This field-based case introduces iFixit, a small business with a mission to change consumer behavior around prosperity so that they would no longer toss away broken products. iFixit offered repair guides and the sale of parts and tools to make repairs on over 30,000 different devices—mostly electronic. iFixit’s business model was based on creating more value than it captured—repair was sustainable. iFixit intended to keep electronics out of landfills by providing accessible and easy information for free, so anyone could fix their devices. That plan put the founders Kyle Wiens and Luke Soules head-to-head against industry leaders in the electronics space—large manufacturers that worked against iFixit’s efforts to offer repair guides. For nearly 20 years, Wiens and Soules had worked toward giving consumers the right to repair what they owned. What would it take to move the needle so manufacturers would work with, instead of against, iFixit? This cases also explores the concept of forward and reverse loops within the electronics value chain. It’s recommended for use with two technical notes: “Regulations and Standards: Electronics Supply Chain” (UVA-OM-1714) and “Electronics Supply Chain Overview” (UVA-OM-1716).
- Evaluate the impact of value chains and opportunities and challenges for positive impact globally - Explore where partnerships between large and small businesses could balance a complete sustainable chain - Build an understanding of global value chains and regulations and standards relevant to global operations - Explore the difficulties of enforcing standards globally and a firm's ability to serve customers sustainably