What Automation Companies Can Learn From the IKEA Effect

In a world of so many manufacturing industries, the assembly line is a vast area of cost, investment, and headache. In fact, LPKF has made it their mission to help companies in the medical devices, automotive, and consumer goods industries streamline assembly of their products and reduce the time and labor needed to assemble their products.

The mere idea that there may be an industry in which customers were able and preferred to assemble their products may seem laughable. But in fact, this market does exist.

The IKEA Effect

The IKEA effect refers to the increased value that consumers tend to place on objects that they have assembled themselves.

Though IKEA is especially famous for selling flat pack furniture that requires assembly by the end users, there are quite a few businesses that have seen a significant profit in creating products that are “some assembly required” according to a recent Harvard Business study.

The primary reason that the researchers found for this is that people tend to have a greater emotional attachment to things that they labor to put together themselves.

The results of the study applied whether or not the participants claimed to be interested in “Do It Yourself” projects. Consumers who finished assembly of a piece of furniture consistently increased their valuation of the object, due to the labor and time that was spent assembling it, and developed more attachment to the object.

It’s important to note that this effect only occurs during a successful completion of a product.

Therefore, it seems that the lessons learned from this study can cut both ways. In one aspect, successful completion of a DIY project can lead to an increased feeling of attachment and value assigned to an object. On the other hand, if the consumer fails to complete a DIY project, there can be strong negative emotions which can eliminate any positivity that a customer may have felt about the item being assembled.

The Lesson Is Clear – Not All Companies Can Benefit From DIY Product Assembly

Given the fact that the “IKEA Effect” is only observed in those who successfully assemble a product, it seems clear that not every consumer goods company can benefit from the value-adding potential of the IKEA effect.

It makes sense that IKEA is the company that this effect is named after. Their furniture is streamlined and easy for any layman to put together. Just about any consumer can complete an IKEA project by simply following included instruction and using the tools that came with their product.

However, there are industries where this is impossible. The very nature of the IKEA effect precludes specialized manufacturers from enjoying these benefits. Could you imagine if you bought a car and were asked to assemble the crankshaft yourself?

Automation Companies, the IKEA Effect, and the DIY Laser Welding System

The IKEA effect is alive and well in the area of factory automation and the integration of laser plastic welding systems into automated assembly lines. The LPKF InLineWeld 6200 (IW6200) is a turn-key, drop-in laser welding solution that integrators can easily integrate into automated workflows.

The IW6200 module contains everything required for laser welding plastic parts, including the diode laser, optics, scanner, clamping system, control software, electrical cabinet, cooling, and ProfiNet interface enables connection to your factory MES system. The ProfiNet interface allows the transmission of process data to the welder and supplies the actual welding data such as; power settings, melt travel, time to collapse, and OK/Not-OK part status at the completion of welding.

LPKF offers Design Validation and Production Validation services so that the systems integrator does not have to worry about the welding aspects of the system. LPKF service engineers will support the integration and setup of the modules into workflows, allowing you to focus on the overall process and other manufacturing steps. We’ll also set up the welding parameters and train factory operators on all aspects of welding parts, substantially reducing risks to the integrator.

Still, despite the fact that only some companies can benefit from the IKEA effect, it’s an interesting look into how consumers assign a value to objects. The insights gained from this study are sure to be useful to companies considering a product that requires DIY assembly.

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