IKEA partners with Four Principles on Kaizen customer service project

01 March 2019 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

IKEA Saudi Arabia has partnered with Middle East lean management experts Four Principles to improve its customer service processes and better enable employees.

The Saudi Arabian branch of iconic Swedish furniture and homewares company IKEA has partnered with Middle East lean management consultancy specialists Four Principles on a customer service transformation project. The firm will support the retailer with developing fresh customer service processes based on lean tools and methodologies and by training staff through ‘hands-on’ coaching.

Established locally in 1983 by way of a franchise agreement with Ghassan Al Sulaiman Furniture Trading Co., IKEA Saudi Arabia has multiple stores in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dhahran along with an outlet in Salmabad in neighbouring Bahrain. The company has also established a number of ordering and collection points in various locations, and is said to be pursuing a vigorous expansion plan to “serve many more of the many people in the region”.

The growth plans are in line with IKEA Saudi Arabia’s aspirations to become a global leader on improvement within the IKEA family – which presently has more than 400 stores in 52 countries worldwide – while also consolidating its local market position. Accordingly, the Saudi Arabian branch has tapped leading regional lean management proponents Four Principles in a bid to improve its customer facing processes and gain a competitive edge through the Kaizen touch.Four Principles partners with Ikea Saudi Arabia on customer service projectThe collaboration will focus on enabling IKEA’s middle management and customer-facing workforce to better serve the needs of the customer, while also improving efficiency and equipping staff with the tools to further drive continual process improvements themselves – in the ‘true spirit of Kaizen’; a top-to-bottom management philosophy first developed in Japan’s automotive industry which stresses ongoing efficiency improvements with a customer-first mindset.

As part of the collaboration, Four Principles will provide advisory, training and implementation services to IKEA Saudi Arabia, aimed on the macro level at boosting performance, eliminating waste and maximising the use of resources as per the lean management approach. “Our vision is to transform IKEA through empowerment of our co-workers,” said IKEA Saudi Arabia CEO Saud Al Sulaiman. “This is our continuous journey to win the heart of our customers by exceeding their expectations.”

“We see IKEA Saudi Arabia as leaders not only in retail but also in investing in their employees which is at the heart of Lean,” added Four Principles co-founder and Managing Partner Seif Shieshakly, who previously gained experience at Kaizen’s epicenter at Toyota in Japan. “We at Four Principles are proud to be supporting this investment in their employees that will reap rewards in their ability to serve customers better.”

Founded in 2010 to bring the lean management approach to a wider, cross-sector regional audience – and recently taking up residence in a newly renovated headquarters in Dubai – Four Principles is a passionate advocate of the Kaizen philosophy, late last year hosting the inaugural Four Principles’ Kaizen Awards to celebrate lean projects in the Kingdom, with Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group selected as the maiden recipient in the major transformation category.