BedTimes APRIL 2010
THE BUSINESS JOURNAL FOR THE SLEEP PRODUCTS INDUSTRY
The making of a manager ISPA EXPO 2010: Crowds upbeat in Charlotte Safety programs trim workersâ€™ comp costs
It starts with picking the right people
Innovative Technology for
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Roll-Pac Workstation Super Heavy Duty Flanging Workstation Auto Faux Tape Edge with or without Binding Border Tacking Workstation Auto-Tuft & Quilting Workstation Automatic Vertical Stitch Border Machine Foam Encased Gluing Workstation Decorative Stud Border Workstation Latex and Foam Auto-Pac Machine Automatic Panel Flanging & Cutting Workstation Quilter Online Tension Monitoring System Automatic Vertical Handle Machine Double Overlock & Gathering Border Workstation Single Lane Border Quilter Workstation
Sudden Service â„˘ Company
This equipment is protected by one or more of the following patents: US patents: 4,280,421; 4,432,294; 4,466,367; 4,644,883; 5,134,947; 5,159,889; 5,203,270; 5,522,332; 5,524,563; 5,562,060; 5,634,418; 5,647,293; 5,657,711; 5,743,202; 5,865,135; 5,899,159; 5,915,319; 5,918,560; 5,979,345; 6,035,794; 6,055,921; 6,202,579; 6,279,869; 6,295,481; 6,494,255; 6,802,271; 6,574,815 B2; 6,834,603 B1; 6,968,794 B1; 6,994,043B1; 7,100,525B1; 7,100,526B1; 7,210,181B1; 7,383,676 ; 7,383,780; 7,412,936; 7,543,364; 7,574,788 Foreign patents: 9-520,472; 0,537,323; 92,905,522.6; 96,936,922.2; 2,076,379; 2,084,055. Other U.S. and Foreign Patents Pending. Copyright 2009 Atlanta Attachment Co. 10061031210
Atlanta Attachment Company 362 Industrial Park Drive Lawrenceville, GA 30046 (770) 963-7369 â€˘ FAX (770) 963-7641
the Sewn Products Industry Worldwide!
Atlanta Attachment Company is the recognized sewn products industry leader in automated workstations, labor saving devices, folders and ergonomic risk reduction. The Company, founded in 1969, has made its policy of SUDDEN SERVICEâ„˘ a way of life in all aspects of operation. Our entire staff is dedicated to providing three-day shipments of most custom folders and attachments. Special gauge sets and other work aids are available in 10 working days or less. We moved to Lawrenceville, GA in 1978, and have expanded many times. In September of 2007, Atlanta Attachment Company proudly introduced its new 225,000 square foot facility.
Atlanta Attachment Company pledges unequaled service and support to our valued customers. We pledge to maintain inventories of the recommended spare parts for our automated workstations* and to ship those replacement parts within 72 hours. If the expendable replacement parts are not shipped within 72 hours they will be...
Free of Charge! * Contact sales for the recommended spare parts list and the model workstations covered.
Certify your Peace of Mind Hickory Springs goes one step further for quality foam.
CertiPUR-US (CM) approved foams are: • Low emission (low VOCS). • Made without ozone depleters. • Produced without PBDEs. • Made without mercury, lead and heavy metal. • Made without formaldehyde. • Made without phthalates.
By complying with the CertiPUR-US (CM) voluntary testing, analysis and certification program, Hickory Springs confirms the proactive measures taken to verify that its flexible polyurethane foam not only provides durable comfort but is produced in a responsible, consumer-friendly manner.
How will CertiPUR-US benefit your company? • Focuses on current consumer concerns about foam involving health and indoor air quality. • Provides comfort and conﬁdence, reassuring consumers about the foam in your sofa. • Provides a reference source website for your customer service staff. You don’t need an in-house expert on health regulations and concerns. • Demonstrates your commitment to a healthy home environment. Based on a similar program in Europe, CertiPUR-US provides added value to furniture manufacturers – and eventually consumers — offering peace of mind and answering questions typically asked by consumers. Hickory Springs is one of several founding members of the CertiPUR-US program, which was officially introduced in early 2009. To switch to Hickory Springs’ certified CertiPUR-US foam, call 1.800.438.5341 or visit HickorySprings.com. Also see certipur.us.
PO Box 128, Hickory NC 28603
CertiPUR-US is a Certification Mark of Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam, Inc. ©2009 Hickory Springs Mfg. Co.
32 The making of a manager
Whether you’re hiring from the outside or promoting from within, it takes more to create a successful manager than just giving him a title. Human resource and business consultants give tips for selecting, training and evaluating your management team.
40 Preventive medicine
In the second part of a two-part series, BedTimes shows how implementing strong, comprehensive safety programs can help cut your workers’ compensation costs.
48 ISPA EXPO 2010
Both attendance and spirits were high at the recent ISPA EXPO. BedTimes brings you images, news and trends from the industry’s largest show of mattress manufacturing machinery, equipment, supplies, components and services.
9 Marketing Matters
Consumers, particularly those in Generation Y, are increasingly likely to surf the Internet with a mobile device. If they are using an iPhone or BlackBerry to look for a mattress, will it be easy for them to view and navigate your site?
13 Legal Briefing
There are few things you want to experience less than being sued. But if you’re in business long enough, there’s a pretty good chance it will happen to your company. An attorney advises you how to proceed once you get over the shock.
5 Editor’s Note 7 Front Matter 17 Market Report 63 Industry News 79 ISPA News 80 Newsmakers 82 Up Close 84 Classifieds 85 Calendar 86 Advertisers Index 88 Last Word BedTimes | April 2010 |
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EDITOR IN CHIEF Julie A. Palm 336-727-1889 email@example.com SENIOR WRITER Barbara Nelles 336-856-8973 firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Mike Christiansen Joe Dysart Lin Grensing-Pophal Phillip M. Perry Dorothy Whitcomb ART DIRECTOR Stephanie Belcher 336-201-7475 email@example.com Vice President of Sales Kerri Bellias 336-945-0265 firstname.lastname@example.org Ad Production & CIRCULATION manager Debbie Robbins 336-342-4217 email@example.com COPY EDITOR Margaret Talley-Seijn BedTimes deadlines Editorial deadlines for the Industry News and Newsmakers sections of the June issue of BedTimes are Monday, May 3. Volume 138 Number 4 BedTimes (ISSN 0893-5556) is published monthly by the International Sleep Products Association. Periodicals postage paid at Alexandria, Va., and additional mailing offices. Editorial and advertising offices 126 Parkview Lane, Reidsville, NC 27320 Phone 703-683-8371; Fax 703-683-4503 Administrative and ISPA offices 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Va. 22314-1917 Phone 703-683-8371; Fax 703-683-4503 Postmaster Send address changes to BedTimes, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, Va. 22314-1917 Contents © 2010 by the International Sleep Products Association. Reprint permission obtainable through BedTimes.
Editor’sNote Industry eagerly bidding economic winter goodbye
day or two before ISPA EXPO 2010 kicked off, the weather was awful. As it had been across the United States for far too many months, temperatures in Charlotte, N.C., were well below normal and it was snowing. Though a wintry mix had stopped falling by the time the show floor opened, it remained blustery and cold outside. But, as each day of the show passed, the weather improved. The clouds cleared, the winds died down and the temperatures began to rise. It wasn’t balmy, but by the last day, it felt great to be outside. Winter was finally on its way out and you could feel spring rushing in to take its place. The weather pattern we saw in Charlotte during the first week of March seems an apt analogy for the experiences of the mattress industry the past two years. We’ve been in a dark, dreary place for too long and we’re ready to enjoy a little sunshine and warmth again. We had indications that the industry was starting to see improvements during the winter Las Vegas Market. Manufacturers and retailers at the World Market Center in early February were decidedly upbeat. But I don’t know that we were prepared for the refreshingly optimistic reports and forecasts we heard during EXPO. “We’re seeing an uptick. February wasn’t a bad month at all,” said Michael Crowell, vice president of marketing for Spencerville, Ohiobased Flexible Foam Products Inc. “Our major customers are telling us it’s the best they’ve seen since 2008. We’re encouraged by it.”
Paul Brewer, a marketing representative for Automated Tag & Label in Fort Wayne, Ind., said his company’s business hadn’t dipped significantly during the recession but that it was really starting to boom: “Everyone’s going crazy now—the last three or four months.” If traffic and experiences at EXPO were an indication, the industry has much to look forward to as we head into spring and summer. “EXPO’s been spectacular,” said Kevin Stein, vice president of marketing and research and development for Shelton, Conn.-based Latex International. “We’re seeing everything from large to small customers—in both good quantities and good quality. People are looking for new products. I don’t know that we’ll ever have another 2007, but we’re on an upswing.” We heard from suppliers across categories and mattress manufacturers of all sizes that business is on the upswing. We’re hopeful the forecasts are right. At BedTimes, we’re ready to slather on the sunscreen and step out into the sun. BT
Julie A. Palm BedTimes | April 2010 |
FrontMatter Signs point to sustained mattress recovery
New ISPA forecast predicts gains in both 2010 & 2011
he U.S. mattress industry is expected to bounce back this year, with unit shipments projected to rise 4.5% and the dollar value of those shipments predicted to increase 7.5%, according to a new industry forecast from the International Sleep Products Association. The recovery is likely to be even more robust in 2011. The ISPA forecast, released in early March, predicts unit shipments will grow 6.3% and dollar values will increase 10% next year. The gains would follow two years of losses for the industry, which, prior to that, had been enjoying more than two decades of gains, particularly in dollar values. ISPA’s annual report, which will show final tallies for 2009, will be released later this spring. But in early March, ISPA was estimating 2009 unit shipments and dollars to be down 8% and 10%, respectively. By way of comparison, consider how the mattress industry recovered after past recessions. In 2003, following the 2001-2002 recession was over, unit shipments rose 2.4% and dollar values increased 7.8%. In 1992, following the 1990-1991 economic downturn, units were up 5.1% and the value of those shipments grew 7.6%. Signs of a mattress recovery began to appear in mid-2009. The sharp month-over-month declines began to moderate and by October, ISPA’s Bedding Barometer showed positive growth in both units and dollar values. In a March 3 roundtable
discussion during ISPA EXPO 2010 in Charlotte, N.C., Jerry Epperson offered the audience several other indications that things are turning around in the furniture industry and particularly in mattresses. Epperson is a managing partner at Mann, Armistead & Epperson Ltd., an investment banking and advisory firm based in Richmond, Va. Among recent good news, Epperson said: ➤ More furniture and mattress retailers have announced plans for “significant new store expansion,” including Rooms To Go, Sleepy’s, Bob’s Discount Furniture, El Dorado Furniture, Haynes Furniture, Raymour & Flanigan, Art Van Furniture, R.C. Willey and Ashley HomeStores. ➤ Retailers, including Home Depot, Target, Sears, Pier 1 and Havertys Furniture, are showing modest sales gains and reported significant increases in their profitability in their last quarters. ➤ Publicly owned companies in the mattress industry are reporting higher profits.
➤ Learn more Members of the International Sleep Products Association can receive the association’s monthly and quarterly Bedding Barometer, semiannual forecasts and an annual industry report. For more information, check www.sleepproducts.org. Investment banking and advisory firm Mann, Armistead & Epperson Ltd. publishes a monthly furniture industry newsletter. To receive it, email Margaret LaPierre at firstname.lastname@example.org.
➤ The winter Las Vegas Market in February was good for mattress manufacturers, who reported stronger retailer interest in new products. Epperson spoke at the beginning of EXPO. If his talk had been later, he might have included EXPO itself as a positive sign. Attendance was strong at this year’s show and exhibitors reported seeing both good traffic and quality buyers. (To read more about EXPO, see stories starting on Page 48.) Looking at the U.S. economy more broadly, Epperson pointed to other positive signs of a turnaround. Quarterly real GDP grew in the last two quarters of 2009. Also, U.S. monthly private construction spending stopped a rapid decline that began in early 2006 and posted some monthly gains in2009. In addition, the merger and acquisitions markets are beginning to recover and in some industries, including mattresses, companies are reducing debt and improving their gross margins. BT
BedTimes | April 2010 |
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Lorne Romoff V.P. Sales & Marketing
Cell: 514-265-8782 email@example.com
Maxime Knitting strives to offer a wide selection of knitted fabrics that reflect our highest standards of quality and innovation. Through great design and top quality materials, we proudly present to you our complete collection of mattress ticking which includes various styles, colors and materials.
828 Deslauriers Street | Montreal, Quebec | H4N 1X1 (Canada) | Tel: 514-336-0445 | Fax: 514-336-7458 | www.maximeknitting.com
MarketingMatters How well does your Web site travel?
Consumers increasingly use mobile devices to access Internet By Joe Dysart
texts, coupons or other advertisements to the mobile phones of consumers walking by storefronts. Geo-targeting, he says, will become “a key component of mobile social experiences and mobile marketing campaigns.”
fter developing, designing, redesigning and endlessly tweaking your Web site, you’re finally happy with it. Good for you. Now it’s time to go back to the drawing board: Chances are that your Web site, which works on desktops and laptops, isn’t meeting the needs of mobile Internet users. And the number of mobile users is on the rise. Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm based in Stamford, Conn., is predicting that by 2013, the number of mobile phones on the planet with Internet access and the number of computers with the same capabilities will be nearly equal. “According to Gartner’s forecast, the total number of PCs in use will reach 1.78 billion units in 2013,” says Brian Gammage, co-author of the report “Gartner’s Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users: 2010 and Beyond.” The number of smart phones is expected to reach 1.32 billion units that year. Hung LeHong, another co-author of the Gartner study, is predicting that by 2014, the market penetration of mobile phones worldwide will be 90%. Gartner’s projections are significant for any company and especially so for businesses that have yet to begin developing a mobile Web strategy. Relying on mobile A study released by Motorola in January found that 51% of shoppers surveyed during the 2009 holiday shopping season used their mobile phones in some way to make a purchase. Those uses included comparison shopping, reading product reviews, researching product information and downloading coupons. Not surprisingly, the figures for www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
younger shoppers were even more dramatic. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Generation Y shoppers used their mobile phones to help conclude a purchase during the holidays—and 21% of those same shoppers used a mobile phone to compare in-store prices with those on the Web. Thomas Husson, a senior analyst with the global firm Forrester Research, predicts in the “2010 Mobile Trends” report released in January that “companies of all shapes and sizes, as well as governments and local authorities, will start integrating mobile into their overall approach, rather than simply launching a few mobile initiatives.” And, he adds, “many brands will also realize that they need budgets to promote their apps, and more importantly, that they need to plan their next steps— be it upgrading their service, porting the app to a different environment, such as Android, etc.” Husson also expects increasing numbers of retailers, in particular, to experiment with geo-targeting—the practice of automatically sending promotional
Ways to do it Granted, retooling your company’s Web presence to accommodate users of a wide variety of mobile devices will be a chore. But Husson believes the effort could pay off handsomely in the long run. “Beyond direct revenues, mobile can play a key role in satisfying your most loyal customers,” he says. There are myriad resources available to companies wanting to pull together a mobile Web site strategy. Here are a few sites, books and products to investigate: ➤ mobiForge With more than 26,000 members, the mobiForge Web development community site (www.mobiforge.com) is a good place to visit if you’re looking to quickly get up to speed on mobile Web development. The first stop for a beginner is mobiForge’s “Starting” section, which offers educational materials, books and training guides. Other sections of the mobiForge site are devoted to designing, developing and testing mobile Web sites. The “Running” section, for example, offers ideas on how to monetize a site after it has been mobilized. There also are forums and a directory of mobile Web development agencies, mobile Web development tools and other resources. ➤Mobile Web books For an in-depth look at developing sites for the mobile Web, check out Mobile Web Design by Cameron
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Moll (www.mobilewebbook.com). It offers more than 100 pages of practical advice and tips, as well as more than 40 examples of screens developed for various mobile devices. Coming soon is Mobile Design and Development by Brian Fling. “We’ll discuss what makes mobile, specifically the mobile Web, one of the most unique and powerful mediums we’ve ever seen,” Fling says. “I’ll cover the essential principles for designing great experiences for the mobile medium, including how to take advantage of the mobile context, physical location, touch.” ➤ Mobile browser detection software Employing this type of software is one way to ensure that a mobile user is provided a Web site fully optimized for her device. Essentially, these programs can detect whether a person is using an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android
phone or other type of device to access your Web site and then directs her to a mobile version of your site that’s specifically designed for that technology. There are many options available. One example is Detect Mobile Browsers (http://detectmobilebrowsers. mobi/#usage), which senses and then redirects Web site visitors to mobile versions of your site that have been fully optimized for iPhones, Android devices, Opera Minis, BlackBerries, Palm devices and Windows mobile devices. ➤ Desktop-to-mobile Web migration software Again, you have many choices. For instance, apps maker Covario (www.covario.com) recently released a package that helps automate the process of transforming a traditional Web site into one optimized for mobile devices. “Our goal is to reduce the time it takes an advertiser to have a complete mobile Web presence to less than 30
days,” says Brian Klais, Covario vice president of product management. Covario’s software works by using a proprietary template to migrate content from an existing Web site to a site designed for mobile users. Wherever you start your process of reaching out to mobile Web users, the key thing is that you need to begin. As Forrester’s Husson says: “A new mobile decade is opening up and now is the time to start your journey. In the past 10 years, mobile phones have changed the way we communicate and live. In the next 10 years, they will change the way we do business.” BT Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in New York. For more information, check www.joedysart.com. Contact him at 646-233-4089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Catch your competitors napping. Some mattress manufacturers haven’t woken up yet to the fact that consumers want more than comfort and value… they want to feel they’re reducing waste and preserving our environment. That’s what SafeLeigh™ shoddy does. SafeLeigh is a unique blend of fire-retardant aramids, made with 100% recycled materials. It can differentiate your products and assure you of high quality and cost-effectiveness. SafeLeigh is another innovative solution from Leigh, the global leader in reprocessed fibers and textiles. Let’s catch your competitors napping — call (864) 439-4111 today.
Recycling Solutions for Generations Leigh Fibers, Inc. 1101 Syphrit Road, Wellford, SC 29385
10 | BedTimes | April 2010
Tel: (864) 439-4111 — Fax: (864) 439-4116 e-mail: email@example.com — www.leighfibers.com www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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LegalBriefing 3 scary words: You’re being sued
…And 6 rules for responding to that lawsuit
By Mike Christiansen ou’ve been sued. I know you believe the other side is dead wrong. I know you’re certain that you’re in the right. As a lawyer, I hear it all the time. And, truth be told, very often it’s true. But you can’t just call the plaintiff and persuade him of the correctness of your position. You can’t wish a lawsuit away. So, you’ve been sued. Now what? I’ve been a commercial lawyer for decades. Here I’ve distilled my standard advice into six easy rules designed to help you protect your legal position while coping with the stress and turmoil that lawsuits bring.
1. Act promptly Although a statute of limitations measures the time within which a lawsuit may be brought in years, the time within which you must respond to a suit is measured in days. If you are served, act quickly. Retain legal counsel or contact your current attorney. Make sure appropriate people in the company are aware of the suit. Then make sure that the response deadline—often no more than 20 days—is met. If you fail to respond to a lawsuit within the period of time that court rules designate, a default will be taken against you. And when that happens, you can experience all sorts of bad outcomes. When a default’s entered, you can’t assert any defense. You can’t object. You can’t put www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
forward your own case. You can’t countersue. In many states, if you default you’re not even entitled to get copies of the court papers from that point on. Poof! You’re taken out of the process, but the litigation continues. The next thing you know, there’s a judgment against your company and the plaintiff’s lawyer is checking into your company’s assets and bank accounts. Not good. 2. Stay calm Once you have acted promptly and your attorney has filed papers necessary to respond to the lawsuit, the immediate crisis is over. You can then begin to slowly and deliberately meet with counsel and compile records, documents, witnesses, etc. At this point, there’s no particular time pressure. Litigation can last for months, and often years, before trial. As long as you are represented by a competent legal team, there’s no need to panic. Granted, litigation is unpleasant, time-consuming and even unproductive, but it is a process through which you can—and should—remain calm.
3. Walk a mile in the plaintiff’s shoes Too often, once a lawsuit is filed, all common sense is lost. Lawyers strut and posture to show their clients how tough they are. Clients believe they and their company are in the right and often take it as a personal affront that a lawsuit’s been filed. There’s no need for that. Ask yourself: Does the plaintiff have a point? Could the plaintiff even be right? Is it possible that the actual truth lies somewhere between the plaintiff’s version of events and yours? Although it’s sometimes said that anyone with a few hundred dollars and a bad attitude can file a lawsuit, most people don’t enter into suits lightly. Most often, the plaintiff believes that he has been wronged and is seeking reimbursement for damages. Both sides need to take a hard look at the case from the other’s point of view. When that happens, bridges toward settlement begin to be built. 4. Mediate before trial It’s common legal wisdom that the worst settlement is better than the best lawsuit. Why? Because when you go to court, you are subject to the preferences and prejudices of a busy judge, an indifferent jury and a complicated legal system that seems to intentionally lay traps for the unwary. Plus, there are contingencies for which you can never plan—the inadvertent destruction of evidence, missing witnesses, renegade juries. Any experienced trial lawyer will tell you that litigating a case before a judge or jury—especially a commercial case—is like juggling chain saws. Jurors don’t understand business cases and judges often aren’t interested. Using mediation and
BedTimes | April 2010 |
a skilled mediator, you may be able to resolve the matter through a settlement that you largely shape yourself. In mediation, your voice is heard, not just your lawyer’s. In mediation, resolution is often reached in months, weeks or even days rather than years. There’s no appeal after mediation. If you strike a deal, it’s over. And a mediated settlement is often just as enforceable as a court judgment. A lawyer may try to dissuade you from mediation. Don’t let her. For a few hundred dollars of mediator time, you can test the waters and see how close to settlement you and the plaintiff can get without the need for a trial. I’ve seen many cases involving hundreds of thousands of dollars that are mediated and settled. Even if the dispute isn’t settled through mediation, the two parties often find themselves having come so close to
agreement that they begin to realize how foolish it would be to litigate over remaining small disputes. 5. Prepare, prepare, prepare And then prepare some more. If you haven’t been able to resolve the case and you must go to trial, preparation is critical. Cooperate with your lawyer. Meet with her. Listen to what she tells you. Go over your testimony in painful and redundant detail. If you’ve come this far and the plaintiff has rebuffed settlement proposals, you have no choice but to litigate—and litigate to win. 6. Learn something Whether you win or lose, litigation is unpleasant, costly, unpredictable and something to be avoided whenever possible. Think about what action or inaction gave rise to the lawsuit and don’t let it happen again. If you need to change your stan-
hello feel natural
dard contract, change it. If you need to clarify some internal procedures, clarify them. If you need to put a mediation clause in your contracts, do it. If you need to change lawyers, change lawyers. Do whatever it takes. In our litigious society, lawsuits are part of the cost of doing business. How you handle them is up to you. Follow these simple guidelines and you can make the experience of being sued as “un-unpleasant” as possible. BT Mike Christiansen is a Florida Supreme Court-certified circuit mediator and founding member of Mastriana & Christiansen P.A., specializing in business, real estate and telecommunications matters. He received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and has been a member of the Florida bar for more than 30 years. Contact him at 954-561-1711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are Enkev, and we make quality products from natural fibres. Since our foundation we have become the leading processor of natural fibres. We make 100% natural filling materials for the mattress industry. We use the best natural sources to make our products. Nature constantly replenishes these raw materials, which are unsurpassed in resilience, durability and ventilation. Enkev supplies the complete environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic materials. These all natural products go well with our skin; they are extremely comfortable. Our products therefore deliver excellent benefits to both your customer and the world we live in.
We look forward to receiving your inquiries through www.enkev.com
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14 | BedTimes | April 2010
19-01-2010 18:54:51 www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
Liberty Threads, N.A., Inc. Proudly Presents
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UKFB is TB1633 compliant UKFB is a recognized component under UL Category Code PHIX2 UKFB can be colorized in any shade UKFB has no signiﬁcant adverse effect on equipment UKFB leaves no residue or fly waste on the equipment UKFB has superior tested sewing performance in stitch formation UKFB is constructed using Kevlar® para-aramid ﬁber Tested and approved by the Lilly Management Group MADE IN AMERICA. A copy of the Certiﬁcate of Manufacture will accompany each shipment for accountability requirements. Please contact Liberty Threads for samples and pricing.
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MarketReport Industry more upbeat at Las Vegas market Innovative offerings give exhibitors much to promote By Barbara Nelles
he optimism among mattress and sleep accessory manufacturers was palpable at the winter Las Vegas Market. Buoyed by the expectation of an upturn in sales this year, exhibitors treated retailers to a host of new products and innovations, with value built into every price point. Jim Nation, president of Five Star Mattress, which has headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., reported that retailers were much more upbeat than during recent furniture markets and were “happy to have survived the toughest times.” “We had a really nice market,” said Mike Mason, director of brand development and integration at Lexington, Ky.-based Tempur-Pedic. “No one wants to say things are great, but our sales guys and our retailers are seeing sun on the horizon.” Mattress styling stood out during the market, held Feb. 1-5 at the World Market Center. Upholstery-look borders with contrasting top panels and tape-edge treatments were stars. Intricate quilt patterns abounded. There were fabrics studded with crystals at Serta, tack-and-jump florets at Simmons Bedding Co. and hand-tufted borders at E.S. Kluft & Co. Specialty foams—used alone or in combination with innersprings—dominated constructions. More manufacturers sought to solve couples’ sleeping conflicts by introducing dual-comfort beds and modular constructions in new and existing mattress lines. And gel solidified as a high-end comfort layer. Natura World reported interest in its NexGel collection, first
(Above) Comfort for two Owen Shoemaker of Comfort Solutions shows off the company’s dual comfort line, SleepiD. (Left) In the spotlight The Las Vegas Market celebrated bedding during the winter show at the World Market Center.
introduced at the September Las Vegas market. Serta added Smart Support gel to its Perfect Day collection, as well as four others. The top bed in Park Place Corp.’s Sleep Spa collection incorporates gel and Comfort Solutions is “testing the water” on gel with the prototype Angelic line. While most gel layers are a honeycomb-like construction, Spring Air International’s Sleep Sense beds use a component with a consistency more like Jello-O. Tech-savvy manufacturers reached out to help retailers cross the digital divide. Kingsdown, a Sleep to Live company, offered a Digital Welcome Kit for retail sales associates, help with search engine optimization and a library of syndicated content. Simmons provided a turnkey Google Adwords program for retailers. And Pure LatexBLISS’s Kurt Ling, a Twitter fan, is tweeting out a fact a day, beginning with general informa-
tion on a monthly theme and drilling down into details as the month progresses. Going deeper into ‘green’ “Green” components have gone mainstream in better bedding. There was much talk of bio-foams, natural latex, sustainably forested wood, organic and cellulosic yarns, recycled steel and more. Englander’s new Posture Support Plus collection for larger-than-average sleepers has a “strong all-natural story,” said Mark Freeman, vice president of sales for Englander’s Philadelphia licensee. The new beds have suggested retail prices between $899 and $2,000 for queen sizes.* International Bedding Corp., based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., reported seeing “good quality traffic and strong interest” in its relaunched Origins line, Origins Organics. The all-foam
* All prices are suggested retails for queen-size mattresses unless otherwise noted. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Big moves in body mapping
This one is just right Spring Air International and XSENSOR Technology Corp. teamed up to create Comfort Silhouette Imaging, which can recommend beds from as many as six brands.
Body mapping systems to match customers to the right mattress took on new dimensions at the winter Las Vegas furniture market. Kingsdown, a Sleep to Live company, has upgraded the sleep diagnostics program it introduced a year ago in Las Vegas. The Mebane, N.C.-based company’s system is synched to work with its new My Side Technology,
which allows sleep partners to select dual-comfort beds. “The diagnostics process itself is more personalized and motivational with a new interface and imagery—and it’s multilingual,” said Frank Hood, chief information officer. “It’s available in seven languages and has 4.5 million profiles stored in its database.” Comfort Solutions unveiled the BodyMatch screening process. Consumers use a touch screen to answer a range of questions related to height, weight, body shape and sleep preferences, then get comfort recommendations for the new dual-comfort SleepiD mattress. “This is the answer to the customer’s quest to make an intelligent purchase decision,” said Owen Shoemaker, senior vice president of product development for the Willowbrook, Ill.-based licensing group. “The in-store version is intuitive enough that anyone can use it and retailers can offer SleepiD online, allowing customers to find their comfort level in the comfort of their own homes.” Spring Air International introduced Comfort Silhouette Imaging, a comfort assessment tool that allows retailers to plug in as many as six different bedding brands. Consumers lie on a test bed covered by a blanket with 1,600 sensors. They answer a short series of questions via a touch screen and receive a printout of results. Developed in partnership with XSENSOR Technology Corp., CSI is “an impartial tool with multibrand credibility that provides an additional trust factor,” said J.P. LeDoux, vice president of sales for the Boston-based mattress licensing group. Beta testing at 120 retailers in Australia and New Zealand during a twoyear period yielded higher close rates, a double-digit decline in mattress return rates and a 12% increase in average unit selling prices, said Spring Air President Rick Robinson.
18 | BedTimes | April 2010
beds have a polyurethane base fused to latex, visco-elastic or both. Models retail for $799 to $2,499. “We are trying to provide a lot of retail value and more gross margin dollars for retailers, while being environmental stewards as best as we can,” said Eric Johnson, IBC senior vice president of marketing and merchandising. “The nails are recycled metal, woods are from managed forests, we use latex and polyurethane foam with soy and we don’t use glues.” Boston-based Spring Air International has “re-greened” its Nature’s Rest line, said President Rick Robinson. “The brand got off track for a while, but we’ve gone back to where we started years ago,” he said. “We’re using components like Joma wool and certified all-natural latex. We also take zoning to a new level in the hip and shoulder areas.” The six beds in the line are priced between $1,300 and $2,900. “This is a special brand,” Robinson said. “We don’t want this bed to be a commodity.” Natura World, with headquarters in Cambridge, Ontario, introduced GreenSpring innerspring mattresses— three beds with three comfort levels. The bed’s individually wrapped, zoned coils are 100% recycled steel, precompressed to yield “the perfect level of comfort and ‘push back’, ” said Julia Rosien, communications director. Other components include Talalay latex, visco-elastic foam with soy-based content, natural wool and cotton. Approximate retail prices are $999 to $1,599. “All-natural Ostermoor—it’s not just a bed, it’s a new American luxury brand,” said Dave Young, president of Fort Atkinson, Wis.-based VyMaC Corp., and co-developer of the revitalized brand. Each of the four models contains 60 pounds of wool; 2 inches of natural Talalay latex; an innerspring unit without border rod; an eight-way, hand-tied box spring; and a tradi-
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tional striped cover. The beds retail for between $8,000 and $10,000. Innersprings shaped by ‘value’ Therapedic International added three mid-priced models to its Therawrap by Therapedic collection. The beds retail for $699, $799 and $999 and offer “basic luxury” with their edge-to-edge wrapped coils, high-density foams and black-and-silver detailing, said Gerry Borreggine, president of the Princeton, N.J.based licensing group. Mattress and futon maker Gold Bond focused on offerings under $1,000 with high-end features. The Countess has a 2-inch Talalay latex layer, edge-to-edge encased coils and a super plush cover. The Chelsea is a two-sided bed with a 13-inch profile and edge-to-edge coils. Both models retail for about $699. “We want to give retailers more options and enable them to increase margins at ‘velocity’ price points with our high-quality, American-made products,” said Bob Naboicheck, president of the Hartford, Conn.-based company. Atlanta-based Simmons revamped its Beautyrest brand to include the good-better-best Classic, Anniversary (Simmons’ 85th) and World Class collections. Features include a “new pocketed coil gauge and pioneering foams that satisfy the consumer’s yearning for a plush/firm feel,” said Rolf Sannes, Beautyrest brand director. Prices range from $599 to $1,999. The brand is promoted through a new tag line, “It’s not just sleep, it’s Beautyrest,” as well as fresh advertising and public relations programs. New
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point-of-purchase materials include pocketed-coil demo units. Park Place, which has headquarters in Greenville, S.C., featured the 20bed American Comfort innerspring line priced at $299 to $899 retail. Foam-encasement begins at the $399 price point. The $599 bed has 1 inch of either visco-elastic foam or latex. “Sealy has launched its first value line since 2007,” said Dax Allen, marketing manager for Sealy, Bassett and private label. “We’re seeing intense pressure at the below $750 price point because consumers are looking for great values at affordable prices.”
The new beds from the Archdale, N.C.-based company come in five levels, opening at $299 for a foam core with woven cover and topping out at $699 for a foam-encased innerspring unit with specialty foams and knit covers. Sealy celebrated Posturepedic’s 60th anniversary by filling in some mid-range prices points. Eight new beds are priced at $899 to $1,199 and contain layers of specialty foams. Mattress licensing group Restonic has given ComfortCare “a new do,” said President Ron Passaglia. ComfortCare debuted nine models priced at $599 to $1,299 that sport features
such as “silver covers and a ventilated firming-foam base layer.” Beds at $999 and above have Restonic’s Marvelous Middle lumbar support. The entire line is supported by new point-ofpurchase materials. Five Star Mattress introduced the 14-model True Luxury Collection (TLC) with a pocket coil core topped with layers of Talalay latex and visco at price points from $599 to $1,299. TLC models—with coffee shopinspired names such as Scone and Mocha—feature beige suede borders, dark taupe tape-edges and white knit tops with taupe accents.
Accessories not second thoughts
“Why would a guy selling dining room tables care about selling pillows? Well, they do,” said Herman Tam, group vice president of sales and marketing for the Consumer Products Group at Carthage, Mo.-based Leggett & Platt. Brisk sales for the pointof-purchase displays and a broadened array of sheets and pillows from the company’s Retail Solution program were evenly divided between furniture stores and sleep shops, More than beds Leggett & Platt’s Herman Tam says the Market debut Chris Ann Ernst and Michael Tam said. company highlighted an array of offerings, including Rothbard took Sleep Studio’s SleepJoy line point-of-purchase and top-of-bed items. to Las Vegas for the first time. Throughout the market, exhibitors were rolling out new pillows. Kingsdown, a Sleep to Live company headquartered in Mebane, N.C., offered a slow-response memory foam Cool Pillow made with coconut milk. New York-based Sleep Studio’s Infinity Pillow is minty green, made with ViscoFresh foam and infused with green tea to eliminate odors. It has two sleep sides. Tempur-Pedic added a traditional pillow profile to its line-up. The Tempur Cloud Pillow is designed to appeal to consumers who prefer soft “scrunchable” bed pillows, said Mike Mason, director of brand development and integration for the Lexington, Ky.-based company. Latex International, based in Shelton, Conn., introduced a lofty, temperature-regulating Celsion pillow with gusseting. And licensing group Therapedic International, with headquarters in Princeton, N.J., extended its successful partnership with supplier Soft-Tex, allowing licensees to offer their retailers a complete, Therapedic-branded top-of-bed line, said President Gerry Borreggine. Natura World is helping retailers keep pillow samples clean with protector sleeves treated with silver—a natural sanitizer. At FabricTech2000, new pillow covers with OmniGuard Ultra are resistant to dust mites, bed bugs, stains and water. The Cedar Grove, N.J.-based company also introduced Elite mattress and pillow protectors with Sanitized Silver fabric finish.
22 | BedTimes | April 2010
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Into innersprings Natura World’s Julia Rosien talks up the company’s newest line, GreenSpring.
“Retailers love it,” Nation said. “The look is sophisticated and rich and it’s a departure from the all-white bed.” Comfort Solutions, a mattress licensing group with headquarters in Willowbrook, Ill., redesigned the King Koil value line for the Las Vegas market. Beds retail for $399 to $799 in queen size and feature contemporary geometric quilt patterns, foam encasement and VertiCoil innersprings. The company also added more luxurious fabrics and styling to its XL eXtended Life collection for plus-size sleepers. The mattresses are priced between $1,199 and $1,999. Mattress importer Stylution, which recently leased Wickline’s Escondido, Calif., facility and acquired the bankrupt brand’s equipment and intellectual property, reintroduced the Sleep Therapy brand. The beds, with
encased coils and a variety of specialty comfort layers, retail for $999 and under. “We are now able to offer a whole new level of service and selection,” said Ed Scott, Stylution president and chief executive officer. “We’re bringing in compressed product from China, opening it in our Escondido facility and reshipping. Retailers can buy less quantity and we can service a wider variety of customers.” Innovation across price points E.S. Kluft & Co. enlarged its offering of outer-tufted “open-chamber” beds at more affordable prices, starting at $1,999. The patented, hand-tufted border ensures that “all materials in the bed work in unison with the sleeper,” said Earl Kluft, president of the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based company. “The open chamber pre-
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24 | BedTimes | April 2010
for the bedding industry.”
vents a drum or trampoline affect that can occur when inner materials are stretched and pulled tight as the beds are sewn up.” Spring Air’s zoned Sleep Sense collection gives consumers a choice of four pressure-relieving modules that are inlaid over the bed’s patentpending zoned and wrapped coil unit. The hybrid bed uses Comfort Lok, an interlocking system of foam and springs. Zoned panels include specialty foams, as well as gel. The beds retail for $1,199 to $1,799. The Organicpedic 81 from Organic Mattresses Inc., which has headquarters in Yuba City, Calif., takes dual comfort and personalized zoning to new levels—81 levels, to be exact. Inside the zippered organic cotton cover lie 18 upholstered modules of natural Talalay latex in three levels of firmness. A consumer can customize and
arrange to her heart’s content. The bed’s core is topped by a single piece of channeled latex. The two-sided bed retails for $7,995. Comfort Solutions’ new foamencased SleepiD is available in dualcomfort models for couples and has encased coils along with a variety of specialty foam comfort layers. The beds retail for $899 to $1,799 in queen size. Serta, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill., relaunched Perfect Day, first introduced in 2005. Beds are coil-on-coil and the styling is elegant with a gray upholstered foundation and contrasting white mattress with shimmering fabric and crystals. Retail prices for a queen range from $1,599 to $3,000. The mattress’ unique Position Perfect handles are an eye-catching feature. Serta also has licensed Nickelodeon cartoon characters Dora, Diego and
That’s a wrap Therapedic International’s Gerry Borreggine says new models in the company’s Therawrap collection offer ‘basic luxury’ with edge-to-edge wrapped coils and high-density foams.
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Pocketed coil parade Tim Oakhill uses Simmons Bedding Co.’s wall of innersprings to explain the company’s new point-of-purchase materials, including coil demo units.
Sexy sells Eclipse International’s Matt Connolly says the company’s new Playboy line is constructed with ‘extra spring (and) a little more padding in the center of the bed.’
SpongeBob for colorful children’s twin and full mattresses. The visco or innerspring beds sport vibrant woven print covers with stain resistance. They retail for $299 in twin and $399 in full. Introduced four years ago and making its debut appearance in Las Vegas, Somnium is an “eco-friendly, chemical-free” innerspring mattress with patented Omniflex springs made of a strong, lightweight elastomer. The Venice, Calif.-based company’s innerspring mattress retails for $3,300 and can be purchased with a $350 slatted base. The cover unzips and components are easily separated into recyclable springs, HR foam layer with bio-based content and a fabric cover. Licensing group Eclipse International, which is based in North Brunswick, N.J., invited market goers to “Have more fun in bed” with its Playboy line. “It’s OK to marry the sexual with comfort,” said Matt Connolly, Eclipse president. The Ecstasy is constructed with “extra spring, a little more padding in the center of the bed, several layers of specialty foams and a revers-
ible duvet with two separate feels,” Connolly said. The suggested retail price is $1,999. Mattress maker Eastman House, also headquartered in North Brunswick, touted a redesigned box spring and added several “inner-tufted” beds, as well as coil-on-coil mattresses.
26 | BedTimes | April 2010
Foam going it alone Manufacturers brought out a host of all-foam beds with newly engineered visco-elastic, latex and combinations of the two. Sealy launched Embody by Sealy, with cores of its synthetic Smart Latex or visco. The mattress sports a creamy tan knit with zigzag stitching and a foundation upholstered in dark chocolate with side pockets for personal items. The eight-bed line is priced from $1,999 to $3,299. New York-based Sleep Studio made its market debut showcasing the SleepJoy line of foam mattresses, toppers and pillows. The U.S.-made foam beds are available in ViscoFresh memory foam or a formulation of mixed latex and visco called ViscoFresh Latex Memory Foam—a
“hybrid material offering more buoyancy and extra support,” said Michael Rothbard, Sleep Studio president. The foams are open cell and more breathable than traditional visco, according to the company. In addition, they are formulated with green tea to eliminate chemical odors and provide a fresh scent. Retail pricing is $1,499 to $1,999. The new visco ChiliBed takes “sleeping cool” to new extremes, with a temperature range of 46 to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. It retails for $2,299 or $2,899 in dual-zoned queen. “Coolness is the most desirable feature,” said Todd Youngblood, president of the Mooresville, N.C.-based company. “We’ve gotten testimonials from people going through chemotherapy, menopausal women, couples who can finally sleep together comfortably—there’s so much enthusiasm and energy out there for this product.” Glideaway Sleep Products, headquartered in St. Louis, has filled in upper price points in its imported 14bed Sleep Harmony line. Three new bed profiles—a tight top, euro pillow top and super pillow top—retail for $1,299 to $1,499. They have both synthetic latex and visco foams and are upholstered in chocolate brown suede borders with quilted knit tops. Sleep Harmony also includes two youth beds and a co-branded sheet and pillow line. “We are now a full-service sleep products provider,” said Ron Fredman, executive vice president of sales and sourcing. Anatomic Global President Jeff Scorziell said his company’s “sweet spot” for visco is $1,000 to $2,000, which is where the new Pure 7 Series mattress fits. It retails for $1,299 to $1,999. The is rolled and vacuumpacked for shipping and is a step up from the Ecomfort Series, featuring super-fast recovery, high-density visco. Mebane, N.C.-based Kingsdown added luxury latex models to its dualcomfort Sleep to Live 900 Series beds. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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Gussied up The relaunch of Serta’s Perfect Day collection is embellished with shimmering fabrics and crystal accents.
The 900L has an imported Italian latex layer with large geometric cutouts. It retails for $4,999. Restonic offered two new HealthRest foam beds in upper price points, $1,499 and $1,899. The collection opens at $899 retail. EcoSleep, made by Durable Products Co. in Fort Atkinson, Wis., is a rolled and boxed eco-friendly specialty sleep line that launched at the last Las Vegas market. New this market were two beds priced at $1,299. The Cool Contour Deluxe model has 4 inches of visco or 4 inches of latex and a Tencel cover quilted to Cool Contour foam. A 13-inch bed features a smooth top and 4 inches of 4-pound visco. EcoSleep also added a top-of-the-
New looks in foam Sealy’s Embody, with synthetic latex or visco-elastic, is finished with zigzag stitching and side pockets on the foundation.
line solid latex bed that retails for $2,000. Classic Sleep Products, based in Jessup, Md., promoted its new dropship import program that allows retailers to avoid channel conflict by marketing a different product online than they do in their stores. The sixitem, private-label program includes three visco and three latex mattresses priced from $499 to $1,299. At South Bay International, actress Jane Seymour was on hand to spotlight two models added to the import collection that bears her name. The Pomona, Calif.-based company introduced a 14.5-inch bed with three layers of visco in different densities, retailing for $1,899. A new latex model features three
layers of 100% natural latex in different densities. Tempur-Pedic is adding a third model to its new plush-feeling Tempur Cloud collection. The line launched at the September Las Vegas market with the introduction of the Tempur Cloud Supreme ($2,399) and then the Tempur Cloud ($1,999). Winter market goers got a preview of the Tempur Cloud Luxe, which will roll out to stores in August with a suggested retail price of $3,999. The new collection is meant to appeal to the “49% of people who say they prefer a medium to soft sleep surface,” Mason said. “We are bringing in the other half of the U.S. population. Now they can sleep on a Tempur-Pedic and be happy.” BT
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oving into management
Help new leaders get off on the right foot
By Lin Grensing-Pophal
32 | BedTimes | April 2010
ompanies rely on their managers to motivate employees, enforce policies, set and achieve goals, control costs, increase profits…the list goes on and on. Given how much they expect from their managers, employers are often surprisingly poor at helping them to succeed. According to a survey conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity in June 2009, only 24% of 324 respondents rated their
organization as “good” when it came to helping employees make the transition from worker to manager. The problem is multifold. Measuring the success of a manager presupposes that the company has defined success. Further, it means that managers have been selected based on qualifications and skills they have for a managerial role and then are given appropriate training and coaching. When all this happens, managers are likely to succeed. Unfortunately, this alignment doesn’t occur often enough. Many companies make their first major misstep at the outset—hiring or promoting the wrong people.
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Hiring right Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the founder and principal of Human Resource Solutions in Northampton, Mass., and author of Suddenly in Charge! The New Manager’s Guide to Influencing Up and Down the Organization. It sounds like a no-brainer, but companies need to make sure that the right people are placed in management roles, Matuson says. Someone who is techni-
cally proficient will not necessarily make a good manager. While the tendency to hire those with strong technical skills is common—especially when promoting people from within the company— technical competency does not ensure managerial success. Instead, communication skills tend to trump operational skills, says Ben Dattner, founder of Dattner Consulting in New York.
“Companies tend to pay much more attention to the technical aspects of new manager orientation, giving them the technical information they need, but not always sufficiently attending to the softer, more cultural aspects of the job,” he says. Those softer skills, which include the ability to successfully connect with, motivate and lead employees, are critical to being an effective manager. As many of us have seen in our own
Experts: You already have a pool of promotable people By Lin Grensing-Pophal
When it comes to hiring managers, companies often overlook the employee down the hall in favor of someone perceived as a hotshot from the outside. But there are a number of reasons why going with the known can make good business sense. Despite his position as a managing partner at Los Angeles-based executive search firm Kensington Stone, Kurt Weyerhauser sees big benefits to promoting from within. Perhaps the greatest is “maintaining a sense of continuity, culture and the overall fabric of the organization.” “A company that relies too heavily on outside hires often finds itself in the throes of constant churn and change that can tear at the very fabric of an organization,” he says. Another benefit: Hiring managers from internal ranks sends a positive messages to other employees, increasing loyalty and retention. According to Rebecca Schalm, a practice leader of executive selection and integration at RHR International who works from Calgary, estimates vary but experts generally suggest “that somewhere around 40% and up to 60% of external hires are unsuccessful.” “This drops to about 25% for people who are internal,” she says. Why? There are two key factors: What we don’t know can hurt us and it can be hard to find the right cultural fit. How to do it right Milan Yager, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations in Alexandria, Va., says hiring managers from inside should be encouraged but also carefully managed. “The whole concept of good management is to be able to identify good people early and test them as they learn, adding to the culture and success of the company,” Yager says. Karissa Thacker agrees. Thacker, a management psychologist and executive coach based in Rehoboth Beach, Del., says recruiting from within saves money and can be more effective, but companies need to use best practices.
34 | BedTimes | April 2010
For instance, companies should have coaching and executive education programs designed to develop the specific skills needed in future leaders. “I am talking about the ability to lead a team of 1,000 people toward a clear goal, to turn around a low-performing team, to elevate morale, to start a new business in a foreign country, etc.,” Thacker says. A development program needs to be in place ahead of even a recruiting effort. “It is absolutely fair to say that the best people have a high level of learning agility and will develop under any conditions. However, that is not a high percentage of the population within any organization,” Thacker says. Consequently, companies need to be developing more of their workers to reach their potential. “The added bonus is that they are also developing with the ethos of your organization,” Thacker says. “That means they are learning the real culture of this specific place and how to get it done right here. That can take an excellent executive from the outside six months to even begin to comprehend.” “As the market for talent becomes tighter, it will become even more important to have qualified internal candidates ready to step up,” Weyerhauser says. “Increasing the number of internal promotions is an important way to counter the smaller pool of talented executives on the open market.” Balancing insiders & outsiders But companies shouldn’t just promote the next person “in line” for a managerial position, Yager cautions. Even for internal promotions, you should have a hiring process in place. As Yager says, not interviewing an internal candidate because you think you know him is a mistake. Job descriptions for managers should be developed and should include crucial competencies that all applicants should be evaluated against. The bottom line? Mistakes can be made by going to either extreme. Weyerhauser offers this guideline: “Depending on the company and circumstances, a proper ratio is typically somewhere around 30% to 40% external hires and 60% to 70% internal.”
careers, even experienced managers can fall short of expectations when it comes to successfully navigating the more culture-related aspects of the job. External vs. internal hires Can you improve the chances of a manager’s success by bringing in an outsider or are you better off promoting from within? “To pluck a leader from one organization and bring them to another does not necessarily mean they will be equally successful,” says Milan Yager, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations in Alexandria, Va. In fact, research suggests that an outsider’s performance often drops in a new organization. Why? “Sometimes what made these leaders stars was related to the environment they worked in,” Yager explains. Of course, promoting current employees into managerial roles also can present challenges. “The danger of hiring from inside the organization is that the person will come to the job with alliances, prejudices and baggage harmful to the overall group and mission,” Yager says. Dattner offers a similar perspective: “The good news and the bad news is that people (being promoted from within) are familiar with you. Any sort of problems or issues that occurred in your old role might follow you to the new role.” For an employee being promoted into management for the first time, another challenge can be getting co-
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workers to change their perception of the person from that of an individual contributor to a leader. Linda Henman, president of Henman Performance Group in Chesterfield, Mo., and author of The Magnetic Boss, says that companies often fail to properly train their own employees when moving them into management positions. “They come to the erroneous conclusion that the person already knows, after having been with the organization, the lay of the land, the clients and all of that. They overlook the really significant part of that sort of promotion—that you’ll be asking that person to manage people who were once peers.” That shift, Henman says, “is one of the most complicated aspects of promoting internally.” Even experienced managers coming from the outside need training to be successful at your company. “I think that one of the arguments for the importance of training is that, no matter what, that person hasn’t ever had this particular job in your particular company. So even if someone is very experienced in management, often that person needs to learn the culture, the products, the customers and the players at your company,” Henman says. “There’s just so much that a new person has to learn and the faster you can give that information to them, the faster that person can get up to high performance levels.” Best practices In the end, training managers to be effective, whether they are new to management or new to the company, is critical for increasing the odds that the transition will be successful. “So many people are tossed into management without a safety net,” Matuson says. “Companies assume that because you have the traits that may indicate that you’d make a great manager that also means you already have the skills.” Training obviously represents an investment—of both money and time. “Many organizations don’t see the value of pulling people out in order to have them participate in different
types of training programs,” Matuson says. “It’s an investment and some companies view this as ‘nice to have’ rather than as a necessity.” Henman agrees: “I had a client ask me, ‘What if we spend all this money and get these people ready and they leave?’ My response was ‘What if you don’t and they stay?’ ” But even companies with small budgets can take steps to train managers. “Some companies think, ‘If we can’t do a training program, we can’t do anything.’ That’s far from the truth,” Matuson says. There are myriad ways to boost new managers’ skills, including: ➤ Bringing in management experts, perhaps over lunch, to talk to new managers ➤ Providing books or articles then reading and discussing them as a group ➤ Inviting an outside facilitator for a roundtable discussion of various management issues ➤ Pointing new managers to online resources. If you plan on promoting several people, you can structure group training programs, Henman says. When she’s worked with companies that have promoted—or anticipated promoting—a number of individuals, many used joint training to help provide a common language and strengthen the cultural alignment of new managers. One mistake companies make is assuming that one-size-fits-all when it comes to training. Training needs to be tied not only to the needs and culture of your company, but also to the needs of each individual manager. “Everyone needs to get what they need, when they need it,” Matuson says. Employers should assess a new manager’s skills, identify gaps and then design training to fill in those gaps. A way to bridge the gap between individual and group training is through mentoring or coaching. Mentors provide new managers with both a resource and role model. While a manager’s boss will play an important role in his development, Henman advises against having that boss serve as a formal mentor. Instead, she recommends selecting “somebody who has been successful in a managewww.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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ment role and can meet with the new manager on a regular basis.” Susan Cucuzza, a business coach with Live Forward LLC in Bay Village, Ohio, suggests that a mentor should be at least two levels above the new manager and, as importantly, “needs to want to be a mentor.” These relationships can fail if not well orchestrated. “A mentoring process should be in place that guides the mentee and mentor into their relationship and helps them determine how to structure their mentoring relationship, as well as set goals, frequency of meetings and outcomes,” Cucuzza says. The human resource department often is in a good position to facilitate this process. Managing expectations Of course, where the rubber really meets the road is how managers interact and work with their direct reports. Because there are many opportunities for misunderstanding and conflict between managers and workers, both the manager’s expectations and the direct reports’ expectations should be discussed explicitly, Dattner says. He recommends that new managers create a “user’s manual” that offers insights into their personalities and preferences. It should covers topics such as: ➤ Motivation ➤ Work style ➤ Management and delegation ➤ Communication and feedback ➤ Learning and decision-making ➤ Values ➤ Personal style For example, under “work style” a manager might write: “I like to get things done far in advance in order to avoid the stress of deadlines” and then give direct reports this suggestion: “When preparing things for me, don’t leave them until the last minute. Even if you can pull it off at the last minute, it makes me nervous.” Or the manager may say: “I’m a morning person. Come see me in the morning about important issues because later in the day I just won’t be as focused.” Under “values,” the manager might say: “I take the company’s values very
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A mentor should be at least two levels above the new manager and, as importantly, ‘needs to want to be a mentor.’ seriously and insist that everything we do conform both to the letter and the spirit of our values.” To staff, the manager could say: “Don’t present any ideas that conflict with our company values, including ideas that might appear even just on their surface to conflict with our values.” “It’s a great way of building understanding,” Dattner says. “When people are first getting to know a new boss, they might misinterpret things.” For instance, a manager may ask a lot of questions. Workers may perceive this as a lack of confidence in their abilities when, in fact, the manager may simply be a person who needs to thoroughly understand a project. A boss can help to manage employee expectations in a case like that by saying: “I’m a person who needs to know all of the details, so I ask a lot of questions. I’ve been told in the past that people sometimes think I’m being too controlling when I do this, but I want you to know that I don’t mean it that way.” Ultimately, it’s the relationships with staff members that will determine managerial effectiveness, says Matthew Modleski, vice president of Stovall
Grainger Modleski Inc., a training and consulting firm based in the Indianapolis area. “Great leaders know that if they invest in their people and establish relationships that are deeper than a coworker relationship, an individual’s performance and effort will go way above the minimum and move nearer the maximum level,” Modleski says. “Once that relationship has been built by the leader, leading a team to accomplish the business objective becomes much easier.” Measuring success Once you’ve hired or promoted a new manager, trained her and given her a chance to set expectations for herself and her staff, you still need to determine if she is being successful. Ultimately, you need to measure it. A surprising number of companies don’t. Remember that in the survey conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity, three-quarters of respondents said their companies weren’t very good at training managers. And many of those said their companies were especially weak in measuring managerial effectiveness. In fact, two-thirds of the firms responding didn’t even have a means of evaluating the success of people who had moved into management. Of companies that do use such tools, a standard performance appraisal is the most common, with almost 75% of respondents using it. About 60% use a 360-degree feedback instrument and 40% use leadership competency assessments or coach/mentor evaluations. Tools such as performance metrics and skills gap analysis are used by 25% or less of companies. Whether coming from the outside or being promoted from within, management experts agree that the skills required to be a successful manager are dramatically different from the skills required to be a successful worker. New managers who understand what is expected of them, who are provided with training and resources and who receive feedback based on measurable outcomes have a far better chance of success. And, as we know, successful managers lead to successful companies. BT www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
Seeking ways to fix workers’ comp woes? Safety programs can help reduce claims
By Phillip M. Perry or employers large and small, the problem is the same: The rising cost of benefits is eroding the bottom line. And one of the costliest benefits is workers’ compensation insurance. It’s understandable that you to want to trim expenses wherever possible, but doing any serious cost cutting in this area presents special challenges. For one thing, you can’t reduce benefit levels the same way you can with health insurance. That’s because states mandate full treatment for on-the-job injuries. Your cost-cutting steps must be done in conformance with the law. And when it comes to workers’ comp, the state is all powerful. “With the exceptions of federal employees and employees working in maritime industries, state laws control workers’ compensation,” says Christopher M. Fox, an associate in the Philadelphia office of Littler Mendelson, a law firm devoted to representing management in employment matters. Understanding various state laws can get complicated. “Each state has specific rules regarding how you notify employees of their rights, 2 | BedTimes 40 | BedTimes| April | April2010 2010
how they can file claims and what doctors they may or may not see,” Fox says. “Your state laws will also detail what steps you must take to report workplace injuries.” You can find information about your state’s laws on the U.S. Department of Labor Web site, www.dol.gov. Click on “Topics,” then “Workers’ Compensation” and then “State Workers’ Compensation Board.”
Part 2 of a series
“Easing the pain of workers’ comp: Careful policy review, shopping around can reduce costs,” appeared in the March 2010 BedTimes and can be found at www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes.
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No-fault coverage No one wants to deny workers’ comp benefits for legitimate accidents. But what about incidents that are partly the fault of the employee? Suppose the worker failed to use a safety device, engaged in horseplay or worked while intoxicated? What if an injury was self-inflicted? Many employers would like to weed out such questionable claims as a way of controlling insurance costs and it’s certainly possible to mount defenses against such claims. But unless some clear-cut fraud is involved, prevailing in court can be difficult. “Most workers’ compensation systems have become very liberal as to the definition of an accident,” says James J. Moore, president of J&L Risk Management Consultants, a Raleigh, N.C.-based firm that helps employers manage workers’ comp costs. “The fact is that courts deny benefits only rarely.” Why? One reason is a matter of judgment. Legitimate claims often arise because employees were not paying attention to what they were doing or performed tasks out of their normal work routine. Trying to draw a bright line between legitimate and improper situations can be difficult. Another reason is a matter of perception. “In any workers’ comp case it becomes the ‘big bad insurance company’ against the ‘one little employee,’ ” Moore says. “Workers’ compensation
‘The best approach is to take steps to reduce workplace accidents that lead to claims. The least expensive accident is the one that never happens.’ judges tend to lean toward the testimony of the employee.” Lawsuits avoided While it may seem that workers’ comp laws are stacked in favor of employees, they also protect employers from costly lawsuits brought by injured workers. “The trade-off for a no-fault system is that workers’ compensation is generally the exclusive remedy for employees injured in the workplace,” Fox says. “Only in very limited instances may an employee circumvent the system and sue the employer.” What are those instances? Once again state law rules.
3 ways to reduce premiums
Here are some ideas from Ron Peters, a partner in the San Jose, Calif., office of Littler Mendelson, a labor and employment law firm representing management. ➤ Investigate claims “A lot of employers just send to the doctor every worker who reports an injury,” Peters says. “That can lead to a lot of abuse. Once a culture of abuse gets started, it’s difficult to stop.” Investigate all claims to see if they are legitimate. ➤ Process claims quickly Set up procedures for handling injury claims efficiently. “Establish and communicate a policy that accidents must be reported immediately,” he says. “It is hard to investigate a report that is two days old. And late reports are often red flags for false claims.” ➤ Establish return-to-work plans “The faster people get back to work, the lower your expenses,” Peters says. “Get guidance from the doctor on how an injured worker can be accommodated in the workplace. Very often the individual can perform light duties.”
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“Using Pennsylvania as an example,” Fox says, “an injured worker could sue his employer outside of the workers’ compensation system if the employer failed to maintain workers’ compensation insurance or the injury was intentionally caused by the employer. That being said, Pennsylvania courts have held that even a willful violation of OSHA safety regulations will not expose an employer to civil liability.” Safety first There is one highly effective way to control workers’ comp costs: Launch a workplace safety program and constantly work to improve it. If you experience fewer accidents, you’ll incur lower medical costs, which translate into lower workers’ comp premiums. “A lot of employers come to me and ask, ‘How can we reduce the cost of this claim?’ ” Moore says. “Unfortunately, once a claim is made you are not going to reduce the cost. The best approach is to take steps to reduce workplace accidents that lead to claims. The least expensive accident is the one that never happens.” While safety programs can become quite complex, it’s wise to start small and build from there. The first step is to identify the accidents most likely to happen. “Slips, trips and falls are by far the most common accidents for almost all employers,” Moore says. “I see a ton of knee and ankle injuries resulting from what seem like minor accidents.” Such injuries can be damaging to the worker and to the business. “If you cannot put your weight on your hip or your knees or your ankle, you are going to be out of work a long time,” Moore says. “That is very costly.” Train employees to quickly correct conditions that might seem innocuous but that can lead to slips, trips and falls. For example: ➤ Tangled rugs Straighten any rugs that have been folded over. Watch for corners that curve upward. Make sure the rugs themselves don’t move around easily on the floor. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
➤ Wet floors When it rains, do the floors just inside your doorways get wet? Dry them immediately and install high-friction rugs. If necessary, put up temporary barriers to guide people around wet areas. ➤ Obstructions Don’t leave boxes or other items in walkways. Scoop up any papers, textile scraps or other waste that may cause people to slip. “Studies show that stepping to different levels causes many trips and falls,” Moore says. “So you need to pay special attention to stairways, any changes in floor levels or sections of floor that are on a gradient.”
Put roughened safety strips across steps to help shoes get a firm hold. Place mats at the bottom and top of stairs (and secure them well) to catch any water tracked in when it rains. Make sure handrails and banisters are secure. Changes in floor levels need to be clearly marked. Install brightly colored strips along divisions and railings. As for floors that are on a gradient, post warning signs and a walkway railing. Other risks Workers, like many on the mattress factory floor who are engaged in repetitive tasks, are subject to carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries that can spark workers’ comp claims. “In any situation involving repetitive work, I recommend job rotation,” says Pam Hart, director of safety and wellness programs at Doherty Employer Services, a Minneapolis-based human resource
outsourcing firm. “You can also encourage frequent stretching and short breaks.” Make sure workstations are structured properly so that workers’ bodies are in comfortable positions. Consultants schooled in ergonomics can assist. “Be especially careful about any jobs that require employees to lift, pull or hold heavy items,” says Claire Wilkinson, vice president for global issues at the New York-based Insurance Information Institute. “Overexertion of this kind accounts for a large proportion of injuries.” Involve employees Employees can be excellent sources of information on workplace hazards. “I highly recommend that (companies) gather employee feedback throughout the safety program and incorporate employees into establishing a safe place to work,” says
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Amy Trueblood, account manager at Awards Network, an organization in LaPorte, Ind., that sells safety awards programs. She continues: “Many (companies) regularly hold meetings at the beginning of a new shift. I have found this presents a great opportunity for managers to discuss safety with their employees.” Meeting topics can include how to avoid a known safety hazard, how an accident was prevented or how a recent accident could be avoided in the future. “These meetings also give (companies) a chance to recognize employees for safety achievements in front of peers, which will positively reinforce employee attitudes about safety in the workplace,” Trueblood says. Some employers establish awards programs that give employees incentives for injury-free work days. As vital as safety programs are, they can be counterproductive if poorly managed. Trueblood offers four “don’ts”: ➤ Don’t set up safety goals that will encourage employees to not report accidents. ➤ Don’t develop a safety program but then fail to establish bench-
‘Slips, trips and falls are by far the most common accidents for almost all employers. I see a ton of knee and ankle injuries resulting from what seem like minor accidents.’ marks or track its success over time. ➤ Don’t cap award earnings so that people slack off during periods when they can’t earn safety gifts. ➤ Don’t award safety gifts without considering the different tastes and preferences of employees.
Need help developing an effective workplace safety program or better understanding workers’ compensation insurance? You may have good resources right in your community. “Your insurance carrier may be glad to visit your business and conduct a safety inspection,” says James J. Moore, president of J&L Risk Management Consultants, a Raleigh, N.C.,-based firm that helps employers manage workers’ comp costs. “Further, your chamber of commerce and local community colleges may have leads to consultants who can provide assistance.” Other options: ➤ I nsurance Information Institute This organization offers a primer on workers’ comp. Check www.iii.org/smallbusiness/intro and click on “Workers’ Compensation.” ➤A dvanced Insurance Management How do you spot significant overcharges in your workers’ comp bill? That question and others are answered at www.cutcomp.com/questions.htm. ➤N ational Safety Council This group provides consultants and maintains helpful materials on its Web site, www.nsc.org. ➤O ccupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA offers information on laws and provides links to state agencies at www.osha.gov.
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Control fraud As mentioned previously, the no-fault nature of workers’ comp laws usually means that employers find it difficult to defend against claims. But that doesn’t mean that steps shouldn’t be taken to ferret out cases of clear fraud. Fraudulent activities result in increased workers’ comp exposure and higher premiums. “Workers’ compensation fraud comes in many forms,” Fox says. “An injury can be staged. Or there can be simple malingering by an employee who is content collecting indemnity payments but who is really able to work. Or the employee may be collecting indemnity payments while working elsewhere.” Insurance companies often contract with third parties to engage in surveillance that can help debunk workers’ comp fraud. For example, video footage may show the employee doing yard work or other physical labor that undermines a claim of his inability to work. Or they might uncover evidence that the person is working another job. Stay involved “Vigilance is absolutely key in managing workers’ compensation claims,” Fox says. “It starts at the time of injury with an investigation to determine if a claim is compensable under workers’ compensation laws. Beyond that you need to be involved after claims are filed. “If your claims are being managed by a third-party administrator or an insurance company, make sure that organization is keeping an eye on the claim, assuring the claimant is not working elsewhere and checking periodically with medical providers to assess the status of the claimant’s medical condition.” Workers’ comp benefits are typically divided into medical (reimbursement for doctor and hospital bills) and indemnity (payments for lost wages). “Controlling medical costs is very important because they now represent a much larger portion of total workers’ compensation costs than they did 20 years ago,” Fox says. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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“And there is no indication that this trend will be reversed.” To the extent that your state law allows, you can contest medical procedures that seem too frequent or costly. Turning again to Pennsylvania: In that state, if proper postings are in place and proper notification is provided to an injured worker, you can control the doctors seen by that employee during the first 90 days following a claim. But after that period, the patient may go to any doctor. New Jersey, in contrast, allows the employer to control medical care for the life of the claim. State law also can affect how you monitor the ability of the employee to work. In Pennsylvania, you can require that the employee see a doctor of your choosing twice a year for that purpose. One more thing: Don’t treat accident victims like strangers.
program, it’s the best thing you can do to save money.”
“Keep in mind that injured employees are staying at home, looking at ads from workers’ compensation attorneys on the TV and computer,” Moore says. “So reach out to them. Call them. Send them get well cards. Asking how they are doing is important. Except for your safety
Progress ahead Safety programs have proven themselves effective tools for reducing workers’ comp costs and employers, including many in the mattress industry, have climbed aboard the bandwagon. “Safety has improved considerably over the years,” Wilkinson says. “Employers are increasingly focused on making the workplace safer and reducing worker exposure to hazardous activities.” But bear in mind that safety doesn’t happen by itself: It must be managed. “A safe work environment starts with the attitude of top management,” Moore says. “Water runs downhill: If managers don’t care about safety then employees won’t.” BT
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ISPAEXPO2010 ‘This was our best show ever’ ISPA EXPO 2010 a strong market
ooths packed, orders written, business and personal connections made, meetings productive, useful information gained—ISPA EXPO 2010 had all the ingredients of a good show. For some, it was even better than good. “This was our best show ever,” said Taber Wood, vice president of CT Nassau in Alamance, N.C. “We had quality visitors—every call was quality.” Some 168 exhibitors set up on the show floor of the Charlotte Convention Center March 3-6 and more than 3,100 manufacturers and others attended, according to the International Sleep Products Association. Given the difficult economy that the industry has been navigating the past few years, many were unsure what to expect when the EXPO floor opened. “The show has been good and we were pleasantly surprised for two reasons: One, we sold equipment. And two, even those who didn’t buy
were upbeat and positive. They were saying, ‘I’m going need one of those soon.’ They appeared to be doing serious shopping,” said Russ Bowman, president of Global Systems Group, the machinery division of Carthage, Mo.-based Leggett & Platt. Exhibitors reported steady traffic and said they saw a good mix of mattress manufacturers—from small independents to the majors—who were looking for innovative machinery, equipment, components and supplies, as well as money-saving and efficiency-improving services. “The show has been great. It seems like all the key decision-makers are here,” said Alan Sheinberg, senior vice president of Komar Alliance in Elk Grove Village, Ill. Bobby Brown, director of operations for the Govmark Organization in Farmingdale, N.Y., called the show “phenomenal.” “The show was shockingly successful for us,” said Jim Turner, president and owner of SABA North America
Bring on the band Don Wright of Wright of Thomasville is out front for the Insomniaczzz.
in Kimball, Mich. “The overall attendance was good and all who we targeted came by and we had good meetings with them.” As the largest trade show dedicated to the mattress manufacturing industry, the focus of EXPO is on the show floor. But that’s only part of what happens during the event. EXPO also serves as a chance to learn more about timely topics. This year, there were seminars on federal mattress safety regulations, the industry’s economic outlook, sustainability, improving the consumer experience at retail and mattress recycling. Evening parties, including an opening night extravaganza featuring the Insomniaczzz, gave everyone a chance to unwind.
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Easy listening ISPA EXPO 2010 attendees enjoy Ergomotion’s Ergo Sound Bed.
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To read more about ISPA EXPO 2010, including detailed information about exhibitors and presentations from seminars, check www.sleepproducts.org.
Major interest in machines Atlanta Attachment Co. and other exhibitors reported good traffic and buyers looking seriously at purchases.
Taking it all in ISPA EXPO 2010 offered seminars and roundtables on a variety of timely topics, including the lastest mattress industry forecast.
Tactile tactics Latex International was among the company’s providing sample products and demo units to explain their technologies.
Hands on Exhibitors, including Vertex Fasteners, used real-time demonstrations to show how manufacturers can use their products.
Packed party The ‘Welcome to Carolina’ reception on March 3 drew huge crowds.
Start your engines With a major speedway just outside Charlotte, EXPO gave everyone a little taste of racing.
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Ready to relax
ith spirits high, the mattress industry let loose during a series of ISPA EXPO 2010 parties, including a pre-show cocktail reception and a “Welcome to Carolina” opening night party sponsored by Atlanta Attachment Co. During that blowout, the crowd was entertained by industry band the Insomniaczzz, feasted on North and South Carolina’s best dishes and tested their skills at games from Wii to air hockey. (All photo identifications are from left to right.)
Hank Little, Atlanta Attachment Co.; Steve Fendrich, Simmons Bedding Co.; Elvin Price, Atlanta Attachment Co.
Andy Freedman, Knickerbocker Bed Co. Inc.; Jeff Bergman, FabricTech2000; Mike Schweiger, VyMaC/EcoSleep.
Michael Crowell, Flexible Foam Products Inc.; and Ryan Trainer, ISPA.
Tom McLean, Kingsdown/Sleep to Live; Rick Anthony, Hickory Springs Mfg.; Jimmy Orders, Park Place Corp.
Terry Jenk, Lampe USA Inc.; and Norman Rosenblatt, Therapedic New England.
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Stuart Carlitz and Jerry Gershaw, both of Eclipse International/Eastman House. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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Industry recognizes veterans for contributions
wo mattress industry veterans were honored for their outstanding service to the industry during a breakfast on March 5 at the ISPA EXPO 2010 in Charlotte, N.C. Ray Malkiewicz of Wickline Bedding Co. in Escondido, Calif., was given the Russell L. Abolt Exceptional Service Award for exemplifying the highest level of devotion to the well-being and betterment of the bedding industry. He was nominated for the award by his peers. Malkiewicz served as chairman of the International Sleep Products Association in 1995 and over his career was involved in the Sleep Products Safety Council board; ISPA’s Finance, Nominating and Trade Show committees; and the Better Sleep Council. “Ray Malkiewicz has been one of the most outstanding contributors to
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ISPA during his 40-plus years with the association,” said Don Wright, ISPA chairman. Sandy Van Dyke, president of Interwoven Group LLC in Conover, N.C., received the Robert MacMorran Memorial Award, which is presented by ISPA’s Suppliers Council to recognize outstanding service to the industry. Van Dyke has a long history of service in the association. He was general chairman of the Suppliers Council and has held leadership positions on ISPA’s board; ISPA’s Finance, Nominating and Trade Show committees; and the Membership Task Force. “Sandy embodies the spirit of hard work, dedication and partnership in the bedding industry,” Wright said. To see a list of past winners, check www.sleepproducts.org.
Well-deserved honors The International Sleep Products Association hands out the two highest industry awards during ISPA EXPO. This year, ISPA Chairman Don Wright (left) and Ryan Trainer, (far right) ISPA executive vice president and general counsel, presented plaques to Sandy Van Dyke (second from left) of Interwoven Group LLC and Ray Malkiewicz of Wickline Bedding Co.
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EXPO trends: Innovations that add allure Exhibitors focus on ‘wow’ products that distinguish beds By Barbara Nelles
espite some snow and sleet in Charlotte, N.C., a February resurgence in mattress sales put spring in the step of buyers and exhibitors at ISPA EXPO 2010. Moods were upbeat as attendees took in a show floor filled with innovative supplies and components, all ready for the next generation of mattresses. Whether it was springs, foams, fabrics, tapes, nonwovens, labels or other items, mattress makers were treated to a variety options for spicing up beds. FR suppliers, who have been a major focus of recent EXPOs, ceded a bit of the spotlight to a broad range of fabric, tape, quilt and kit vendors who offered up vibrant color, texture and design. “People are looking for something new and different on the retail floor to create some new excitement,” said Ann Weaver, vice president of marketing at Lava USA in Waterloo, S.C. “With the economy the way it’s been, there was a fear about making changes, but they’re not so hesitant anymore.” According to fabric and tape supplier CT Nassau, with headquarters in Alamance, N.C., one of the least expensive ways to dress up a bed is to change out the tape and embellish the border. “In the past nine months, manufacturers were using up old inventory and couldn’t afford many model changes, but I think we’ll be seeing more consistent changes now. Many are refreshing a portion of their lines,” said Taber Wood, CT Nassau vice president of sales. “And the tape is helping bring color in there. It’s like when you change your necktie—no one notices you’re wearing the same suit.” Visitors to the BRK booth found eyecatching tapes in extra-wide widths. “Tapes are where it’s at. We’re showing handles and tapes in darker, more vibrant colors and we help manufacturers coordinate the entire look of the
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Spring story Leggett & Platt added Verticoil Edge to its line of innersprings.
mattress,” said Jeff Miller, vice president of business development for the Pico Rivera, Calif.-based company Ticking supplier Culp Inc., based in High Point, N.C., put a spotlight on strong border colors and sparkling “holographic” yarns. Beds are getting back their “sense of adventure with flashes of color,” said Jimmy Fleming, product and account manager at fabric supplier Tietex, which is based in Spartanburg, S.C. “Our natural cotton prints with vegetable and mineral dyes allow you to create some vibrant panels and borders. We’re focused on doing small, custom color runs for the customers.” Knit supplier Innofa, which has headquarters in Tilburg, Holland, increased its domestic U.S. knitting capacity by 50% this year with the purchase of knitting machines from the defunct Blumenthal Printworks. “The demand for knits is growing and growing, especially in dimensional, nonquilted ticks with high stretch,” said Job Dröge, president. Machinery makers backed up components suppliers’ efforts to dress up beds. At Global Systems Group, a division of Carthage, Mo.-based Leggett & Platt, the focus was on 10 machines specifical-
ly related to border manufacturing and enhancement, said Russ Bowman, GSG president. Manufacturers are spicing up borders with automatic label tacking, Editor’s note BedTimes’ goal is to illustrate broad trends seen during ISPA EXPO 2010. It’s our regret that we cannot report on every exhibitor at the show, but it remains our mission to report as much industry news as we can. To that end, we encouraged companies to send us product information and other news to be included in the January and February pre-show issues and in the March show issue. (Past issues can be seen at www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes.) Other exhibitor news from EXPO appears in the Industry News section of this issue. (See Page 63.) And in May, the BedTimes cover story will focus on innovations in mattress machinery, many pieces seen at EXPO. If you are an exhibitor with new products or news that BedTimes hasn’t yet reported, send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that we may include it in an upcoming issue. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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Newcomers Creative Ticking, a division of Beverly Knits, showed at EXPO for the first time.
embroidery, tack-and-jump quilting, tape effects and handle treatments, he said. “It’s all about the border because that’s what allows mattress manufacturers to stand out on the floor. Featured functions included border studding, border ruffling, vertical handle attachment and a single-needle quilting with programmable tufting,” said Hank Little, president of machinery supplier Atlanta Attachment Co. in Lawrenceville, Ga. Wright of Thomasville, a supplier of graphics, labels and other products and services, offered manufacturers ways to dress up the point-of-purchase retail environment with dimensional labels, large-scale banners, interactive digital signage, window graphics and more. “We don’t make the mattress. We make the mattress look better,” said Don Wright, chairman and chief marketing officer of the Thomasville, N.C.-based company. “We can help manufacturers coordinate their brand message from the time the consumer drives into the retailer’s parking lot to the product they test on the store floor.” Sustainability has staying power “Green” products abounded, especially among foam, fabric and fiber suppliers who emphasized sustainable sourcing, green manufacturing practices and the use of recycled or
56 | BedTimes | April 2010
Strong foundation Rock Island Industries demonstrated easy-to-assemble bases.
bio-based content. Deslee’s Reborn and Bekaert Textile USA’s Repreve collections were featured prominently in each ticking suppliers’ booth. The fabrics are constructed with a percentage of polyester fibers made from recycled plastics. At mattress kit, ticking and quilt supplier A. Lava & Son Co., there was the Earth Bed mattress kit containing Joma wool and natural-fiber ticking. Stuart Carlitz, president of manufacturer and licensing groups Eclipse International and Eastman House, with headquarters in North Brunswick, N.J., announced that an eco-friendly, two-
sided Eclipse bed “went live” on QVC.com during EXPO. The bed’s features include natural fibers and fabrics. Priotex, a textile supplier based in Rishon Le-Zion, Israel, offers an allnatural, 100% cotton woven ticking that is sustainably manufactured and finished. “This 100% chemical-free fabric is the focus of the show for us,” said owner Ran Niran. “Our product is not bleached, dyed or chemically finished.” Supplier or ‘solution provider’? Many exhibitors positioned themselves as much as “solution providers” as “suppliers.” They are helping customers to simplify purchases; to create, design and deliver better products more efficiently; and to promote products through to consumers. The complexity of choosing mattress fabrics was pared down at both Bekaert and Deslee, where the companies put the spotlight on a handful of key product groups. “We consciously tried to simplify because the more diverse your line, the more confusing it gets for customers. We drew them in with a few things,” said Lynn Pappas, product portfolio manager for Bekaert USA, which is based in Winston-Salem, N.C. Hickory Springs Mfg. Co., with headquarters in Hickory, N.C., focuses on being a one-stop shopping source, said Jimmy Bush, Hickory Springs president. “Our display emphasizes that—soup to nuts—you can get it all in one place, from metal to foam to converted products and nonwovens. Every product builds on another. We have something for everybody.” Vincent Gesquiere, general manager of latex supplier Latexco USA LLC in Lavonia, Ga., said his company’s emphasis is “no longer about selling blocks of foam but about helping mattress makers create something exclusive, unique and visual—without being extravagant.” Edge-Sweets Co. President Kevin Ryan offered attendees a new handbook, “The Mattress Manufacturer’s Guide www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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Putting it all together Transfer Master Products spotlighted an adjustable bed that it says can be assembled in 10 minutes.
Focus on efficiency D.R. Cash and The Fox Co. demonstrated a new panel cutter.
to Cutting Equipment.” The guide from the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company, also known as ESCO, helps companies define their equipment needs based on their size and production volume. Fairdale, Ky.-based equipment maker and machine shop D.R. Cash looked outside the mattress industry to apparel to offer a new concept in panel cutting from The Fox Co. of Auburn, Ga. “The machine allows you to create efficiencies by cutting and stacking panels like a book and radiusing corners,” said Thomas Johnson, D.R. Cash mechanical engineer. Adjustable bed base maker Transfer Master Products, based in Postville, Iowa, rolled out a simpler adjustable bed base that is shippable and assembles easily without tools. One person can snap the base together in 10 minutes, the company said. “In general, I think the mattress industry is beginning to look to new products that offer solutions—chemical-free comfort, affordable answers and a new functionality—and that’s what we offer,” said Nina Nadash, home furnishings merchandiser for Tencel manufacturer Lenzing Fibers, based in New York. The art of impersonation
to get wovens back to the top,” said Steve Bond, vice president of design and innovation. Flexible Foam Products Inc. introduced a higher density “latex hybrid,” a 4½-pound polyurethane foam with soy-based content that’s ventilated and has the feel of latex. “Manufacturers are looking to reduce costs but aren’t inclined to reduce quality—this allows them to keep the feel of latex,” said Michael Crowell, vice president of marketing at the Spencerville, Ohio-based company. Carpenter Co. put the spotlight on new high-density Avena foam for comfort layers and pillows. The Richmond, Va.-based company describes Avena as more breathable than visco-elastic and more comfortable than latex. Another new foam, Avela, is a visco-elastic with better breathability, faster recovery and eye-catching convolutions. Polyurethane foam with egg-crate convolutions have given way to specialty foams with custom convolutions, said Harald Kullman, general manager of sales for machinery maker Albrecht Bäumer GmbH & Co. KG, based in Freudenberg, Germany. “This is a driving trend in specialty foams right now, which is why we focused on our profiling machine for convoluting foam. Not only do convo-
58 | BedTimes | April 2010
As more bed components are engineered to mimic other components, some products on the floor required a double take: Was that a latex or visco comfort layer? A knit or woven ticking? Vita Nonwovens promoted a number of fiber choices that can replace one of the foam comfort layers in a bed without affecting performance. “It’s about savings,” said Dennis St. Louis, director of sales and marketing for the High Point, N.C.-based company. “Manufacturers save 30% to 35% by switching out one foam layer for fiber and the bed feels perfectly the same— the same comfort and aesthetics. It’s a growing trend over the last six months.” Culp said that because wovens are easier to work with on a bed’s borders, it was emphasizing a woven border collection with the look of a knit. “Knits are still wildly popular throughout the market but we’re trying
➤ Coming next month In May, BedTimes will look at the latest trends and advancements in major mattress machinery. The issue will be available online May 1 at www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes.
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One-stop foam shop FXI Foamex Innovations created a display bed so attendees could experience different feels of the company’s various formulations.
Balls in the air Latex International used a demonstration to show the air permeability of latex compared to polyurethane and visco-elastic.
lutions add unique style, they provide a ventilation story,” he said. “Many customers want exclusives on their design convolutions. They will buy the machine with one or two custom rollers and add more later.” Pulling in the crowds First-time exhibitor Texas Pocket Springs got its message across by keeping things simple, said Martin Wolfson, president of the Keene, Texas-based supplier. “I handed out a simple one-page
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fact sheet on product features and advantages and put product on the floor with mattress toppers,” he said. “Everyone could actually lie down and feel the product—people need to feel and touch. Visitors pulled in others from their company and said ‘try this’. ” SABA North America LLC attracted new customers to its completely redesigned, contemporary space, said Jim Turner, president and chief executive officer of the Kimball, Mich.-based adhesives supplier. The company displayed
Tales of tape Bo-Buck Mills offered mattress makers tapes that add distinction to beds.
a new pressurized adhesive delivery system that monitors cost per piece. Latex International, with headquarters in Shelton, Conn., illustrated a “stop burying the comfort” theme with four prototype beds containing latex in the top comfort layer, as well as mattress cutaways that showed “what not to do” when building up a mattress. There also was a “breathability” demonstration unit with floating balls that showed how it is easier for air to flow through latex than visco-elastic or polyurethane. At adhesive supplier Simalfa, there was a kiosk for demonstrating the application of its new 335 UV line of adhesives, which glow pink when applied in black light. The new product gives the operator much better control and precision, reducing the amount of adhesive used and saving customers money, said Harry Bajakian, national sales manager of the Hawthorne, N.J.-based company. BT
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IndustryNews Employees acquiring Southerland in ESOP Southerland Inc., a bedding producer based in Nashville, Tenn., is being acquired by employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan buyout. The deal, announced in early March, was expected to be finalized March 31. The new company, which is retaining the Southerland name, is led by co-presidents David Corbin and Steve Russo. Bryan Smith serves as executive vice president and chief financial officer. An independent manufacturer, Southerland has operated as a family-owned enterprise for more than a century. It has 274,000-square-feet of combined production and distribution facilities in Nashville, Oklahoma City and Phoenix. Southerland distributes nationally but focuses on the East, Southwest and Midwest regions of the United States. Under the new management team, the company will continue to develop its own brands and produce private-label programs. The change to an ESOP structure and accompanying recapitalization is being led by the company’s new exec-
utive leadership, as well as members of the Southerland family and current management team. Under the ESOP, employees will own 100% of the company. Southerland said it expects the new structure to result in significant tax savings and provide additional incentives and retirement benefits for employees. Corbin and Russo have been working as consultants for Southerland since mid-2009. Corbin has a background in marketing and new product development and has held brand management and executive positions at Procter & Gamble, Pulaski Furniture Corp. and Chromcraft Revington. Russo is a longtime bedding industry veteran who has held executive positions at Latex International, Consolidated Bedding and Restonic. Smith is a long-time member of the Southerland management team and has more than 20 years experience in managerial accounting.
Sealy expanding GSG buys Galkin presence in China M
attress major Sealy is opening a new manufacturing facility outside Shanghai as part of the company’s plans to grow internationally. The Sealy China plant is a joint venture between Archdale, N.C.-based Sealy and a licensee, Sealy of Australia. The 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is in the Qingpu Industrial Park, outside Shanghai. The plant is slated to begin manufacturing mattresses late this year. “Sealy is now growing its brand in one of the most dynamic markets in the world, China,” said Larry Rogers, Sealy president and chief executive officer. “Additionally, Qingpu is an excellent location based on its strong infrastructure, supply chain system and close proximity to Shanghai’s port.” “This facility will support growing demand for Sealy products in the Chinese domestic market and multiple Sealy Asia joint-venture businesses in Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore,” said Simon Dyer, Sealy of Australia chief executive officer and Sealy China general manager. Sealy China has been operating retail outlets and distributing imported Sealy products since early 2009.
Global Systems Group, a division of Carthage, Mo.-based Leggett & Platt, has purchased Galkin Automated Products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Global System Group encompasses a number of machinery producers, including Gribetz International, Gateway Systems, Porter International, Nahtec, SpuhlAnderson, Merrello, KSM and Teknomac. Galkin, headquartered in West Babylon, N.Y., has served the sewn products industries for more than a century. “By joining with GSG, Galkin Automated Products customers will have an expanded product selection and more extensive customer service through the global network of GSG companies,” GSG said in announcing the deal. Galkin President Paul Block will serve as vice president of sales strategies for GSG, remaining in New York. Other Galkin operations have been consolidated, Block said. “Having Paul Block and Galkin join us is a great opportunity to expand the choices our customers have to grow and become more flexible and profitable,” said Tony Garrett, GSG president.
BedTimes | April 2010 |
L&P’s 2009 sales drop, but cash position improves Components supplier Leggett & Platt in Carthage, Mo., reports that it generated $565 million of cash from operations in 2009—its second-highest level ever. Full-year sales were $3.06 billion. Full-year earnings were $0.70 per share. Fourth-quarter sales totaled $770 million, 13% lower than in the same quarter a year ago. The company attributed the bulk of the decline to steel-related price deflation. Unit volume declined approximately 3% for the quarter. Fourth-quarter earnings were $0.23 per share. David Haffner, L&P president and chief executive officer, said the company has made much progress, even in a poor economy. “For the full year, continuing operations earnings per share was relatively unchanged from the prior year, despite a $1 billion, or 25%, decline in sales that was primarily market driven,” Haffner said. “Our significant cost-reduction efforts and pricing discipline allowed us to sustain earnings per share and improve margins, despite the weak economy. Our balance sheet and cash
64 | BedTimes | April 2010
flow remain strong and our cost structure has improved significantly.” In 2009, the company used $240 million in cash to fund dividends and capital requirements, $188 million to purchase L&P stock and $64 million to reduce debt. Net debt to net capital was 23.7% at year-end—its lowest level in more than a decade and below the company’s 30% to 40% target range. Total sales from continuing operations in the residential furnishings division, which includes domestic bedding products, decreased $427 million, or 20%, in 2009. Total sales from continuing operations in the specialized products division, which includes the Global Systems Group, decreased $181 million, or 27%. “I am extremely pleased with our employees’ accomplishments in the face of such economic headwind,” Haffner said. “We are very well positioned to ride out the economic downturn, which we anticipate will continue throughout 2010.”
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Select Comfort generates cash, increases profits
uring 2009, airbed maker and retailer Select Comfort restructured its balance sheet, eliminated debt and returned to a positive cash position, the Minneapolis-based company said. Select Comfort reported net sales of $136.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2009, an increase of 4% over 2008. The
company reported fourth-quarter net income of $35.3 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $57.4 million, or $1.30 per diluted share, during the same period in 2008. (In 2008, Select Comfort’s fourth quarter was a 14-week selling period; in 2009 it was 13 weeks.)
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66 | BedTimes | April 2010
Gross profit margins increased 700 basis points, from 55.9% of net sales in the prior-year period to 62.9% in fourth-quarter 2009. The increase reflects an improved product mix and cost restructuring initiatives completed during the year, Select Comfort said. During the fourth quarter, net sales increased by 4% over 2008 and were up 9% when adjusted for the additional week in 2008. The increase in sales was driven by a 23% gain in same-store sales—offset by the closure of 72 stores since the start of 2009 and the termination of retail partnerships totaling about 700 doors at the end of third-quarter 2009. Cash flow for 2009 was $66.6 million, which includes $26.1 million in tax refunds associated with prior-year losses. This compares to $3 million for 2008. The company reduced 2009 capital expenditures to $2.5 million, compared with $32.2 million in 2008. As of year-end 2009, Select Comfort’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $17.7 million and it had no borrowings under its revolving credit agreement. At the end of 2008, the company had outstanding debt of $79.2 million. The company is in compliance with all bank covenants. Net sales for 2009 totaled $544.2 million, a decrease of 11% as compared to $608.5 million in 2008. The company reported a net profit of $35.6 million, or $0.77 per diluted share in 2009, compared to a net loss of $70.2 million, or $1.59 per diluted share in 2008. “Our fourth-quarter and full-year performance reflects strong execution against a set of initiatives that focused on controlling costs, building our brand for improved sales and preserving cash. The result is significantly improved profitability, with the company experiencing two consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth,” said Bill McLaughlin, Select Comfort president and chief executive officer. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
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FXI reintroducing itself with new products W
ith a new name, ownership and a host of new products, FXI Foamex Innovations is “really a new company,” said Alvaro Vaselli, senior vice president of foam products business management for the Media, Pa.-based company.
FXI, then called Foamex International, declared bankruptcy in February 2009. It emerged later in the year under the ownership of two equity groups, MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners and Black Diamond Capital Management.
“We’ve been in a cost-cutting mode for a long time. In 2009, we rightsized our cost structure and consolidated plants,” Vaselli said. “Now we have zero debt. We’ve always had good products, but in the past we’ve carried debt. Being rid of that allows us to focus on what we’re good at: innovation.” Currently, the company is putting its efforts in research and development and sales and expects to hire nearly 20 additional people this year, Vaselli said. FXI expanded its presence at ISPA EXPO 2010 in Charlotte, N.C., and rolled out an array of new products, including Aerus, a line of patent-pending, open-cell memory foams, and Activus “a high-energy foam” with increased resiliency. The company also offered Altus, a soft, lightweight polyurethane good for use in quilting. As part of its goal of being “a solutions company,” FXI showed several concept beds at EXPO to give mattress manufacturers ideas about construction options.
Short Liberty Threads gets patent In December, Liberty Threads N.A. Inc., a Winsted, Conn.based supplier, was awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for its newest thread, the Ultimate “K” Fire Break. The FR thread was developed to help mattress manufacturers meet the federal open-flame mattress standard, 16 CFR Part 1633. The sewing thread is designed to be used in tape-edge equipment, said Robert Hegan, Liberty Treads president. It also can be dyed to match mattress tape and ticking.
68 | BedTimes | April 2010
Creative Ticking adds TioTec to its portfolio C reative Ticking, a division of Beverly Knits, in Gastonia, N.C., has introduced a new FR product, TioTec. TioTec is a patent-pending, twoin-one technology that “offers the comfort and feel of quality knitted ticking with a knit-in fire barrier.” It’s designed to provide mattress manu-
facturers with a single FR product that can replace FR socks, as well as constructions that use nonwoven FR barriers combined with regular ticking. It also is available in a TioTec Free version manufactured without the use of melamine, animony, chlorine or many other chemicals.
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The product was showcased during ISPA EXPO 2010 in Charlotte, N.C., which Jerry Pratt described as the relatively new company’s “coming out party.” Pratt is president of Creative Ticking. Parent company Beverly Knits has long made a variety of fabric products, everything from intimate apparel to tractor seats. “To stay in those businesses we have to invent and invest in new products,” said Ron Sytz, Beverly Knits president. “We’re bringing all that experience to the mattress ticking market.” Among other products Creative Ticking promoted during EXPO was its Classics and Classic Free lines of ticking.
Shorts L&P ‘energizes’ winner Leggett & Platt’s Consumer Products Group, with headquarters in Carthage, Mo., has announced the winner of its “Energized Performance” weekend getaway drawing, held during the Las Vegas Market in February. Gary Trudell, owner of Custom Comfort Mattress Co. in Anaheim, Calif., received the golf and spa getaway for two.
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70 | BedTimes | April 2010
Sealy cuts environmental impact Archdale, N.C.-based mattress major Sealy reports that it has saved $1.2 million in fuel costs, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by almost 9%, saved more than $4 million in material costs and reduced manufacturing scrap by 650 tons since becoming part of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.’s Green Portfolio Program. The firm, based in New York, is Sealy’s majority owner. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
Vegas poker tourney aids autism
he second annual Ante4Autism poker tournament during the Las Vegas Market in February raised more than $7,000 for Autism Speaks, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing awareness, assisting families and funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism spectrum disorders. The event was co-hosted by Joe Amato of Mattress Matters, Randy Coconis, Coconis Furniture; Stuart Carlitz, Eclipse International/Eastman House; Scott Graham and Jerry Williams, PMD Furniture Direct; Doug Krinsky, Restonic; Phil Miner, Symbol Mattress; and David Wachendorfer, Tempur-Pedic. Graham was grand champion. Charles Cadrecha of CCC Sales finished second and Krinsky came in third. All donated their winnings to Autism Speaks.
Short Leigh Fibers introduces SafeLeigh Leigh Fibers Inc. is offering SafeLeigh FR shoddy, which the company describes as “a cost-effective alternative for mattress manufacturers who want to meet the growing consumer demand for more environmentally friendly content.” The blend, which was introduced at ISPA EXPO 2010 in Charlotte, N.C., contains fire-retardant aramids and is made from 100% recycled material. The company, which has headquarters in Wellford, S.C., offers a range of reprocessed products, including engineered fibers for insulator pads, polyester staples and blends for cushioning layers, and natural cotton.
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Anatomic Global sends team to Haiti F
oam mattress maker Anatomic Global sent a small team to Haiti in March to help distribute 1,400 emergency field beds and to prepare for delivery of as many as 200,000 WorldBeds. “It was important to get a team on Thank You toAdassess 3:Layout 1 how 2/22/10 the ground firsthand the
product is being received and distributed,” said Patrick Johnson, executive director of the Corona, Calif.-based company’s WorldBed Project. “With the information we gather, we’ll be able to better serve the Haitian people in the months to come.” 11:52The AMWorldBed Page 1 is a rolled, portable
foam bed. The company recently launched a Web site, www.worldbed.org, as part of its effort to educate the public and raise funds. Anatomic Global is working with Parakletos International, World Hope International and CARE to distribute beds. Brookwood Companies, Deslee Textiles USA, FXI Foamex Innovations and Royal Packaging have
Shorts Serta launches HGTV-brand
contributed support. Serta, withfinancial headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., has introduced the HGTV Green Home Collection by Serta. The eco-friendly beds have innersprings made with 95% recycled steel, polyurethane foams with soy-based content and covers containing organic cotton and linen fiber, according to the company. The new collection is being distributed exclusively at BrandSource retailers nationwide.
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74 | BedTimes | April 2010
Shifman expands retail base Despite a tough economy, Newark, N.J.-based Shifman Mattresses said it grew its dealer base by 23% in 2009. Sales for fourthquarter 2009 were up 42% over the same period in 2008 and January 2009 sales were 43% higher than the same period a year earlier, according to the company. The manufacturer of luxury handmade mattresses attributed the growth to offering dealers exclusive distribution and creating effective co-op advertising programs to drive store traffic and increase sales. Sedlak Interiors, a furniture retailer based in Solon, Ohio, is one of Shifman’s newest accounts. www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
Albrecht Bäumer positions itself for 2010 A
lbrecht Bäumer GmbH & Co. KG, a fabricator of machinery, cutting tools and other equipment for foam converters, laid off 38 people at the beginning of the year, but says that a recent increase in orders has the company optimistic about the remainder of 2010. “The high number of projects we are currently working on tells about the optimism for the furniture, mattress and packing industries. We have noticed that our customers are now considering capital expenditures again,” said Harald Kullmann, sales director
of the company, which has headquarters in Freudenberg, Germany. After the reduction in work force, the company “is well positioned now for the future with a lean, more efficient and flexible working practice. That is how we will be able to meet our customers’ requirements better than ever before,”
said President Helmut Kritzler. The company hopes to grow its market share in China, India, North Africa and Russia. Also, Bäumer of America has new leadership. Philipp Schuster, part of the family ownership team, took the helm of the subsidiary this month.
Protect-A-Bed buys European distributor Protect-A-Bed, a provider of mattress and pillow protectors based in Northbrook, Ill., has established a formal presence in Europe with the acquisition of its longtime European distributor Shine Capital Europe Ltd. Simon Zamet, former owner of the London-based Shine Capital, has been named chief executive officer of the newly created Protect-A-Bed Europe. “This acquisition gives Protect-A-Bed a direct relationship with valuable customers across Europe,” said James Bell, ProtectA-Bed chief executive office. In other news, Protect-A-Bed has added products to its Healthy Sleep Zone line. The Luxury Pillow System includes a zippered pillow that allows the user to adjust the amount of microfiber filling to her comfort level, as well as a protector made with Tencel yarns and an antibacterial, waterproof and dust miteproof Miracle Membrane barrier. The new QuiltGuard cotton mattress pad is a fitted-sheet protector with a cotton surface and Miracle Membrane.
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Simmons’ Charlotte plant praised for safety
attress manufacturer Simmons Bedding Co. reports that its facility in Charlotte, N.C., is a participant in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program for the third consecutive time. SHARP, a program of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, recognizes companies that provide an exemplary safety and health management environment for employees. “Recertification of SHARP makes a serious statement about a company’s dedication to employee safety,” said Jonathan Dawe, director of safety, health, wellness and workers’ compensation for the Atlanta-based company. “To reach this stage takes a meaningful and ongoing commitment to creating and maintaining a safe work environment for all our employees. You’ll find the
same culture of safety that is present at our Charlotte plant at every Simmons facility.” SHARP participants invite OSHA into the workplace for a consultation during which all hazards are identified and corrected. The site’s workplace injuries and time
lost due to injuries must be below the national average. The Charlotte facility has gone more than 780 days without a recordable safety incident. During 2008 and 2009, the plant had no recordable incidents. Simmons credits the facility’s successes to its comprehensive safety program.
Short Hollandia offers more affordable TV bed Manufacturer and retailer Hollandia International, which is based in Sderot, Israel, has added a new entry price point to its Platinum-Luxe collection of TV beds. The upholstered bed frame of The View bed contains a retractable flat-screen television in its foot board. The View holds a Talalay latex mattress and has a suggested retail price of $8,840 in queen size with a flat foundation; $12,000 with an adjustable base. The step-up beds in the collection start at $20,000.
In a recent, independent study: 95% of mattress customers polled (ages 21-34) said the Purista™ freshnessenhancing treatment was a feature they desired in their mattress. Contact us today to learn more about how the Purista™ brand can become a part of your polyurethane and latex foams solution.
Learn more at archbiocides.com or call 800.491.8375
76 | BedTimes | April 2010
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ISPANews Chairman: Going it alone won’t help industry ‘Collectively we are an incredible force of talent, intellect & business savvy’ Editor’s note At the recent ISPA EXPO 2010 in Charlotte, N.C., ISPA Chairman Don Wright updated members of the International Sleep Products Association about the association’s efforts on several fronts: advocacy, sustainability, statistics and the Better Sleep Council. Wright, chairman and chief marketing officer for industry supplier Wright of Thomasville, also used his comments to rally members of the bedding industry to work together. Following is part of his speech, edited and condensed for print.
n my first week on the job as chairman of this association, I was asked by a reporter, “Why ISPA?” There I was, faced with a question I wasn’t expecting: “Why does the mattress industry need an association?” Initially, my response was somewhat programmed and sort of fluffy: “Because it has always been that way. Because it is a good thing.” However, in the past seven months as chairman, I have had the pleasure of refining my answer from a front-line perspective. Why does the industry need an association? I love analogies. The best one I have been able to draw is that ISPA is much like a peloton in the Tour de France—that big bicycle race that runs for three weeks, covers 2,200 miles and has been won a bunch of times by a Texan who once battled cancer. I may not look like a bicycle racer but I do participate in several races each year. I love a long, tough bicycle race—100-plus miles of incredible effort, the feel of the wind in my face, my legs pumping out a steady rhythm. And I love exerting tremendous energy while shoulder
to shoulder with others racing toward one goal: Get to the finish line. How does this relate to an industry association? Let me explain. A peloton is the main group of bicyclists in a race, riding side by side, front wheel to back wheel. They are competitors, all trying to win the race, yet working together against a common hindrance—the wind. In our mattress industry race, the common goal is to improve people’s sleep—and sell new beds. The winds working against us come from many directions. There are the crosswinds of sexier, more aspirational products that steal consumers’ attention away from the value and importance of a good night’s sleep. The Better Sleep Council helps us divert those crosswinds. The headwind of big government makes our jobs harder through taxation and regulations that add to the cost of doing business. I won’t go on
a tangent and explain the obvious correlation to politicians and hot air, but I will remind you that all of your teammates are working together in the areas of advocacy and regulatory reform. As Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong has noted, it’s almost impossible to be on the race course alone. The peloton gives riders a 30% gain in efficiency against the wind. Being part of the peloton is the only way you stand a chance of winning the race. All of us are trying to win for our individual teams, but our association peloton—made up of manufacturers, suppliers and retailers—is working collectively to share the burden of splitting the wind. The mattress industry employs about 110,000 workers in the United States. Mattress retail sales are about $12 billion annually. Annual payrolls are roughly $2 billion. We make our products in more than 700 facilities spread across the country—in almost every state and in most congressional districts. It’s critical to remember that politicians respond to two things— money in the form of contributions and numbers of voters. To me, that is the reason for an association. Our peloton can be a major, unified voice in Washington, D.C. Individually, we represent some powerful companies and we compete among ourselves. But collectively we are an incredible force of talent, intellect and business savvy. Thank you for entrusting the ISPA leadership and staff to ride at the front of this industry’s peloton. With the wind in our faces and the strength of your participation behind us, we can attack any headwinds. BT
BedTimes | April 2010 |
NewsMakers Comfort Solutions names Zupkus to chief finance post
Natura World promotes Miller Cambridge, Ontario-based mattress and sleep accessories manufacturer Natura World has promoted Scott Miller to executive vice president of U.S. sales, a newly created position. He continues to manage the company’s U.S. sales force and reports to President Ralph Rossdeutscher. Since joining Natura in 2008, Miller has been responsible for identifying and developing a number of initiatives, including the acquisition of NexGel and MediWedge. He also orchestrated Natura’s launch of its GreenSpring innerspring line and currently leads the charge in developing a line of Sharper Image mattresses. Before joining Natura, Miller was senior vice president of sales at International Bedding Co. and a corporate vice president at Simmons Bedding Co. “Scott’s exceptional performance and leadership have fostered a strong and dynamic team across the United States,” Rossdeutscher said. “This promotion is a result of Scott’s significant contributions to Natura and his ability to act strategically.”
attress licensing group Comfort Solutions, which has headquarters in Willowbrook, Ill., has appointed Vincent Zupkus senior vice Vincent Zupkus president and chief financial officer. Previously, he served as senior vice president of finance for the former Spring Air Co., which he first joined in 1996 as corporate controller. Prior to that, he served as controller for several wholesale distributors of consumer products and spent nearly a decade with a Chicago-area public accounting firm. “Vince brings a wealth of both financial management practice and mattress industry experience at a time when Comfort Solutions is seeing significant gains in sales and market share,” said Dave Roberts, Comfort Solutions president and chief operating officer. Zupkus is based at the company’s headquarters and reports to Roberts.
Anatomic Global appoints WorldBed director M
attress maker Anatomic Global has named Patrick Johnson executive director of its WorldBed initiative to aid Haitians displaced by
the catastrophic Jan. 12 earthquake near Port-au-Prince. The company’s goal is to raise $7.4 million to facilitate the delivery of 200,000 beds
Short Sutton leaving ISPA for Entomological Society Debi Sutton has announced her resignation from the International Sleep Products Association to lead membership and marketing efforts at the Entomological Society of America. Sutton joined ISPA in 2001, most recently serving as vice president of marketing and member services. The Entomological Society serves the professional and scientific needs of 6,000 entomologists and others in related disciplines. Sutton begins Debi Sutton her new job in early April. ”Everyone on the ISPA staff and our many members who have had the pleasure of working with Debi will sorely miss the skills she brought to her job, her sense of humor and team spirit. We wish her the best of luck,” said Ryan Trainer, ISPA executive vice president and general counsel.
80 | BedTimes | April 2010
to the country. Anatomic Global is based in Corona, Calif. Johnson will focus on strategic growth opportunities and oversee fund-raising efforts. He has more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing and business development. He previously was chief executive officer of Pro-Dex Inc. Prior to that, Johnson held positions at Sybron Dental, Tycom Dental and Dabico Inc. “I really see it as a calling to use my leadership and business skills in such a way that it can make a difference to so many people in need,” Johnson said. WorldBed is a rolled, portable foam sleep surface. Anatomic Global originally designed, manufactured and delivered 3,000 of the beds to victims of Hurricane Katrina along the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005.
Find the Products and Services You Need in the
BEDTIMES SUPPLIES GUIDE ISPA’s online BedTimes Supplies Guide provides mattress industry professionals around the world with targeted and relevant search results in a comprehensive directory of industry-specific products and services. Search by keyword or category specific searches to find the products you need quickly and easily without the irrelevant clutter of general internet search engines.
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ISPA: 703-683-8371 · www.sleepproducts.org
UpClose ‘Fate’ returns Robinson to Spring Air
New president excited by challenges of reinvigorating company By Dorothy Whitcomb
t may seem that Rick Robinson is a risk taker. After all, his current job is reigniting the Spring Air brand after the collapse of its corporate ownership structure and the closure of its corporate factories in late spring 2009. But Robinson wouldn’t describe himself exactly that way. “I believe in taking educated risks,” he says. “If you believe in what you’re doing, then it’s not really a risk.” And Robinson believes in Spring Air. “For 83 years, Spring Air was a local brand leader,” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with Spring Air as a brand. It was just the wrong business model at the wrong time.” Robinson knows of what he speaks. From 2005 through 2006, he was senior vice president of marketing for Consolidated Bedding, the Tampa, Fla.-based entity that eventually rolled up most of the Spring Air licensees to take control of the brand. Prior to that, he served for eight years as president of Nature’s Rest, which was later sold to Spring Air. Robinson and Ed Bates share a vision for Spring Air’s future. Bates acquired three closed Spring Air factories and purchased Spring Air’s intellectual and personal property, inventory and global rights to the brand in order to relaunch the company. “We want the company to be locally and consumer-focused,” Robinson says. “Spring Air is not going to be defined by spring units, but by what the consumer wants.” Robinson, who began selling mattresses to work his way through college, has more than 25 years of industry experience to apply to realizing that vision. He moved to the manufacturing side of the business at 27 when the late Roy Unger, then president of Serta, created one of the industry’s first national sales
82 | BedTimes | April 2010
Wanting time to slow down ‘I would like to travel and actually see the places that I’ve only seen from hotels and airports,’ says Spring Air International President Rick Robinson.
➤ Bio in brief Name Rick Robinson Company Spring Air International Title President Location Boston Age 54 Education In 1977, Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast communication from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. Family Robinson and his wife, Catherine, have been married for seven years. He has two adult sons by an earlier marriage.
trainer positions and hired Robinson to fill it. Within five years, Robinson had risen to vice president of national accounts. His career advancement was not without costs, however. Robinson aver-
aged 200 days annually on the road for more than a decade, a pace that ultimately caught up with his first marriage and with him. “At 36, I was burned out and resigned from Serta,” he says. “I opened three mattress stores in Atlanta and then learned that I was never meant for retail.” After 18 months, he sold the stores and joined Restonic as vice president of sales and marketing. Robinson spent three years there and then decided it was time to put his career second and his growing sons first. A move to Miami—“so I could be home for my kids,” he says—took him into consulting and gave him a more predictable lifestyle. It also positioned him for what would become one of the most rewarding parts of his career. Robinson sees his time leading Nature’s Rest—a job that grew out of a joint venture between two companies he consulted for—as the most of www.sleepproducts.org/bedtimes
exciting for him professionally. “I became enamored with alternative sleep products and loved growing that company,” he says. In 2000, Nature’s Rest became part of Spring Air and so did Rick Robinson. The relationship continued for another six years until the mergers that gave Consolidated Bedding control of the brand also resulted in Robinson losing his job. It was the first time since he started working that he was out of a job and it felt terrible. But the feeling didn’t last long. Seven hours after leaving Spring Air, he says, he landed a consulting position with Australian bedding producer A.H. Beard and soon after, he became the company’s chief marketing officer. It’s what happened next that really puts a smile on Robinson’s face. “Three years from the day that
I exited Spring Air, I came back as president,” he says. “It felt like fate.” An ongoing struggle Robinson describes himself as “extremely introverted.” “When I did sales training, I memorized names because it helped me get over my fear of standing in front of a group of people,” he says. “I’m good one on one and in small groups, but I feel lost in large groups of people.” The value of a team Robinson says he operates best in a team environment. “The quality and passion of the team I work with now is very satisfying, personally as well as professionally,” he says. A fresh set of eyes In 2006, Robinson worked in Australia as chief marketing officer for A.H. Beard. Living outside the United States gave him new perspective. “I wish Americans could see themselves
through international eyes,” he says. “We really don’t understand other countries very well and we waste so much.” Winning words Do you think of Scrabble as a nice game to play occasionally with the kids? Not Robinson. He plays Scrabble in tournaments and is ranked as a world-class player. Dreams deferred “My life has been work, work, work. I would like to travel and actually see the places that I’ve only seen from hotels and airports. I’d also love to be able to play a musical instrument.” Cherished possession “I have a picture in my wallet of my kids when they were 4 and 6 years old,” he says. “I love looking at it and would probably go nuts if I lost it.” BT
BedTimes | April 2010 |
Classifieds For Sale TAPE-EDGE MACHINES, MULTINEEDLE AND SINGLENEEDLE QUILTERS, long-arm label machines, sergers, etc. Contact Victor LeBron, American Plant and Equipment. Phone 864-574-0404; Fax 864-576-7204; Cell 864-590-1700; Email email@example.com; Web www.americanplantandequipment.com. REBUILT AND RECONDITIONED MULTINEEDLE QUILTING MACHINES. Specializing in PATHE precision parts and service. Technical consultants. SEDCO. Phone 201-567-7141; Fax 201-567-5515. TAPE-EDGE MACHINES, QUILTERS & MISCELLANEOUS SEWING MACHINES. Contact Frank Carlino, U.S. Mattress Machinery. Phone 815-795-6942; Fax 815-795-2178; Email firstname.lastname@example.org. EMCO Compustitch Quilter with Quilt Rack and Catwalk and Gribetz cutter. Also: ➤ National serger and Table 1 ➤ Union Special serger and Table 2 ➤ Porter 1000 serger and table ➤ Porter tape-edge ➤ Many other miscellaneous items. Call Troy at 815-343-9984.
Pacific Spring Inc. An American company importing springs from Cambodia 6.5” H 312 Bonnel units 7” H 336 Bonnel units 8” H pocket units
Employment Opportunities Gribetz International seeks a senior-level ADVISER to provide technical phone support. Ideal candidate will have 3-5 years in a tech support capacity or engineering experience. Strong electronic, mechanical and software diagnostic skills required. Must read mechanical drawings, schematics and software code. Quilter equipment a plus but not a necessity. Bilingual a plus. Limited travel may be required. Compensation package commensurate with experience. Send resume to Bob Daly, Gribetz International, 13800 N.W. Fourth St., Sunrise, FL 33325 or email email@example.com.
Seeking Employment MULTINEEDLE QUILTER SPECIALIST ➤ Electronics & mechanical ➤Servo drives, motors, computers & PLC’s ➤Retainer drive upgrade ➤Re-timing eccentrics ➤Training 101 operations ➤Stitching problems Call 772-607-1851 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Licensing Opportunities Well-known MANUFACTURER OF MattressES and soft furnishingS is seeking a licensing arrangement or joint venture with a reputable worldwide mattress manufacturer, preferably based in the United States or Europe. We are headquartered in Oman and have been operating in countries in the Middle East for eight years. If interested, please email your company information to email@example.com.
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Reach mattress industry professionals around the world with your advertising message through the BedTimes Classifieds. Rates: $3 per word for the first 100 words and $2.50 thereafter; minimum charge of $75. “Blind” box number: $50 per insertion. Ad copy and payment must be received by the first of the month preceding publication.
Pacific Spring Inc. Victor Nguyen, VP of Marketing & Sales 6418 E. Washington Blvd. Commerce Ca. 90040 Tel: (626) 272-8882 • Fax: (626) 226-4166 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
84 | BedTimes | April 2010
Send ads and payment to BedTimes Classifieds, 501 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314-1917. Contact Debbie Robbins, advertising production manager. Phone 336-342-4217; Fax 336-342-4116; Email email@example.com.
April 13-17 Mobitex Venue Exhibition Centre Brno Brno, Czech Republic Phone 420-541-152-520 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bvv.cz/mobitex-gb April 14-19 Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milan Fairgrounds Milan, Italy email@example.com www.cosmit.it April 17-22 High Point Market International Home Furnishings Center & other locations High Point, N.C., U.S. Phone 336-869-1000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.highpointmarket.org
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BedTimes | April 2010 |
AdvertisersIndex A. Lava & Son Co. Steve Appelbaum 800-777-5282 (800-777-LAVA) www.alavason.com
AFT Corp. Rick Brumfield 800-631-1930
Alessandra Yarns Jorman Fields 336-668-7060 www.alessandrayarns.com Arch Chemicals Tom Robitaille 770-315-2646 www.archbiocides.com Atlanta Attachment Co. Inc. Hank Little 770-963-7369 www.atlatt.com Baron Styles Dave Williams 262-473-7331 www.baronstyles.com
Creative Ticking Jerry Pratt 704-861-1536 www.beverlyknits.com
Hickory Springs Mfg. Co. Rick Anthony 828-328-2201 www.hickorysprings.com
CT Nassau Taber Wood 800-397-0090 www.ctnassau.com
Ideal Quilting Inc. Nick Rossini 416-748-8402 www.idealquilting.com
Deslee Textiles NV Bart Dehaerne 864-472-2180, Ext. 108 www.desleeclama.com
John Marshall & Co. Ltd. Peter Crone 64-3-341-2004 www.joma.co.nz
Diamond Needle Corp. Abe Silberstein 800-221-5818 www.diamondneedle.com
Jomel Industries Inc. Phil Iuliano 973-282-0300 www.jomel.net
Dow Polyurethanes Umberto Torresan 989-638-7832 www.dowpolyurethanes.com
Kenn Spinrad Inc. Randy Weinstock 800-373-0944 www.spinrad.net
Eclipse International/ Eastman House Stuart Carlitz 800-634-8434 Jerry Gershaw 561-542-4490 www.eclipsemattress.com www.eastmanhousemattress.com
Latex Systems Kitti Charoenpornpanichkul 66-2-326-0886, Ext. 204 www.latexsystem.com
Edgewater Machine Co. Inc. Roy Schlegel 718-539-8200 www.edgewatermachine.com
Lava Textiles USA Inc. Ann Weaver 864-998-4892 www.lavatextiles.com
Enkev Marc Dokter 31-299-364355 www.enkev.com
Leigh Fibers Inc. Parris Hicks-Chernez 864-949-5615 www.leighfibers.com Liberty Threads Robert Hegan 860-379-2920
Enriquez Materials & Quilting Inc. Silvia Enriquez 323-725-4955 www.enriquezquilting.com
Maxime Knitting Lorne Romoff 514-336-0445, Ext. 27 514-265-8782 www.maximeknitting.com
FXI Foamex Innovations Fred Natrin 610-744-2148 www.foamex.com
Middleburg Yarn Processing Co. Inc. Howard Reese 570-374-1284, Ext. 210
Global Systems Group Russ Bowman 954-846-0300 www.gsgcompanies.com
Natura World Michael Pino 908-410-1257 www.naturaworld.com
Hengchang Machinery Factory Belinda Lau 769-83307931 www.hcjixie.com
New England Needles Inc. Thomas Lees 800-243-3158 www.newenglandneedles.com
Herculite Products Leslie Haddad 717-764-1192 www.herculite.com
OHM Systems Inc. Catherine Anbil 513-771-0008 www.ohmworld.com
B채umer of America & Albrecht B채umer 24 GmbH & Co. KG Terry Borchard 973-263-1569 www.baumerofamerica.com Philipp Schuster 49-2734-289-211 www.baeumer.de Bekaert Textiles USA Inc. Brandon Wells 336-769-4300 www.bekaerttextiles.com
Bloomingburg Spring & Wire Form Vickie Schwarm 740-437-7614 www.bloomingburgspring.com
BLR Martin Leroux 819-877-2092 www.blrlumber.com
Boyteks Tekstil AS M. Nebi Dogan 90-533-685-6041 www.boyteks.com Chicago Tape & Label Kristy Enger 262-473-0323 www.ctlabels.com
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Outlast Technologies Inc. Guy Eckard 610-925-3243 www.outlast.com
Simalfa Darren Gilmore 973-423-9266 www.simalfa.com
Tietex International Ltd. Wade Wallace 800-843-8390 www.tietex.com
Pacific Spring Inc. Victor Nguyen 626-272-8882
Transfer Master Products Aaron Goldsmith 563-864-7674 www.transfermaster.com
P.T. RubberFoam Indonesia Andreas Janssen 62-21-53662190 www.rubberfoam.co.id
Springs Creative Products Group George Booth 803-324-6505 www.springscreative.com
Vertex Fasteners Inc. Tom Fowler 847-329-8530 www.vertexfasteners.com
Quilting Inc. Mark Gibney 800-358-0153 www.quiltinginc.com
Starsprings International Kai Christensen 46-513-17800 www.starsprings.com
Vintex Customer Service 800-846-8399 www.vintex.com
Richard Pieris Januka Jayanaga 94-114622268 www.arpico.com
Stellini Textile Group Valentino Stellini 02-97285635 www.stellinigroup.com
Vita Nonwovens Dennis St. Louis 336-431-7187 www.vitausa.com
Wright of Thomasville Area Account Executive 800-678-9019 www.wrightlabels.com
SABA North America LLC Jim Turner 810-824-4964 www.saba-adhesives.com
Sweet Dreams (Nelson) Ltd. Riaz Ahmed 44-1282-830033 www.sweetdreamsuk.com Therapedic International Gerry Borreggine 800-314-4433 www.therapedic.com
BedTimes | April 2010 |
TheLastWord Green Idea
Don’t undo your own energy-saving efforts When a new brand of cookies and treats called SnackWell came on the market in the 1990s, nutritionists discovered something interesting: Dieters who choose low-fat and low-sugar foods tend to eat more of them—and ultimately consume more calories—than if they select full-fat, full-sugar versions. According to an article in the March 1 edition of Time magazine, a similar thing happens when people start using energysaving devices. “Studies indicate that people who install more energy-efficient lights lose 5% to 12% of the expected savings by leaving them on longer,” the article says. Make sure you and your employees aren’t doing similarly counterproductive things in your facilities. As the article says, “Cutting back on energy consumption, like dieting, is not an excuse to gorge ourselves on less guilty pleasures.”
Daring to fail
Try as we might, we all face professional failure. We create a product that no one wants to buy, we don’t have the right skill set for a certain job or we lose a major customer to a competitor. Wired magazine recently tackled the subject of “screwing up.” Writer Jonah Lehrer offered these ideas for learning from failure so you can succeed the next time:
Check your assumptions “Ask yourself why this result feels like a failure. What theory does it contradict? Maybe the hypothesis failed, not the experiment.”
Seek out the ignorant “Talk to people who are unfamiliar with your experiment. Explaining your work in simple terms may help you see it in a new light.”
Encourage diversity “If everyone working on a problem speaks the same language, then everyone has the same set of assumptions.”
Beware of failure-blindness “It’s normal to filter out information that contradicts our preconceptions. The only way to avoid that bias is to be aware of it.”
No more pillows past their prime
If there’s one item in the bedroom people think less often about replacing than their mattress, it might very well be their pillow. The Company Store, a catalog and online retailer based in Weehawken, N.J., does big business in pillows, in part because it makes choosing one so easy. The Company Store groups its offerings by quality (good, better, best, supreme, ultimate) and by firmness/sleep style (soft pillows/stomach sleeper, medium pillows/back sleeper, firm pillows/side sleeper). It also provides consumers with tips—and a demonstration video—to help them determine if their pillow does, in fact, need replacing. The Company Store sums it up this way: “Ultimately, the best test is comfort. If your down pillow is no longer soft and comfortable, it’s time for a change.” Good advice when it comes to pillows—and mattresses.
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Thank you for making ISPA EXPO 2010 one of the most successful trade shows weâ€™ve ever experienced. The entire GSG staff enjoyed visiting with each of you that could attend and we plan to continue sharing all the new products in the near future. Global Systems Group is also pleased to welcome another team member to the GSG line up; Galkin Automated Products.
The desirable machines and technology of Galkin Automated Products will strengthen and diversify the machinery choices GSG can provide. That means even more value for you!
Contact your GSG representative to learn more about new equipment from ISPA Expo and find out how the addition of Galkin Automated Products can benefit you.
eco fabrics cottons prints jacquards
Our world wasnâ€™t created in black and white.
blends stitchbonds warp knits filler cloths.
Tietex International Ltd., 3010 North Blackstock Rd., Spartanburg, SC 29301, Ph. 864.574.0500, Fax 864.574.9490, www.tietex.com