Low cost, functional and brilliantly efficient, an Ikea Billy bookcase rolls off the production line every three seconds. There are thought to be over 60 million of them already in service. Few could find the Billy bookcase beautiful. They are successful because they work and they are cheap. And – as Tim Harford explains in this fascinating story – brilliantly boring efficiency is essential to the modern economy. The humble Billy bookcase epitomises the relentless pursuit of lower costs and acceptable functionality.
Producer: Ben Crighton
Editors: Richard Knight and Richard Vadon
Sources and related links
Rolf G Larsson - Ikea’s Almost Fabless Global Supply Chain – A Rightsourcing Strategy for Profit, Planet, and People, Lund University, Chapter 3 in Lean Management of Global Supply Chain, edited by Yasuhiro Monden and Yoshiteru Minagawa, World Scientific, 2015