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Customer Profile

Herman Miller Part Two

March 22nd, 2018 by oliviam

In last month’s e-newsletter we shared part one of our Herman Miller Customer Profile which featured Senior Design Exploration Lead, Marc Gierz. This article explored Herman Miller’s customer-focused design style and the challenges the design team faces.

This month we are sharing the second part of the Herman Miller feature with Supplier Development Manager, Zak Lotter. Herman Miller’s customer focus doesn’t end during the design process. It bleeds into every aspect of the company—including supply chain management.

This customer focus can be seen in the way that Lotter works on a day-to-day basis. He doesn’t design products, but he does design the supply chains that support products and ensure that customers get the best value possible.

Lotter said that one of the biggest challenges the Supply Chain Team faces is lead time expectations from customers. Because of things like Amazon Prime and the multitude of in-store pickup options available, people are becoming accustomed to getting items within days, sometimes even hours, of placing an order.

Herman Miller had to find a way to keep up with customer expectations. “We have to work internally and with suppliers and figure out how we can get better, faster and more flexible—without affecting price,” said Lotter.

“It’s a classic,” Lotter says of the Eames Lounge and Ottoman–one of his favorite HM products.

Lotter defined flexibility as being able to provide customers with special orders, whether that be color or style, within a similar lead time and for a similar price as standard items. In order to do this Lotter works with suppliers to develop fulfillment strategies that meet customer needs.

When we asked Lotter the one thing that current and potential customers should know about Herman Miller, he didn’t hesitate. “Our dedication to sustainability and environmental stewardship,” he said. “A core value that has been in the company culture for over 100 years.”

A lot of companies have jumped on the “go green” bandwagon. Studies continue to show that consumers prefer to buy environmentally friendly products and are willing to pay more for these products. For Herman Miller this isn’t a new practice, or about being trendy. Their dedication to the environment dates back to the founder, D.J. De Pree, and can be seen in the construction of their office spaces and in the materials used in their products.

At ITC, we’re proud to work with a company that values the environment just like we do.

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Herman Miller Part One

February 22nd, 2018 by oliviam

Inspiring designs to help people do great things.

Founded in 1905, Herman Miller works to provide solutions through inspiring designs in office, home, and healthcare. This Zeeland, Michigan based manufacturer is recognized for their modern designs, Herman Miller has worked with a number of renowned designers such as Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson and Alexander Girard. Recently, they have worked with Ayse Birsel, Yves Béhar and Joey Ruiter.

ITC has been working with Herman Miller since the early 1980s. We recently had the chance to visit Herman Miller’s Design Yard and chat with Marc Gierz, a Senior Design Exploration Lead in the Herman Miller Innovation Kitchen.

Gierz has been with the company for 33 years and has always been in design. He tells us that 33 years sounds like a long time, but opportunities within HM have kept his job interesting and fresh. “I have a lot of freedom to work on different things,” says Gierz, who has worked on everything from seating and lighting to office storage systems.

Gierz said that the Mark Goetz Sofa is one of his favorite Herman Miller products.

We asked what challenges the design team is faced with and Gierz pointed out that every project has its own unique challenges. Herman Miller focuses on problem solving design—no matter what the price point of a product may be—each product has to embody the “Miller DNA.” Gierz also stated that he works with “crazy smart and crazy dedicated” coworkers who go above and beyond to resolve any problems that arise.

Herman Miller is a customer focused brand, with Gierz telling us that the company demonstrates that principle by taking everything to the next level for customers.

When asked what new and exciting products we can expect from Herman Miller in the future, Gierz couldn’t share much information but told us that, “there is always something cooking in the [Herman Miller Innovation] kitchen to be excited about.”

ITC can’t wait to see the next great thing from Herman Miller; maybe it will be a product that ITC will be a part of.

Learn more about Herman Miller.

Learn more about ITC.

Read part two of our Herman Miller Customer Profile featuring Zak Lotter, Supplier Development Manager. 

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