Herman Miller Inc

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2003-01-17 Print this article Print

If it's possible for an office chair to create buzz, Herman Miller's Aeron did. But it's still counting on 3-D technology to juice sales.

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Herman Miller Inc. Base Case

Headquarters: 855 East Main Ave., Zeeland, MI 49464-0302

Phone: (888) 443-4357

Business: Manufacturer of high-end office furniture and related products and services for the workplace

Chief Information Officer: Gary VanSpronsen

Financials: Revenue, $1.47 billion; net loss, $56 million; net loss margin, -3.8% (fiscal year ended June 2, 2002)

Challenge: Lower expenses, improve sales and profitability, and increase inventory-turn rate


  • Steadily improve Economic Value Added, an earnings metric that measures how much more valuable a company becomes over time. Herman Miller EVA fell $71 million in fiscal 2002
  • Cut operating expenses as a percentage of revenue, from 35.4% in fiscal 2002
  • Grow sales 15% per year. In fiscal 2002, Herman Miller sales fell 34% to $1.5 billion
  • Increase inventory-turn rate, which stood at 21 days in fiscal 2002

David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.

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