Case Study Material
Herman Miller Company is looking to adopt the cradle-to cradle (C2C) design protocol. This design is to create a closed-loop product life cycles. Herman Miller Company should not use PVC in the construction of the Mirra chair. An alternative material thermoplastic urethane (TPU) has been identified as an alternative. TPU is a viable alternative that goes along with the “green” publicity the company was getting for the Mirra chair. The first step that needs to take place is to talk to their supplier about modifying existing tooling to work with TPU.
As well as the lead time it would take to modify existing tooling. To create new tooling could take approximately 6-8 weeks for new tooling to be engineered as well as creating the new tooling. As discussed from the case the retool could cost over $100K (Lee 2009). The introduction of TPU was discussed in August of 2002 and the launch of the Mirra chair is scheduled for June 2003. This provides the company with 9 months to use TPU instead of PVC on the chair arms.
To retrofit tooling for a new raw material can cause more problems than just to create new tooling. The first thing that needs to happen is to talk to the supplier and to determine a lead time for new tooling and a lead time for modifying existing tooling. Tooling can be modified; however, it is a matter of time and money. There are concerns about using TPU in the Mirra chair, that customers will start wanting TPU in every chair. This chair has received a lot of publicity