IKEA is challenging the sofa industry with new construction technique
To meet the way the many people live today and taking one step further into a circular business, IKEA is in the beginning of a transformation journey within sofas and is exploring new ways to construct, produce, and package sofas.
“We know the sofa is the centre piece of many homes, and we have high ambitions to live up to our customers’ changing behaviours and needs in a highly urbanised and digitalised world, where we move a lot more and live more fluid lives”, says Sabine Berntsson, Business Area Manager, IKEA of Sweden.
The new production process is more standardised and industrialised compared to the traditional industry’s process. From a construction point of view, the focus has been on the inside of the sofa. This has for example led the way to sofa frames that can be used in many different models, while the design and expression can still come in a wide variety of styles. This will enable more people to sit in a comfortable sofa with an affordable price.
“Sofas have been one of the few pieces of furniture where we so far have not cracked the code for flat packs. Now we are well under way through close collaboration with our suppliers, and through learning from our other product areas such as bookshelves. We have also looked into other highly automated industries to learn, such as the car industry”, says Tina Stilleborn, Category Area Manager, IKEA of Sweden.
A new sofa frame has already been developed with one IKEA supplier and is made of mixed materials for optimal quality and comfort, and comes in substantially smaller packaging. A reduced number of construction parts, 13 instead of 122, enables a more automated production. This gives a significant reduction in water and energy usage and also less waste during production. The smaller packaging reduces the need for transport containers, meaning fewer trucks on the road and hence reduced CO2 emissions.
With lighter and smaller packages and no loose fittings, the sofa is easy to bring home, assemble, and disassemble, as life at home changes and evolves. Thanks to the separable parts, the sofa will also be fully recyclable.
"IKEA embraces circularity by making our sofas in a way that minimizes the impact on the planet. By offering sofas in separable parts and with smaller, lighter and flatter packaging we can offer more long-lasting and recyclable products.” says Malin Nordin, Development Leader Circular IKEA, IKEA of Sweden.
The new sofa frame construction will be piloted in China in summer 2018, followed by a global roll-out for selected sofas during 2020.
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