Shining Light Spotlight-Herman Miller

Shining Light Company – Herman Miller

This month’s Shining Light company is the Herman Miller company (Symbol: MLHR). Headquartered in Zeeland, Michigan, Herman Miller specializes in the production of office furniture and design.


Businessman Herman Miller helped his son-in-law, D.J. De Pree buy the Michigan Star Furniture Company in 1923 where he had hired on in 1909 as a clerk. Knowing that his father-in-law was a man of deep character and integrity, De Pree decided it would be fitting to rename the company after him. Thus, Herman Miller was born.

Until 1930, Herman Miller produced only traditional wood furniture. However, with the onset of the Great Depression, the company was forced to invent new products to survive the shrinking market. Gilbert Rohde was hired shortly after and took Herman Miller in a completely new direction highlighted by the debut line of modern furniture at the Century of Progress exposition in Chicago, Illinois in 1933.

Fast forward to 1961, and Herman Miller set up the Herman Miller Research Division based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This division developed the “Action Office” line in 1964 under Robert Propst, which is responsible for introducing the office cubicle. This invention revolutionized the office environment and generated $5 billion worth of revenue as of 1998.

New designers Don Chadwick and Bill Stumpf joined Herman Miller in the 1970s and helped design and create the modern ergonomic office chair, the Aeron, in the 1990s. In 1981, Herman Miller began working with Italian designer Clino T. Castelli on the process of designing physical environments for office spaces. Designer Tom Newhouse introduced the “Newhouse Group” of free-standing furniture in 1987 and assisted with the “Ethospace” wall panel system for the widely popular Action Office line. Herman Miller was also recently awarded the International Interior Design Association best showroom design award at NeoCon.

Core Values

Herman Miller has established a set of core values guiding the way in which the company conducts business. It’s employee mantra is, “We’re all extraordinary,” illustrating Herman Miller’s belief that understanding the nuances of what makes people different leads to an inclusive and diverse workplace.

The company also believes strongly in their “Operational Excellence” core value. Herman Miller states, “Our commitment to operational excellence reflects our strongly held values and our history of innovation.” Employee reviews add color to these core values. One described Herman Miller as being all about “passionate people doing exceptional things”. Another remarked that the company is an “absolutely incredible place to work and build a bright future.”

Community service is a corporate initiative that Herman Miller takes seriously. The company has supported volunteer initiatives ranging from highway and river cleanups to youth mentoring programs and home building projects. the company gives each employee 16 paid hours a year to work with the charitable organizations of their choice. Herman Miller tracks these efforts, and in May 2016, exceeded its three year goal of 60,000 employee volunteer hours.

In 2011, Herman Miller was ranked by CNN Money as the second most admired company in the home equipment, furnishing division. The company also scored first in innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, and quality of products/services. In quality of management, they scored second place, third in long term investments, fourth in financial soundness, and ninth in global competitiveness.

Herman Miller is not only great innovators in the office design and furnishing industry, but is also a stellar example to be followed when it comes to building a people first corporate culture and exceptional service to the community. We are proud to spotlight such a difference-making company!

Is your portfolio filled with companies Herman Miller that align with a biblical worldview? If not, we want to help you own companies that reflect your values and build your dreams! Call us today to schedule an appointment and get started pursuing your financial goals (540) 345-3891!

DISCLOSURE: Shining Lights companies are those companies we have identified as exemplary companies living out the Golden Rule and exhibiting the virtues of Integrity, Humility, Diligence, Caring and Courage. This is intended for general information purposes concerning only the values, corporate culture and business practices of the companies being spotlighted. It DOES NOT incorporate any analysis of the companies’ investment merit based on intrinsic value, fundamental analysis, etc. This must not be construed as investment advice or a buy/sell recommendation. These companies may or may not be included in our LightPoint Portfolios at any given time.