Category Archives: Company Spotlight

MFG Day Recap: Pizza and Partnership at Spring Hill

Last Friday, manufacturers across the United States celebrated Manufacturing Day, also known as MFG Day, by opening their doors to showcase the potential of modern manufacturing and inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

This year, five L&P locations hosted MFG Day activities:

• Flex-O-Lators in Carthage, MO
• Flooring Products in Berwick, PA
• Genesis Seating in Kentwood, MI
• Davidson Plyforms in Grand Rapids, MI
• Adjustable Bed (Consumer Products) in Spring Hill, FL

Our Adjustable Bed branch in Spring Hill, Florida, hosted a representative from NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) and a Recruiter in Workforce Development at Pasco-Hernando State College.

They were also visited by students from Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School.

MFG Day 1

Continue reading

Exceeding Customer Expectations in Brazil

Business for Leggett & Platt Brazil grew an impressive 37% in 2017. While many factors likely contributed to the increase, it’s no surprise that a commitment to quality and great service helped distinguish this bedding operation from its competitors and kept customers coming back.

“We believe our customers value exceptional service and unquestionable quality more than having the best price,” says Gustavo Lemos, South America President of Leggett & Platt Brazil. Eric Rhea, Bedding Group President, adds, “L&P is known for its innovation, and when coupled with high-quality products and great customer service, we win customer loyalty and grow successfully.”

Going the Extra Mile: A Service Strategy Redefined

Over the past two years, Gustavo and his team have transitioned to a more proactive customer service strategy. The customer no longer makes the first move because the Customer Service team actively engages customers to ask, ‘What can we do for you?’ This shift in strategy not only enhances the customer experience, but it also builds long-term trust and loyalty between L&P and our customers.

Knowing and anticipating customer needs has afforded the team at Brazil a strong brand reputation. “In the bedding market, we’re constantly spending time predicting what the customer will buy,” Eric says. “We want to know what they’re going to need and when they’ll need it – and we want to know that better than they do.”

The branch uses this insight to manage its inventory and serve customers right away. Gustavo explains, “It’s not uncommon for a customer to call and ask for a truck filled within the hour. Our customers know they can count on us, and that reputation has been pivotal to our current success and ability to retain customers – even if at a higher price – because they trust our service.”

A Business Built from the Inside Out

A strategy can only be well-executed within the right culture and by the right people. Gustavo has worked to cultivate a superior customer service culture by hiring the right employees, setting goals, holding them accountable, and rewarding them when goals are achieved.

“We have a fantastic team. Although it’s been a long road to establish the culture, we’re proud to prioritize customer service across all roles and departments,” Gustavo explains.

L&P Brazil’s Customer Service team from left to right: Gilvania Maria, Marília Prado, Fernanda Christina, and Edson Malta.

L&P Brazil’s Customer Service team from left to right: Gilvania Maria, Marília Prado, Fernanda Christina, and Edson Malta.

The Customer Service team, for example, consists of knowledgeable and experienced employees who establish targets and work diligently to meet them. They also meet weekly with management to remain fully engaged in the business and have an opportunity to voice concerns or contribute ideas.

Eric summarizes, “Gustavo has really helped to solidify the L&P culture in Brazil. The business, the management team, and the employees are all aligned towards the same goals, and it works.”

Solutions with Impact: Meet Creative Services

CS_standard_w-tag_4C (002)Just across the parking lot from our Corporate Headquarters, you’ll find a group of 35 creative minds brainstorming, storyboarding, and each day delivering solutions to their customers. This is Creative Services, Leggett’s in-house marketing team.

By offering assistance within design, websites, writing, photography, videography, printing, and tradeshows, the Creative Services team completes a remarkable 1,400 projects per year!

Keeping Up with Demand

Creative Services has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1966, when it was a one-man shop devoted to providing logo and design services to Leggett’s customers. “Although it was overhead for Leggett, the initial strategy was to help our customers sell more so they’d buy more Leggett components,” says Susan Chapman, Operations Manager, who joined the department in its early years.

As Leggett began to acquire new businesses, the staff slowly increased as well, but the team was still mostly dedicated to serving clients’ needs, leaving little time for our own branches. In 2008, Creative Services began to focus on creating strategic marketing for our branches, offering them everything from product sheet design to entire ad campaigns composed of videos, websites, and print and web ads.

The many minds of Creative Services. According to Zack Minor, Graphic Designer: “We’ve cultivated a culture of caring for each other, which allows us to have fun together and establishes the trust necessary to collaborate and make bold suggestions in the work we do.”

The many minds of Creative Services. According to Zack Minor, Graphic Designer: “We’ve cultivated a culture of caring for each other, which allows us to have fun together and establishes the trust necessary to collaborate and make bold suggestions in the work we do.”

Continue reading

Powering Potential with Precision Hydraulic Cylinders (PHC)

As you shop the aisle of the local grocery or relax on the back patio of your house, hydraulic cylinders are probably the last thing on your mind – but this critical component is working behind the scenes in a variety of ways to make these things, and much more, possible.

“From construction applications to materials handling, we’re making people’s lives easier on a global basis,” explains Chris Barclay, President of Precision Hydraulic Cylinders (PHC).

Leggett & Platt’s acquisition of PHC this past January resulted in a natural fit between company cultures and methods of operation. Like many L&P products, PHC’s hydraulic cylinders comprise a small but vital piece in several end products. They are essential to the functionality of equipment like dump trucks, forklifts, truck mounted cranes, and aerial platforms.

Always Right, Always on Time

PHC applications

Hydraulic cylinders are used for many applications, including critical movement functions in forklifts and dump trucks.

With over 45 years of experience, PHC has proven design and technical support capabilities. But the hydraulic cylinder market also requires highly flexible manufacturing capabilities. Given the large number of configurations available on just one single forklift model, it’s not surprising that PHC’s customers require short lead times on a large product line that are usually built to order.

“PHC is selling a lot more than a high-quality hydraulic cylinder at a good price – we’re offering complete integration with our customer’s manufacturing process,” says Chris.

Providing just-in-time delivery for customers’ assembly-line style manufacturing requires a lot of coordination and sequencing within PHC’s own manufacturing process. But PHC’s commitment to provide the right product on time has enabled them to continue to capture and dominate within the market.

Platform for Growth

The recent boom in e-commerce, and the resulting increase in distribution centers, is driving higher demand for hydraulic cylinders for materials handling equipment. The rest of the hydraulic cylinder market is equally rife with opportunity and PHC is poised to benefit. With manufacturing locations in North Carolina, the United Kingdom, and India servicing mostly regional customers, PHC has a lot of room to grow in other regions of the world.

map

“Not only is there potential for geographic expansion, but PHC has a breadth of capabilities that enable it to further penetrate adjacent growing markets, including construction equipment, cranes and aerial work platforms,” explains Ryan Kleiboeker, Director of Business Development for Specialized Products. “L&P has the global operating expertise to help guide PHC’s expansion into these areas, as well as a willingness to invest in the technical manufacturing capabilities to make PHC even more competitive.”

Chris adds, “Being a part of L&P affords us an opportunity to grow the business in a more aggressive way and with confidence that we can effectively support that growth globally.”

There’s Always a Better Way: Lean Manufacturing at Winchester Spring

As one of our core values, Continuous Improvement affects everything we do at Leggett & Platt. According to CEO Karl Glassman, “The potential for ingenuity is present in every business unit, facility, and position here at Leggett & Platt. We’re all counting on one another to keep improving and keep looking for a better way.”

For the team at Winchester Spring, finding a better way has certainly paid off.

Starting a Lean Pilot Program

Several years ago, the Bedding Group recognized a need to improve our competitive position, increase profits, and retain valuable employees. Eric Rhea, President  of the Bedding Group, proposed an initiative for a lean pilot program, and Winchester Spring in Winchester, Kentucky volunteered to be the first to participate.

Chuck Denisio

According to Chuck Denisio, Branch Manager, “The idea of implementing lean tools really complemented everything we’d been trying to accomplish at Winchester. I raised my hand because I wanted to get in at the ground floor of something new and exciting.”

Howard DeCelis, Staff VP of Continuous Improvement, was charged with starting the lean program at Winchester Spring. A lean program, just one of many continuous improvement methods, is the systematic process of identifying and eliminating waste. So, in 2016, a cross-functional Corporate team and a small team at Winchester began to do just that.

After overview training and employing basic tools and principles, they found numerous areas of opportunity. Howard admits, “We quickly learned that we exposed more problems than we had resources to address them.”

Numerous Projects = Numerous Cost Savings

One early success was a project involving the setup of new, complex, and expensive PA494 machines, which produce the Quantum Edge Comfort Core mattress. A team led by Brian Hill, Caleb Winburn, and Richard Trent underwent a four-day process of observation and analysis to determine how to save time with machine setup.

They utilized a lean tool called a SMED (Single-Minute Exchange of Dies), which is a system for drastically reducing the time it takes to complete equipment changeovers. The result of the SMED was a 67% reduction in hours worked to set up the machines, which added additional production capacity due to reduced time performing changeovers.

The SMED team for the PA494 project.

Another recent win came after the branch had received customer complaints about mis-tagged mattresses. As part of the lean program, Howard sent a team for a Rapid Continuous Improvement (RCI) event, which is a 4-day workshop of intense focus. They analyzed step-by-step how the products moved through the tagging process. “We looked at man, machine, materials and method,” says Howard, “and we brainstormed every possibility that could go wrong with correctly tagging the product, then targeted and eliminated those possibilities.”

The result was a huge win. Since “mistake-proofing” the tagging process, the branch hasn’t received any additional complaints.

The team at Winchester hopes for more success stories to come. “This lean program has been so good for our branch,” says Chuck. “The opportunities for future improvement are endless, and that’s been my drive. Change is not optional. If you don’t change and you don’t improve, you’ll get left behind.”

Company Spotlight: Trio Line Polska

Behind every branch at Leggett & Platt is a story: How they’ve grown or faced challenges, how they’ve developed and defined their culture, and how their products support unique customers. Trio Line Polska’s story is one of growth and great craftsmanship.

Welcome to Trio Line

Trio Line 1Based in Poland and acquired by L&P in early 2015, Trio Line joined our Work Furniture group to produce high-end upholstered furniture for some of the most recognized European furniture brands – the most iconic being the Egg Chair produced for Fritz Hansen. In fact, the branch’s main production is for the dining and lounge chair markets.

What makes Trio Line stand out is the artistry that goes into each piece of furniture. The attention to detail, precision, and beautiful finish make their products uniquely high-end. Additionally, since joining L&P, Trio Line has been able to align their designs with Genesis Seating to push their products worldwide for customers such as Steelcase, Herman Miller, and Haworth.

Bjorn Bahnsen heads the Trio Line management team. In 1999, Bjorn purchased his family’s Danish furniture company, Trio Line A/S. Four years later, he started Trio Line Polska to gradually shift production from Denmark to Poland. Since 1999, Bjorn has grown the business from 6 employees to over 500 – and they are some of our most dedicated. According to Wojtek Mytko, VP of Production: “None of the competition we give other producers would be possible without our talented team of employees.” Continue reading

Environmental Affairs: Preserving the Planet We Call Home

For our Environmental Affairs team, business as usual means “saving the world.” They collaborate with our branches worldwide to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and to build a companywide environmental sustainability program. Their work often exists in the details – the parts per million, the gallons of liquid, the kwh of electricity – but has big impacts on our planet and our people.

Our Planet

Environmental compliance for all Leggett & Platt branches around the world means ensuring that air emissions, wastewater discharges, waste handling, and chemical use and storage are in full compliance with all local, state, and federal government regulations. At L&P, environmental compliance is not voluntary or just a good idea; it is mandated by the L&P Board of Directors.

To support that mandate, Environmental Affairs works hard to provide our branch operations managers the resources they need to develop and maintain their site-specific environmental compliance programs. Continue reading

Photo Gallery: Recap of MFG Day!

Last Friday, manufacturers across the United States celebrated Manufacturing Day, also known as MFG Day, by opening their doors to showcase the potential of modern manufacturing. It’s a day meant to celebrate modern manufacturing and inspire the next generation of manufacturers.

This year, eight L&P locations hosted MFG Day activities:

  • Carthage Spring in Carthage, Missouri
  • Ennis Spring in Ennis, Texas
  • Monroe Spring in Monroe, Georgia
  • Pegasus in Middletown, Connecticut
  • Flex-O-Lators in Carthage, Missouri
  • Davidson Plyforms in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Genesis Seating in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Adjustable Bed – Spring Hill in Spring Hill, Florida

Among these participating branches, we welcomed over 1,200 guests! Some notable distinguished guests included Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, State Senator Bill Cowsert, and State Representative Vernon Jones at Monroe Spring. Flex-O-Lators welcomed Missouri Senator Ron Richard, Missouri Chamber President Dan Mehan, former MO Representative Tom Flanigan, and Chad Massman, Project Manager for the Dept of Economic Development.

Here are a few favorite photos from the day!

Calling All Drivers: A Busy Season of Recruiting at L&P Transportation

It’s been a fast and furious September for our employees at L&P Transportation (although some might say the world of transportation never slows down!). During the last few months, they have been working to add to the team of company truck drivers. Because L&P Transportation is a for-hire transportation provider, our drivers play a critical role in moving goods across the country.

Transport 1a

Christine Kost, Driver Recruiter, with one of our drivers, Mike Allen, at a recent job expo for veterans.

Christine Kost has been with L&P Transportation since June and was hired specifically to engage and recruit new drivers. “I love my job,” Christine said. “I have the gift of gab, which serves me well in this role because I get to talk with so diverse types of people during recruiting events. Drivers come from all walks of life, and I get to know them pretty well.”

To meet new candidates and promote L&P, Christine and the Transportation team have attended numerous recruiting events over the past few weeks. Christine has been eager to showcase L&P since we have a lot to offer potential drivers. “We’re not a traditional trucking company,” she said. “We’re a corporation, so our benefits outweigh what other companies can offer.” Continue reading

Ennis Spring: How a Manufacturing Facility Has Become More Like a Family

Ennis, Texas is a town of about 20,000 people just south of Dallas, and it’s here you’ll find Ennis Spring, one of our bedding operations that employs about 300 people. At the very heart of this operation are many long-term employees who love what they do, and it’s modeled from the top down. Kevin Fincher and Steve Prokop, Branch Manager and Manufacturing Manager respectively, have both been with Leggett for over 30 years! It’s this culture of dedication, hard work, and camaraderie that truly makes Ennis Spring unique.

But don’t take it from us. Here are five employees to describe, in their own words, what working at Ennis Spring has meant to them personally and professionally:

 

Clarence Butcher

Clarence claims the unofficial title of Ennis Spring’s longest tenured employee. He started as a Material Handler on July 30, 1969 – and let me do that math for you… that’s 48 years! He has continued in that position through his entire employment. “I like what I do and the people I work with,” Clarence said. “I hope to be with Leggett for another 20 years!”

 

 

Angie Moya

Angie started her career with Leggett as Chop Saw Operator in 2008. After a year, she moved into her current position as a Tag Control Clerk. Angie loves the company and said the managers and supervisors are great, and that’s why she stays. Even though retirement age is upon her, she still plans to remain with Leggett for another 10 or even 15 years!

 

 

 

Gary Farmer

Gary is the Safety Director at Ennis Spring and has been with the company since 1982. He started in the shop and worked there for 5 years before moving on to other positions. “I’ve done a little bit of everything, but I’ve been in my current position for 25 years. I love coming to work!” Gary has appreciated the flexibility Leggett provides, especially while his kids were growing up. Now, he appreciates the family-like feel at Ennis. “Everyone here cares for one another and each other’s families. That’s rare.”

 

Santiago Hernandez

Santiago started as a Helical Die Maker in 1985. Later that year, Leggett introduced clipping machines into the manufacturing process. Santiago was the first employee at Ennis Spring to learn how to operate the clipping machine and is still doing it today! He’s turned down opportunities to move up, simply because he loves what he’s doing – and he excels at it. His coworkers appreciate his keen ability to train new hires to run the machines. He says he appreciates being treated well by everyone and feels valued as an employee.

 

Melissa McAskill

Melissa McAskill

Melissa joined Ennis Spring in 2015. With 10 years of prior experience in Human Resources, she serves as HR Manager at Ennis. Melissa seeks out employees who will make an impact and who aren’t afraid to work hard. “We are proud to promote from within and provide our employees opportunities for growth,” she said. “Many have spent most of their lives working with us. Over 34% of our employees have worked with us for more than 15 years and 12% for more than 30! You just don’t see that anymore!” The culture fostered at Ennis is truly special.