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TEM Lab - Fall, 2017
Romania, Taparo
Written by Jeff Webb

October 4, 2017

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During our time in Romania we were working for the company Taparo, the third largest furniture manufacturer for IKEA in Romania. Our project with Taparo involved evaluating an existing business case that Taparo has created.

To understand Taparo, you need to understand their one and only client, IKEA. When the founder of IKEA first traveled to Taparo to meet with Mr. Filip, he asked, "Mr. Filip, why is your building blue and yellow like IKEA?" to which Mr. Filip responded, "because blue was the cheapest color." Taparo looks almost identical to a IKEA building. One of the greatest challenges is that IKEA is constantly pushing for lower supplier costs of 2% year-over-year.

[caption][[{"fid":"7908","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Taparo/IKEA side by side","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Taparo/IKEA side by side"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Taparo/IKEA side by side","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Taparo/IKEA side by side"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Taparo/IKEA side by side","title":"Taparo/IKEA side by side","class":"panopoly-image-original media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]]Taparo, very similar in appearance and design to its only customer IKEA[/caption]

To increase profitability for Taparo the overall goal is to streamline the value chain. Taparo is starting a new company, ECI LML, that will take polyester, cotton, wool, as well as other natural and man-made fibers, to create non-woven technical textiles. You have most likely seen this fabric on upholstered chairs inside your home (usually on the bottom side of furniture pieces). Being the direct manufacturer of this component will provide more quality controls and streamline the value chain.

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Parts of the new equipment awaiting installation and set up

Many customers are seeking cost savings and a high-quality producer of non-woven technical textiles for their operations; Taparo believes they can provide this. Taparo will locally serve the Romanian market as most of the current competition is located in China or Turkey, allowing for quicker delivery, and potential of "just in time" service.

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Mr. Filip showing us around the new facility where ECI LML will operate

We came to Romania with the understanding that we would be performing a general market analysis for the start-up business. With that we would also create a business plan to help them carry out the operation. What we discovered upon arrival was that there was already a plan in place, and the equipment required for this new company had already been purchased and partially delivered. Our project then became an analysis of their plan, and taking steps to prepare the company to secure investors for the start-up. As a team, we delivered a business case to present to investors and provided Taparo with market analysis to potentially expand product offerings down the road.

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Our team with Mr. Filip, professors from the Business University in Cluj, and members of the Board of Directors of Taparo