Operations Management Case Study Questions Maria Yee, Inc. Read the case study and then spend time browsing mariayee. com. You will also need to research additional material related to Maria Yee, Inc. , as well as Ikea, the Forest Stewardship Council, etc. Answer the following questions: 1. Research and attempt to assess the corporate culture at Ikea. Does the culture at Maria Yee, Inc. appear to be different than the culture at Ikea, or are the two cultures similar? 1.
Which aspects of Maria Yee’s personal background do you think instilled in her the passion that she has for environmental issues in general, and for building furniture in a way that is less impactful to the environment? 2. Research some ways in which other furniture companies have organized their supply chain operations. Provide some examples of companies that still produce furniture within the U. S. (including cutting, millwork, assembly, etc. ). Does it appear to be common for furniture companies to OWN offshore factories? Do you think that owning and running its own factories gives Maria Yee Inc. competitive advantage, or is this “vertically-integrated” approach inefficient? 3. Ikea’s business model relies heavily on assembly by consumers (i. e. , minimal “case goods” are carried by Ikea). Does Ikea promote any “green” products or processes? Are Ikea and Maria Yee Inc. targeting the same market segments? Explain. What other international companies specialize in producing furniture requiring assembly by the consumer? For example, most of the furniture sold in Wal-Mart comes in this manner, but who actually makes it? 4. How would you characterize the personal management style of Ms. Maria Yee?
Is this management style beneficial or detrimental when it comes to running and improving operations at her two Chinese factories? 5. On page 7, in the second paragraph, the statement is made, “The company used a ‘made-to-order’ model in which nothing was pre-made and it essentially held no inventory. ” What are the pros and cons of this approach? Do you think Maria Yee Inc. still uses this practice today? See if you can get an estimate of the lead time for a typical Maria Yee product. For example, check the Crate & Barrel website, etc. 6. Do any other furniture companies tout certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?
List a few, if any are found. 7. In the case, Maria Yee stated, “We don’t think going green has to be premium-priced. ” Do you agree with this statement? How does Maria Yee Inc. manage to keep prices on its furniture within the upper-middle price point? Do you feel that “green” products generally cost more money? 8. Bamboo has steadily moved “up the value chain” (as stated on page 10), thanks in part to the efforts of Maria Yee Inc. Is there any supply chain risk associated with creating furniture using higher-quality bamboo and eco-friendly glue and finishes?