Leadership on the Front Lines: Supervisor Essentials Training

We care about learning at Leggett & Platt. It’s how we adapt, grow, and continually reinvent ourselves to succeed in our jobs. We’ve worked to foster a culture of learning for employees at every level, and at the core of our operations are hundreds of frontline supervisors who are ready to learn.

Supervisor Essentials is a training program geared specifically toward our frontline supervisors at manufacturing locations. “Frontline supervisors have a tremendous amount of influence on the culture of L&P,” says Stephanie Elliott, Learning & Development Program Manager. “It’s essential that we help equip them with the skills to be great leaders of people.”

For many years, a training program for frontline supervisors has been highly requested from our operations. Frontline supervisors juggle multiple demands throughout their workday. While facing deadlines and urgencies within their operations, they also often lead a team of people – which requires a different skillset altogether.

In response to this request, we launched a pilot program launched last fall, with a total of 65 participants completing a trial of the training in Missouri and Texas. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive as participants found the training to be relevant and impactful. One participant shared, “I learned how to look at both sides of an issue when working with my team, as well as how to be fair in my decision-making.”

This year, the same training from the pilot program became much more widely accessible to our operations, as onsite trainings are currently underway. Participants explore topics such as effective communication, leadership, safety, handling difficult interactions and conflict, and respect in the workplace. The program takes a blended learning approach of both eLearning and instructor-led training, which means participants will guide themselves through a series of online modules at their own pace, then also attend onsite training sessions to further explore to the material. Continue reading

Top 5 Paintings Decorating the Halls of L&P

Two of our former CEOs, Harry Cornell and Felix Wright, have always enjoyed and collected fine art, especially works depicting nature and the American West. Many of these original paintings and sculptures line the hallways of our Corporate Office.

We asked the collection curators, Ken Southwick and Ned Mayes from Marketing + Creative, to tell us about their favorites. Here are their Top 5:

1. “Recording the Hunt” by artist Marilyn Bendell

This painting captures the subtle, fire-lit interior of the Indian artist’s teepee in a beautiful, impressionistic style.

The artist, Marilyn Bendell was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of the Arts in 1965. She ran an art school in Longboat Key, Florida, with her husband, artist George Burrows.

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Throwback Thursday: Relax!

This business-to-business marketing advertisement from the 80’s says it all. Some of the most comfortable chairs start at L&P —even after all these years!

A Day in the Life of an International Sales Representative

Since starting at L&P in 2014, Miguel Rivero has been committed to his customers. As an International Sales Representative for our Machinery Division, Miguel serves over 50 customers in Latin America when they require replacement parts for bedding machinery and systems.

8:30am: Miguel starts his day in the office, sending emails and making phone calls. Instead of waiting for customers to contact him, he proactively reaches out to them to ensure their machinery is running smoothly. Since Miguel is bilingual, he’s able to successfully assist customers who speak both Spanish and English. “Many of our customers’ machines operate 24 hours a day. You can imagine how much the parts wear down over time. My job is to help them replace those parts as efficiently as possible, so as not to impact their operations.”

10:00am: After checking in with customers, Miguel heads down to the parts room to double-check SKU numbers and take pictures of various machine parts. With numerous quilting, sewing, packaging, and specialized machinery to support, the parts room contains over 5,000 unique parts!

1:20pm: Back in his office, Miguel helps the customer service team by boxing a few orders for shipment. He also organizes marketing materials for his next trade show.

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Top 5 Tips for Growing Your Professional Network

Expanding your professional network is an essential part of advancing your career. Yet, connecting with strangers can be difficult and leaves many feeling uncomfortable. We asked several of our employees for their top networking tips. Here are our favorites:

1. “When meeting someone new, I always try to repeat their name after they’ve introduced themselves. This allows me to say it out loud, helping commit it to memory. It also gives me a great opportunity if I didn’t hear their name or heard it incorrectly.” Kara Dixon, Marketing + Creative

2. “When networking, it’s important to build a genuine connection and show the other person you’re interested in them. I often ask open-ended questions that force the other person to talk about themselves. You never learn by speaking — only by listening.” Andy Cline, Hanes Industries

3. “Networking should be strategic. When I set out to meet a specific person or go to an event, I consider what goals I hope to achieve. When I’m able to articulate this, the connections I make are often more impactful.” Cari Southern, L&P Automotive

4. “One piece of advice I got a long time ago was to ‘make friends and be friendly.’ Framing networking in this light makes it seem more natural and, at least for me, it seems to work.” Dylan Hale, Global Procurement

5. “Try to get involved in projects that impact other areas of the organization, even if it doesn’t appear to have a significant impact to your current role.  You never know when that knowledge will translate to a project or potential opportunity down the road!” Becky Burns, Corporate Accounting

And finally, we’ll leave you with one more simple tip: “Smile! It will make you seen more open and welcoming.” We totally agree, Dylan.

Doors 2019: Highlights From Our Summer Program

Doors_4C_primaryWith fall just around the corner (can you believe it?), we say goodbye to another incredible internship class. This summer, we hosted 19 Doors interns participating from various Corporate departments, three local branches, and even Switzerland!

Our interns enjoyed getting to know each other through social events, developmental opportunities, tours of local operations, and exposure to company leaders. The summer finished strong with their final presentations and a closing luncheon to recognize their achievements.

Here are a few glimpses into our summer!

As Doors kicked off, several former interns (now full-time employees) shared advice on how to get the most out of the internship. Each intern was also paired with an employee ambassador who answered questions and mentored them throughout the summer.

Doors interns contribute to L&P through meaningful work. Joe Elledge, a Machine Design Engineering Intern, designed and built several tools which are now being utilized on the production floor.

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A Day in the Life of L&P’s Exhibits & Events Team

With 83 tradeshows planned this year, L&P’s Exhibits & Events team is constantly on the go. Today we shadowed Autumn Bjugstad, Project Manager, to give you a glimpse into a typical workday for their staff — there’s rarely a dull moment.

8:25 am: After grabbing her coffee, Autumn gets to work designing a tradeshow booth space. Members of the team are responsible for their assigned events from start to completion. This includes event registrations, managing budgets, designing booth spaces, coordinating signage and video production, and facilitating shipments.

10:15 am: Autumn discusses color palette options with Kyleigh Newell, Account Representative. Her team meets regularly to collaborate on design details and provide each other with project updates.

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Top 5 Qualities of Successful Business Leaders

We asked several L&P Executives one question: What qualities are most important in a business leader?  Here are their responses:

1. “Integrity has to be at the top of the list. It’s a quality that has been deeply embedded in our culture for a very long time. Also on my list are respect, communication skills, and an ability to empower capable people to carry out their own responsibilities.” Susan McCoy, Senior VP – Investor Relations

2. “Intellect, energy, and integrity. I want to hire a person who will demonstrate care for others and who will work and communicate honestly. I want someone on my team who is motivated to jump in and help others and who is willing to define their role broadly.” Mitch Dolloff, Executive VP/COO

3. “I consider personal integrity to be a given. I think a positive attitude is most critical – all else can be learned.” Perry Davis, Executive VP/President of Industrial Products and Residential Products

4. “Leaders have a moral compass which always points North. They also remember that it’s not about them; it’s about the team. This perspective allows them to be open-minded and excellent listeners.” Matt Flanigan, Executive VP/CFO

5. “Simply put, successful leaders must be good people who are sensitive to the needs of others.” Karl Glassman, President & CEO

Consumer Products Vision Systems

Over the past month, we’ve been highlighting people, places, and products within our Furniture Products segment. Today we’re spotlighting a vision system being used by Consumer Products to ensure quality products are delivered to our customers.

At Leggett & Platt, delivering a high-quality product is essential to building successful relationships with our customers. However, managing quality assurance on our product lines involves a great deal of planning, correction, and monitoring.

In January 2018, L&P’s Adjustable Bed team began developing a new product with an existing customer. During that process, they had extensive discussions about ways to ensure complete and consistent manufacturing and delivery of units.

The team ultimately implemented a vision system designed to inspect each unit before it was packaged for delivery. The system is able to electronically analyze critical components of the bed base to determine whether any of the parts are missing or misaligned. If an error is detected, it must be corrected before the unit can continue down the production line for boxing.

The black and white system substantially reduced their defect rating in the first few months. However, as the team analyzed the defects still being reported, they realized a color system could improve their outcomes. They made the upgrade, and both the contrast capabilities and higher pixel count allowed them to inspect even more points on the unit.

With the new vision system in place, the team was able to color code components and add additional quality checkpoints. This allowed the team to exceed their original target defect rate within 10 months!

According to Cody McCormick, Director of Sales: “We are just now gaining steam with this system. We’ve drastically reduced our missing parts warranty signal and have high hopes for other capabilities in the future.”