Sullivan’s Flooring Concept Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Sullivan’s Flooring Concept Case Solution


Sullivan was a London, Ontario-based part-time carpenter in hardwood flooring, and head a successful career in the sales and distribution in the field of technology, and the packaged goods industries. However, the woodworking was his passion as he believed that woodworking was in his blood because his grandfather and uncle were furniture makers and finish carpenters. Similarly, with this intention he pursued his passion and went forward to start his new career.

Moreover, he had worked with many reputable custom contractors and home builders, where he was assigned the multiple large-scale residential projects of the high-income families. Apart from this, Sullivan had no experience in the carpentry, but he had achieved these skills from disengagement with these large-scale contractors.

In addition to this, Sullivan also started work part-time for friends and families however during his first work for his friend to hardwood flooring of the cottage, he experienced that he potentially used his unique way of flooring and installing the wood board in the cottage. He got famous among his family and friends for his hardwood flooring skills. Furthermore, he had anticipated getting 15 jobs in the year for hardwood flooring.

Sullivan believed that work could not be managed by himself alone, as the flooring work was multistage work, which was time consuming.An example of this could be preparation of wood boards that required five other steps to finish, and after that, the installation process and finalization process were other challenges.

Sullivan has two options; to purchase the router and router table or hire one of two additional workers.This was the dilemma for Sullivan to choose the best alternative, which could lead to efficiency under given circumstances.

Question 1

Sullivan is Customers

Customers in the market preferred the hardwood flooring as compared to other floor covering alternatives such as the wood laminate or vinyl, carpeting, and ceramic tile. However, hardwood was mostly preferred as compared to any other alternative due to its durability, and it also required low maintenance, and gave a traditional look.In addition to this, it also allowed the customers to get their customized flooring choices with the hardwood.On the other hand, Sullivan wastebasket work similar to the work he did for one of his friends.

Nonetheless, the reason for that work was that Sullivan had done that job in another way, where he had acquired the softwood from the market,which was cheaper than the per-engineered hardwood boards. However, it saved the cost of customer and gave a similar look to hardwood work. On the other hand, these were the skills of Sullivan that he put his efforts in the softwood work due to which, the customers of Sullivan were requested him for same job that he did for his friend’s cottage.

Question 2

Manufacturing Operations

The manufacturing process of the flooring planks was very intense regarding its relation to fitting each plank to each other. The production process had five consecutive steps from the start point.The first step was to smoother both of the planks, so they are equal in weight, and that process is known as planning which takes on average 5 minutes to complete each board of plank.The second step was to reduce unnecessary wood from the plank, and this process took 1 minute on an average.

The third step is known as trimming, which was taken to prepare each board as per the floor’s width, and the overlap joints were also included in this step. However, it took on average 4 minutes to prepare the board.In addition to this, the last step was to ensure that the board was developed as per the requirements of the floor and to identify if any modifications were necessary for the planks, thus it can be stated that it took roughly 1 minute.

Moreover, after the finalization of the planks, the installation of the planks started at the customer floors. However, this step was critical to fit every plank on the floor with best overlap joint by eliminating the exposure of the screws through the technique of doweling.

Sullivan’s Flooring Concept Harvard Case Solution & Analysis



It is appropriate to use the similar processing and production system, which has some unique characters. On one hand, the customers intend to pay less for the flooring of their house with the softwood, whereas, on the other hand, they get the same experience like the hardwood floor. This is due to the skill level of Sullivan, which gets things done in a different way than the conventional system of flooring of the houses, yet it provides hardwood floor experience in a cheaper way............

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