A WORLD PERSPECTIVE ON HOW CHANGE HAPPENS
In ALL THE MOVING PARTS: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT as well as in THE BLAIR RULES: A STRATEGIC GUIDE TO ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT we talked about WalMart’s expertise in making changes in its stores and store operations depending upon where, in the world, they were operating.
In Mexico their stores were configured in one way; in China, another. IKEA is showing the same proficiency for changing their operational endeavors according to the preferences of the country in which they are planning to operate. Opening a new store in India, the company has set up an in-house furniture assembly team of 150 full-time employes because it received focus group information that Indian customers were unlikely to purchase furniture that required assembly. This fact surprises me, somewhat, as I’m sure it might have IKEA’s managers when they first learned of it. But, regardless, they have shown their intent to do well in India by “bending with the times,” so to speak. IKEA is seriously focused on getting India right, as the world’s second most populous country. The company’s sales growth has slowed, globally, in recent years while at the same time its profits have been squeezed by the necessity of the company to invest heavily in e-commerce technology. IKEA has been planning on doing business in India for a decade now, having begun the process in 2007 but becoming stymied by regulations limiting foreign investment in the country’s retail sector. To “get India right,” IKEA set up a demonstration store in New Delhi and watched how invited families interacted with its products. And it has engaged its employees in conducting over 1,000 home visits to figure out how Indians eat, sleep, relax and entertain. It also opened a pop-up shop in Hyderabad, the site of the new store, to introduce its products to potential customers. Many things that will be included in the 400,000 square foot store in Huderabad are the result of the extensive research. Dining room furniture, for example, will be featured prominently after IKEA employees learned that the dining table is not only a place to eat but to discuss. And, even more importantly, the new store will have hundreds of items that the average Indian can afford. All sounds like they are well on the way to making All those parts move together. We’ll be providing updates.