NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mattress manufacturer Southerland is adding new equipment and also is implementing a lean manufacturing process that will boost capacity and add workers at its new 318,000-square-foot plant here.
The company said the process will boost capacity by about 30 percent and will add about 40 workers.
To achieve these growth targets, the company said it reconfigured its plant layout based on lean manufacturing principals, with production done in a “linear pattern” from the back end of the plant where raw materials are stored to the front end where assembly takes place. The company described this as a more streamlined manufacturing process that will increase productivity and provide the “flexibility for the company to broaden its range of merchandise to meet market shifts.”
Southerland said it also has purchased new equipment that will allow it to increase the output of its bed-in-a-box product line, which includes the iBnB line and its exclusive collection for Wayfair. A third production line produces its American Adjustables adjustable base collection.
“With the new machinery and the lean manufacturing layout, we will be achieving a dramatic improvement in total productivity,” said Bryan Smith, president and CEO of Southerland. “This is a timely move for us considering that demand for bedding products is outpacing the industry’s overall capability to meet consumer and retailer needs. It is also an investment in the future because we expect demand to continue growing through the rest of this year and into next year, and we want to be front and center as a supplier that can meet all of our retail partners’ ever-growing needs for quality bedding products.”
As the project is completed, the company plans to move its corporate offices to the new plant. This includes the offices of its wholly owned transportation company, Southerland Transport. It also will open a 7,000-square-foot showroom on site, which is more than three times the size of its current 2,000-square-foot space.
The new site also will be the base for Southerland Transport’s recently expanded fleet of more than 50 trucks. It will include a driver’s lounge and other amenities aimed at helping the company recruit more drivers.
In addition, the new layout aims to create a more comfortable environment for employees with improved access to break rooms and better lighting.