources, a culture or homogeneity of vision, and a great deal of planning to implement. The complicated part is that the change cannot occur in just one facet of the organization, the change must carry across the organization and the entire supply chain.
Drew Schramm finds himself in a difficult position at the Herman Miller organization. His supply chain background is in conflict with the organization’s environmental sustainability position. While he may see easy money to be picked from the savings tree, it has now become forbidden fruit. The Herman Miller organization is committed to their stance of environmental sustainability and Schramm must now take that into serious consideration when making supply chain decisions. Their new chair design, the Mirra Chair, has yet to have a decision made on the construction and materials of its arm pads. They can either use the common polyvinyl chloride (PVC) that violates their cradle to cradle (C2C) protocol standards, thermoplastic urethane (TPU) which meets the C2C standards but is more expensive and unproven with production tooling at higher volumes, or come up with an alternate solution.
When one considers the organization’s mission and culture, the choices narrow down to either the safer TPU material or coming up with another solution completely. A company cannot go against their mission and still maintain their credibility with the consumer, industry, and employee base. The use…...

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