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Shela Ward

The Wide Reach of HFC International

Leggett & Platt’s Home Furniture Components division creates the mechanisms that make many household chairs recline or swivel. In fact, you probably have an item in your home that contains an HFC part! This division’s widespread reach wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of its international branches in China and Germany.

HFC in China

The International Home Furniture Components group has three branches in China, located in the cities of Jiaxing, Taizhou, and Huizhou. These three facilities handle everything from sales and engineering to production and distribution. This presents quite a challenge, given the large and diverse customer base IHFC serves, but the sales team travels internationally to work with customers so they get the products they need, when they need them.

“The China branches supply some of our major U.S. customers that have final assembly sites in China,” says Nick Cogan, Director of Integrated Business Planning. “They also ship directly to major U.S. customers and supply our international customers in Asia, Africa, and the EU.”

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Employee Spotlight: How an Engineer Turns Safety Issues into Opportunities for Improvement

It only takes a few minutes with Dian Rose to get a sense of her drive. You can quickly tell that she’s thinking several steps ahead, always with a strategy in mind. Even at home, Dian says she’s always motivated to find “work” for herself, whether through activities with her family or projects outdoors. That drive has led into her current role of Corporate Safety Manager & Engineer for Hanes Companies, where she uses her engineering background to manage the safety and environmental components at the facility.

Dian Rose specializes in compliance and improvement for Hanes.

Dian Rose specializes in compliance and improvement for Hanes.

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Flex-O-Lators Packs a Big Punch

Don’t let the small-town location fool you – Flex-O-Lators in Carthage, Missouri, plays a big role in Leggett & Platt’s operations. That’s because the facility manufactures components used in the company’s own automotive, furniture, and bedding operations, as well as those of outside customers. This vertical integration also takes place on the front end, with Flex-O-Lators purchasing wire and materials from other L&P branches to make those components.

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Corporate with a Twist: Spotlight on Creative Services

Far across the parking lot from the corporate offices sits a nondescript little building – it may not look like much from the outside, but inside, you’ll find bright-colored walls, outlandishly decorated offices, and, occasionally, people running around in 1970s-era business attire. That’s because this building is home to Creative Services, Leggett & Platt’s marketing department. CS handles everything from websites and videos to ads and tradeshows for any L&P branch that needs it, as well as for outside clients.

(It also happens to be where I work.)


Growing a Department

The department has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1966, when it was a one-man show devoted to providing logo and design services to both L&P companies and our clients. Continue reading

Company Spotlight: It’s All About Location at Switzerland’s Spühl

Situated in the picturesque village of Wittenbach, Switzerland, Spühl benefits from both a great physical location and its location within the structure of Leggett & Platt. As part of the Residential Furnishings segment, Spühl provides the machines necessary to create many of Leggett’s own bedding components.

Spühl resides in Wittenbach, Switzerland.

The countryside around Spühl in Wittenbach, Switzerland.

Like a Swiss watch

When asked about the culture at Spühl, Roger Straessle, Vice President of International Sales, said, “Our employees are very precise and reliable, like a Swiss watch. They’re encouraged to make decisions within their work responsibilities, creating a sense of trust and motivation.”

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Company Spotlight: High Point Furniture Sets an Eco-Example

Ruby Jones and Richard Weeks each have over 20 years of experience with Leggett & Platt.

Ruby Jones and Richard Weeks each have over 20 years of experience with Leggett & Platt.

Environmental awareness runs deep at High Point Furniture in High Point, North Carolina. The Leggett & Platt manufacturing facility, which produces a variety of furniture components, recently hit a milestone, becoming landfill-free – meaning it reduced its waste sent to landfills from 41 tons a year to zero.

To accomplish this impressive goal, High Point has basically made recycling a way of life. Everything that is recyclable is recycled appropriately, and things that aren’t go to a waste-to-energy plant, where they’re converted into fuel for kilns.

Building a better recycling program

High Point began its recycling journey in October 2009, when the American Home Furnishing Alliance started the Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture program and encouraged High Point to participate. By March of 2010, High Point had become the first supplier company to complete the program successfully. The branch found that, through the program, it could not only reduce its carbon footprint, but also save money along the way. Continue reading

Company Spotlight: Work Furniture

Work Furniture in a RowLeggett & Platt is North America’s leading independent manufacturer of office furniture parts. If your office chair tilts or swivels, there’s a good chance that mechanism came from L&P. But how did Leggett & Platt grow to become a giant in the office furniture industry? It began in 1984, with the acquisition of Gordon Manufacturing.

Big Opportunities

Gordon Manufacturing, out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, manufactures chair controls and steel bases for office furniture. When L&P acquired the company, it did so in an effort to broaden its sofa mechanism business. But the acquisition proved a success in its own right, and David Haffner, current CEO of Leggett & Platt, was tasked with expanding the office furniture business. He soon became president of the newly formed Office Components Business Unit (OCBU). Continue reading

Company Spotlight: Hanes Geo Components

Leggett & Platt may have started as a bedding components manufacturer, but through the years, the company has added a diverse spread of capabilities to its line-up. Though some, like furniture and car parts, may be familiar, one surprising addition to L&P was geotextiles.

When Hanes Industries joined L&P in 1993, they focused mostly on the furniture, bedding, and automotive markets, making them a great fit with L&P’s existing endeavors. But in 2004, Hanes began looking into outside areas to find something that would mesh well with its established markets, while adding something new to the mix. They acquired WEBTEC, a geo-synthetics distributor based in Charlotte, NC. Continue reading

Go Forth and Listen | A Linking Mess

black and white open space with people Six easy steps for listening good.

News flash: people like to talk about themselves. So part of being a good conversationalist is being a good listener. This article provides six things you can do to be a better listener – in an easy-to-read list format!

Most of this is pretty good advice, but I take issue with one of the suggestions: saying the other person’s name. I find this “conversational trick” weird and unnatural. Anytime someone starts off with, “Nice to meet you, Shela. How are you doing today, Shela? It was great talking to you, Shela,” I feel awkward. But, apparently most people like the sound of their own names, so this should still work out well for you.

Go forth and listen.

6 Secrets of Excellent Conversationalists – Business Insider

Putting the “English” back in “English teacher.”

I can tell you what’s grammatically wrong with a sentence, but sometimes, I can’t tell you why. Continue reading

A Reminder to Remember – Some Thoughts About Memory | A Linking Mess

If you really want to remember something, write it down.

Way way way back in 2005, when I started college, hardly anybody brought laptops to class. We took notes by hand with pen and paper, then trudged back to our dorms uphill in the snow, barefoot. Today’s classrooms are filled with youngsters taking notes on their laptops or tablets (or pretending to take notes while they play games or surf the web), but this may not be a good thing. Continue reading