Herman Miller Business Case
1. Executive summary
Herman Miller, an environmental leader in the office furniture industry that offers a wide variety of products including seating, systems furniture, filing storage, desks, tables and health care. In 1989, the company decided to adopt a triple-bottom-line philosophy, so it established and changed company's environmental direction by adopting "Perfect Vision" initiative that targeted zero landfill, zero hazardous, waste generation, zero air and water emissions.
In 1997, the company decided to implement a cradle-to-cradle (C2C) protocol based on eco-effectiveness vs. eco-efficiency and Waste equals food; which consisted of four key elements: biological and technical nutrients;
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In 2001, Herman Miller decided to implement a design protocol on a product from beginning to end, so Mirra chair project was chosen. In order to implement C2C protocol a DfE team was formed to develop environmental evaluation measures of the new product, redesign and change processes, create a database for suppliers’ materials using the Green-Yellow-Orange-Red list criteria and establish disassembly guidelines for the new product. Engineers, supply chain managers, manufacturing associates and design consultants worked together to change their processes. Over 300 employees were trained on the new design protocol. The design process was the first one to be reviewed. During the exploration phase, designers brainstormed on the basic concept of the product and outlined high-level specifications. Once the basic design was established during the development process, the product was divided into modules and different teams were assigned to each module. Each team developed a prototype of their modules, DfE team assessed the design, following the C2C protocol for material chemistry, disassembly, recyclability and recycled content. Scorecards (See annex 1) were created and feedbacks were communicated to the development team. The final DfE assessment (Annex 2) aggregated the material chemistry, disassembly, recyclability and recycled