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The Furniture Wars: How America Lost a 50 Billion Dollar Industry Paperback – March 26, 2009
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About the Author
A01 Professor Dugan is currently the Chair of the Business School at Lenoir-Rhyne University. Previously he was the President and CEO of Henredon Furniture Industries, a position he held for 17 years. Widely recognized by insiders as an industry pioneer and marketing guru, he played the lead role in building the Pennsylvania House brand and co-founded his own furniture company, Jamestown Sterling. He is a contributing editor to "Home Furnishings Business" magazine and writes book reviews for the "Hickory Daily Record." A frequent guest lecturer at other colleges and universities, Dugan teaches a graduate course in Leadership and an undergraduate course in Marketing at Lenoir Rhyne. His business career involved working with many influential people including Polo chief Ralph Lauren,long time Bloomimgdale's ceo, Marvin Traub, and designer Barbara Barry. A graduate of the University of Toronto, where he majored in English Literature and Medieval Philosophy, he holds an MBA degree from Syracuse University.
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Top customer reviews
Dotted with furniture industry name dropping and thorough research on the historical happenings in the industry, this tome both resonated and scared me at the same time. The key lessons and take-aways are as follows:
1) When being recruited by the furniture industry, negotiate a hefty severance agreement, you will need it.
2) Furniture companies desperately need to hire some qualified women on their boards and to their executive positions, but please someone qualified and not just some exec's wife (and I say that as the wife part of a husband and wife team).
3) When selling your company, just bail, move or change your name - it will be less destructive and painful to your reputation.
While I previously considered myself to have been in the industry long enough to be an insider who lives and breathes furniture, Dugan would immediately categorize me as an outsider because I am: 1) a woman; 2) not old enough because my entry into the market was at the beginning of the rise imports; and 3) my view also begins from design/marketing and into manufacturing, sales and then operations, instead of from operations to sales and manufacturing with design coming from "styling" and history. So, as I delved into the book, I found myself shocked by the wasted energy and talent fighting battles over things like lean manufacturing introduction, consolidated warehousing, and power marketing, instead of fighting for brand value, customer loyalty and value-added design. Through reading this book, I am more convinced that our industry is not going to rebound anytime soon because the furniture industry management is completely out of touch with what women want, with the next generation of consumers, and the Asian manufacturing machine.
Despite all the criticism, Furniture Wars is still an interesting history lesson for those in the furniture industry - you are sure to come across people you know or companies you once revered and bought from - if we are going to prevent this history from repeating, then this book is a necessary read as a warning.