US-based global office furniture major Herman Miller on Wednesday opened its hi-tech plant at Bidadi on the city’s outskirts to make designer chairs in India for the country’s growing domestic market.
“As India is one of our fastest growing markets in Asia, we have set up a production facility at Bidadi to make designer products like chairs to our customers faster,” Herman Miller Asia Pacific vice-president Jeremy Hocking told reporters here.
Bidadi is about 40km from Bengaluru on the state highway towards Mysuru.
The Michigan-headquartered $2.2-billion global firm operates in over 100 countries worldwide, with production facilities in the US, Britain, China and Italy and sells its products and services through a global dealer network.
“We have chosen Bidadi for the plant as it’s strategically located to reach target markets in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune, besides Sri Lanka for exports, as proximity reduces product lead-time,” Hocking said on the occasion, but declined to mention how much the company had invested in the facility.
The company’s India facility is the third in the region (Asia Pacific) with other two being at Ningbo and Dong-guan in China.
“We have started production in August and adopted a lean manufacturing system to reduce lead time and improve reliability to ensure same quality as elsewhere,” the company’s international operations vice-president Richard Scott pointed out.
The company plans to ramp up its production capacity and manpower to 200 people by March.
Interestingly, the nearly century-old company’s famous designers Charles and Ray Eames came calling to India in 1958 at the invitation of then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
“The interaction with Nehru led to the government setting up the National Institute of Design at Ahmedabad in Gujarat in 1961,” Hocking recalled.