When you think of “ease of assembly”, you normally don't think of furniture. The first challenge in trying to figure out how to get the pieces home before you can event start. Then you have to decipher the instructions only to end up with something that doesn't look like what you saw in the store and with extra pieces. We're never quite sure where we went wrong. The one company that has focused on making it easy for you to assemble your furniture is IKEA.
In 1943, when Ingvar Kamprad was 17, his father gave him a gift for succeeding in his studies. The gift was used to establish his own business. The name IKEA was formed from the founder's initials (I.K.) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up. IKEA originally sold pens, wallets, picture frames, table runners, watches, jeweler and nylon stockings—whatever Ingvar found a need for that he could fill with a product at a reduced price.
So what was the catalyst that drove IKEA to innovate in furniture?
There were several reasons for IKEA to start designing its own furniture. But what actually led to this was quite ironic. Pressure from their competitors caused the suppliers of furniture to boycott IKEA. This reaction to their early success of offering good quality at a low price required them to begin designing their own furniture, and became the basis for future growth. Ultimately, this would lead to innovative design and improved function at lower prices. Then, by lucky inspiration, one early IKEA employee decided to remove a table’s legs so it would fit into a car, and to avoid transport damage. From that point on, they began to think in terms of design for flat packaging. Which led to even further reductions in price for our customers. A pattern had begun to establish itself at IKEA. Turning problems into opportunities.
Designing products so that they can be packed flat and assembled by the customers greatly reduces their cost. This was obvious from the very first day they took the legs off a table and put it in a car. They can ship more items in one truck, less storage space is required, labor costs are reduced and transport damages are avoided. For the customer, this means lower priced products and easy transportation home. But all of this began carefully, one product at a time
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Source: Ikea website