IKEA and Ori Partner for Robotic Product Design

IKEA and Ori Partner for Robotic Product Design

IKEA is partnering with Ori, an American startup, to offer robotic furniture that fits a bed, couch, desk, and storage in less than 115 square feet of space.

That’s an ideal solution for small apartment dwellers.  With a push of a button, a bed can slide under the unit or a desk can be retracted to open up floor spaces, turning limited quarters into smart spaces.


Video Spotlight: Robotic furniture transforms studio apartments


This post is based on the Engadget article, IKEA is working on robotic furniture for small apartments, by Christine Fisher, June 5, 2019; and the YouTube video, Robotic furniture transforms studio apartments, by NJ.com, December 22, 2017. Image source: Ingram Publishing

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the factors that drive IKEA to create a line of robotic furniture?

Guidance: Ori is a technology start-up that has designed furniture for modern living in very small spaces. Ikea wants to take advantage of the urban living trend where space is valuable and scarce, and people struggle with the challenge of small apartment living.

2. What is the operational significance of IKEA’s robotic furniture?

Guidance: The robotic furniture represents IKEA’s latest innovation in Continue reading

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Walmart’s Bricks-and-Mortar Footprint VS Amazon

Walmart’s Bricks-and-Mortar Footprint VS Amazon

Did you know 90% of Americans live within ten miles of a Walmart? To compete with Amazon, Walmart is leveraging its physical footprint. Its strategy includes:

  1. doubling stores as warehouses, allowing online shoppers to order at the last minute and pick up orders from self-service stations
  2. using machine learning techniques to restock frequently ordered items and prevent stock out
  3. equipping employees with an optimization app that charts employee’s shortest path to fulfill eight different orders at once
  4. using robots to stroll around store aisles to alert a store employee to restock items
  5. using robots to unload trucks and sort boxes, giving priority to out of stock items for easier re-shelving

This post is based on the Fast Company article, The clever way Walmart is trying to beat Amazon, by Katharine Schwab, March 19, 2019. Image source: Shutterstock / Jojje

Discussion Questions:

1. What operations strategies does Walmart use to compete with Amazon?

Guidance: Building on its vast physical presence, Walmart is competing with Amazon for online shoppers in two areas: delivery and ordering.

Walmart uses its warehouses for last-mile delivery saving storage and delivery costs while providing online shoppers with convenient and fast order fulfillment options.  Continue reading

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Walmart Going Toe-To-Toe With Prime?

Walmart Going Toe-To-Toe With Prime?

November 12, 2018

Walmart’s supply chain is becoming more customer-centric. Starting in November, customers can expect free two-day shipping with orders over $35 and in-store returns of items purchased online.

The in-store returns, in particular, are giving Walmart a competitive edge over Amazon which lacks a strong physical presence.

This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Walmart will expand 2-day shipping, in-store returns, by Shefali Kapadia, October 23, 2018 Image source: © David Schaffer / age fotostock.

Discussion Question:

1. What are the strategic impacts of Walmart’s service design changes?

Guidance: Free two-day shipping with orders over $35 and in-store returns are offered on items purchased from both Walmart and its third-party sellers.  These changes provide Walmart customers with a more seamless and uniform retail experience than its competitors like Amazon.

2. What are the supply chain impacts of Walmart’s service design changes?

Guidance: Faster shipping and easier returns will increase the demand for trucking capacity and present a major logistical challenge to Walmart’s supply chain

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