Innovative design

Design on the factory floor

We began learning about the production of furniture 60 years ago. We had just begun to design our own furniture and needed to learn how best to match the possibilities of the supplier with the needs of the customer. Bringing the two closer together was how we would keep prices low.

Since then we’ve continued to apply these methods and to work with suppliers right on the factory floor. What we today call democratic design influences and benefits every part of IKEA - from our development facilities in Älmhult, to our suppliers around the globe, including local artisans in places like India and South East Asia.

Film: By constantly asking ourselves, “Is there a better way?,” we have learned that bright ideas can come from just about anywhere.

WORKING WITH SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

Partnering with social entrepreneurs is one way IKEA is supporting real social change in parts of India, Thailand, Indonesia and even Sweden.
 

Read more about our relationships with suppliers in People and Communities

Behind the scenes: Social Entreprenerus PDF

Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt. Female in blue t-shirt working on IKEA factory floor in Vietnam with male in a striped t-shirt.

WORKING WITH SUPPLIERS

Our product developers and designers work with a diverse team of technicians, manufacturers and specialists – often right on the factory floor like here in Vietnam. And through IKEA Industry, a part of the IKEA Group that develops and manages production capacities, over 20,000 co-workers produce wood-based furniture and boards at 36 sites in 11 countries.

Behind the scenes: Purchasing PDF

IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres IKEA products packed in pallets at one of the IKEA distribution centres

SMART DISTRIBUTION. SMARTER DESIGN.

IKEA has a history of smart, low-cost distribution dating all the way back to the 1940s when products were picked up by local milk lorry. Today, more than 50% of our products are delivered directly from suppliers to our stores. We also design products to reduce packaging and the amount of air that gets shipped. Customers benefit from lower prices, and in some cases lower weight and easier assembly. The planet benefits from lower CO2 emissions.
 

Read more about our energy saving efforts in Energy and Resources

Behind the scenes: EPS-free packaging PDF

 

3 EXAMPLES OF INNOVATIVE DESIGN

Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top. Close up of pink POPPTORP armchair with black seat cushion, and headphones laying on top.

In the 1970s, a visit to a bucket supplier inspired the popular SKOPA armchair. That same originality has since led to POPPTORP, a sturdier successor with practical storage under a removable seat.

Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background. Close up of orange LACK table, standing with different coloured LACK tables stacked on top of each other in the background.

In 1979, we wanted to make a table that would be at home in any setting. A door supplier using a thick, easy to adapt board-on-frame construction helped us create LACK, a lightweight table for under 10 Euros.

Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other. Close-up of NIPPRIG plant pots made from water hyacinths, stacked on top pf each other.

In 2014 IKEA designers collaborated with artisans in South East Asia to create the NIPPRIG collection, combining Scandinavian design and know-how in low-cost distribution, with traditional craftsmanship.