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Singapore Orcadesign Consultants Pte Ltd 60 Alexandra Terrance #09-28 The Comtech Singapore 118502 Tel: + 65 6278 2628 Email:

Dear Sir/Madam, It is with great anticipation and excitement as I am writing to apply for a position in your company as a product designer. I was introduced to this company from my professor Peer M. Sathikh. I understand that your work spans diverse categories, including domestic appliances, home/lifestyle products, graphic design and interactive experiences. This gives me a much diversified career path as design experiences should not be limited to a particular field. As a product design major graduate from NTU, I am happy to contribute my skills to assigned projects as well as to learn and experience design expertise in other fields. I am very much interested in increasing my design experience so that I can be better qualified to contribute to the company’s success. I am grateful for your taking time to review my letter and consider my application for this position. I have left my contact number and email address with the HR department for a followup meeting. Sincerely yours,

Tam Kwan Yuen

Company Profile on IKEA

Company: The world’s largest furniture retailer, IKEA is an internationally known home furnishing company that is recognized for its Scandinavian style. It has grown rapidly since its founding in 1943. Headquarters: Älmhult, Småland, Sweden Address in Singapore: 317 Alexandra Road, Singapore 159965 Revenue: 23.1 billion Euros (2009) Net Income: 2.5 billion Euros (2009) Employees: 127,000 Key persons: Thomas Bergström (Chairman and CEO), Omar Gulay (President and CEO, Inter IKEA Group), Sören Hansen (VP and CFO, Inter IKEA Group) Founding of IKEA: IKEA was founded in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden, and the acronym IKEA stands for the initials of his name (Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd). Introduction: IKEA carries a range of 9,500 products which include home furnishing and accessories. There are restaurants and cafes that sell typical Swedish food in IKEA stores. They also have small food shops selling Swedish groceries, ranging from the famous meatballs to jam. Stores are located worldwide. In August 2008, the IKEA group had 253 stores in 24 countries, with a further 32 stores owned and run by franchisees. Low pricing is one of the main strategies of the

IKEA concept and help to make IKEA goods more affordable to customers. This low price strategy is coupled with a wide range of aesthetically pleasing and functional products. Since it was founded IKEA has always had concern for people and the environment. The IKEA vision 'to create a better everyday life for the many people' puts this concern at the core of the business. IKEA has responded to the public’s rising concern for sustainability in its choice of product range, suppliers, stores and communication. It has also foreseen business potential in providing sustainable solutions. IKEA's concern for people and the environment encourages it to make better use of both raw materials and energy. This keeps costs down and helps the company to reach its conservation objectives and have an overall positive impact on the environment. SWOT analysis Strengths


Strong international brand

Reliance on European market

Unique business model

Low level of customer service

Volume commitments

Size and scale of business

'Smarter' use of raw materials Opportunities


Environmentally focused – good returns

Less sales volume for first-time customers

Sustainability of resources

Emerging competitors

Recession slows down spending

Strengths •

IKEA has a strong internationally known brand attracting key demographic customer groups. It has a strong brand name in most countries in the world.

The IKEA business model is unique in its construction and execution with little direct competition. Therefore, it has a comparative advantage over its already few competitors.

IKEA believes in creating long-term partnerships with its suppliers in order to achieve this. By committing to buying large volumes over a number of years IKEA can negotiate lower prices, which is an application of economies of scale. This also benefits the

suppliers because they enjoy the greater security of having guaranteed orders. •

IKEA increased the use of recycled or reclaimed waste products in energy production across all stores from 84% in 2007 to 90% in 2009. In addition, IKEA's OGLA chair has been in its range since 1980, but the chair has changed through the years to reduce the amount of raw materials needed.

Weakness •

Whilst an international brand there is a level of reliance on European markets with 90% of the stores based in Europe and the balance across America, Middle East and Asia.

Although the model promotes low prices, it has been identified that there is an associated low level of customer service suggests there is a need to work on service to ensure a complete shopping experience and to ensure repeat business within the existing customer base.

Size of global business could make it hard to control standards and quality. Some countries where IKEA products are made do not implement the legislation to control working conditions. This could represent a weak link in IKEA's supply chain, since consumer views of IKEA's products can be affected.

Opportunities •

IKEA believes that its environmentally focused business conduct will result in good returns even in a price sensitive market.

Some of the opportunities that IKEA takes advantage of through its sustainability agenda are: 1. a growing demand for more environmentally-friendly products 2. a growing demand for low priced products. Trends in the current financial climate may result in consumers trading down from more expensive stores 3. need for reduced water usage and lower carbon footprints. •

IKEA has a number of areas of focus to its work with sustainability, each of which it supports in various ways:

1. Solutions for a sustainable life at home. 2. Sustainable use of resources. IKEA aims for zero waste to landfill, wastewater treatment and ways to reduce its use of water. 3. Reducing carbon footprint. IKEA aims to reduce energy use, use more renewable energy, and reduce its use of air transport and packaging. 4. Developing social responsibility. IKEA's policy includes support for organizations such as the WWF, UNICEF and Save the Children.

Threats • •

Social trends – such as the slowdown in first time buyers entering the housing market. This is a core market segment for IKEA products. Market forces – there are more competitors entering the low-price household and furnishings markets. IKEA needs to reinforce its unique qualities to compete with its emerging competitors. Economic factors – recessions slow down consumer spending, thus reducing disposable income which directly influences IKEA’s revenues and profit margins.

Conclusion IKEA has developed a strong brand name over the years and its products are affordable to most consumers as compared to other higher end furnishing retailers. It generates good returns due to its environmentally-friendly theme and sustainability of resources which resulted from low-cost raw materials. It has considerable advantage over its current local competitors, few of which have established substantial market foothold in the furniture market. It can be seen that if IKEA continues to produce at a low-cost, environmentally-friendly way, it will ensure that emerging competitors will find it even more difficult to override its success. Hence, IKEA’s strengths reduce the significance of its weaknesses which do not directly affect its turnover rate and market value. In addition to the quality of products sold and strong brand name, its stability as a home furnishing company gives me great confidence to join its design team. I believe that IKEA will continue to make strong progress since the depth of its design, production and marketing processes have proven its continual success. IKEA’s design concepts are also similar to my personal goals which include environmental awareness as well as simplicity and affordability. With these fitting qualities, it is therefore an important consideration in my career choice. Sources:

Company Profile on Apple

Company: Apple Inc. is an American multinational corporation that designs and markets consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers. The company's best-known hardware products include the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Headquarters: 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California, U.S. Address in Singapore: 7 Ang Mo Kio Street 64, Singapore 569086 Revenue: US$42.91 billion (2009) Net Income: US$8.24 billion (2009) Employees: 49,400 (2010) Key persons: Steve Jobs (Co-founder, Chairman and CEO), Tim Cook (COO), Peter Oppenheimer (CFO), Bob Mansfield (Mac and iPhone Hardware Engineering), Jonathan Ive (Industrial Design) Founding of Apple: Apple was established on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne to sell the Apple I personal computer kit. The Apple I was priced at $666.66. Jobs and Wozniak sold their first 100 computers to a local dealer. In 1980, Apple went public and Jobs and Wozniak became multimillionaires. Introduction: Apple was established on April 1, 1976 in Cupertino, California, and incorporated on January 3, 1977. The company has then shown its movement towards expansion into the consumer electronics market, in addition to its traditional focus on personal computers. As of September 25,

2010, Apple had 46,600 full time employees and 2,800 temporary full time employees worldwide and had worldwide annual sales of $42.91 billion in its fiscal year ending September 26, 2009. Apple has established a unique reputation in the consumer electronics industry due to its philosophy of comprehensive aesthetic design as well as distinctive advertising campaigns,. This includes a customer base that is loyal to the company and its brand, particularly in the United States. Fortune magazine named Apple the most admired company in the United States in 2008, and in the world in 2008, 2009, and 2010. SWOT analysis Strengths


Strong brand name

High prices

iTunes provide large portion of revenue

Apple OS supports limited software

Partnership with IT giants

Presence of major competitors

Strong research and development Opportunities


Increasing demand of online music

Many competitors in the market

Appeals to brand conscious consumers

High laptop market growth

Launching Microsoft

Impact of recession on sales volume

Increasing market share by reducing prices





Strengths •

Apple has a strong brand name that creates a deep impression in the minds of people. Apple has been amongst the well reputed brands in the industry of information technology. It also stood up to its name by introducing new products such as iPod, iPad and laptops in the market to impress customers with its innovative, portable and attractive designs.

iTunes Music Store is a excellent source of revenue, especially with the iPod and the accessibility on the Windows platform. The Apple iPod music player a great innovation that not only increases company sales but also influences consumers to get experience of Apple notebook and its operating system.

Apple has signed a partnership with Intel computers in 2006 to the present. This gives Apple an edge over competitors since its ideas and innovations can be marketed through hardware production by such firms that produce complementary products. Apple is an expert at developing its own hardware and software department due to its strong research and development department. It also uses web technology to improve product awareness and sales. All these gives Apple a good brand loyalty among its customers

Weakness • • •

Apple has to reduce the high prices of its products that might hinder consumers from lower income groups from purchasing them. Apple’s operating system supports limited software which leads to people turning to Microsoft Windows to run different applications. Apple’s market share is far behind its major competitor Microsoft. Therefore its presence in the market is weak and it relies on education and publishing to maintain its profit margins.

Opportunities •

Downloadable music and MP3 players are highly marketable among the younger generation. Hence, Apple can market iTunes to attract more customers.

There is a large group in the population which is extremely individualistic and brand conscious. Apple can make use of its brand name to appeal to this group by marketing products with higher quality interface and aesthetics. The laptop market growth is increasing; hence Apple should focus to develop new models to cater the need of customers. This trend is especially evident among local students. With its already high pricing, Apple can create higher revenues by reducing prices to an extent that will maximize profits. This will then move Apple closer to its competitors in terms of market shares.

Threats • • •

There is intense competition with other IT giants such as Dell, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Sony and Toshiba, all of which have significant market shares. Microsoft launched Windows 7 with attractive user interface as well as rich features. Mac users may consider switching to Windows 7, hence resulting in loss of consumer loyalty. Economic crises will have a greater negative impact on Apples sales because consumer spending will be switched to lower-end products. With its high pricing, Apple will lose significant income from consumers during bad times.

Conclusion Apple has a strong and unique brand name that appeals to many who desire aesthetically pleasing user interface. Apple iTunes serves as a convenient downloadable music source that is popular among the student and working population. In addition to its marketing success, it has been viewed as one of the more attractive and innovative design firms by many well-reputed critics such as Fortune magazine. Hence, their achievement on the global stage is a very attractive platform for which aspiring designers can look to in establishing theirs careers. I believe that design should not only be functional but should also appeal to the senses and emotions which are an integral part of human living. Hence, the sleek and aesthetically pleasing user-interface of Apple computers and products give consumers a sense of importance by owning them. Apple’s designs are also very innovative as they follow a certain design framework that serves to accentuate its strong brand name. Due to the presence of strong competitors and high prices, Apple has to improve on its design and pricing strategies in order to stay afloat in the intensely competitive IT market. Apple’s designs are appealing due to its strong branding, innovation, while at the same time having functional qualities such as stability to the end-user. These qualities attract me to consider joining the design team as it is my goal to establish myself as a designer in products of the best quality in all areas. Hence, I believe Apple is a suitable choice in my career considerations. Sources:

cover letter and analysis  

cover letter, SOT analysis

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