11,000-square-foot facility will design and develop frames and models for its Charisma upholstery line, helping improve speed to market with an expanded domestic footprint
DUBUQUE, Iowa — Flexsteel Industries said it is expanding its footprint in the United States with the opening of a product development and engineering location in High Point.
Located on the east side of the city on Habersham Road, the 11,000-square-foot operation will initially focus on developing pieces in the company’s Charisma stationary upholstery line. With this focus, the company believes it will develop an improved quality story for its customers.
The company also believes the new High Point facility will tap into a base of industry knowledge, capability and talent that can provide the quality that customers expect in a line featuring starting priced stationary sofas retailing around $999.
In addition, the opening of the facility will allow its similarly sized Dublin, Georgia, product development operation to focus on other upholstery including both stationary and motion frames at higher price points. As a result, the company aims to achieve quicker speed to market by allowing each facility to focus on what it does best.
“We’re excited to execute the next phase of our product development strategy with the introduction of a second product development group based in High Point, North Carolina,” said Jim Austin, Flexsteel’s product development engineering manager. “This move will result in a unified product development team across two locations. It leverages the talent and insights of our Dublin-based team, enhancing our ability to strategically achieve growth in our domestic portfolio. This location also places us in close proximity to many of the key suppliers in the industry.”
With the High Point location in particular, the company has been able to tap into development talent that has become available as other industry competitors have ceased operations, starting with United and Lane last November and continuing with the sudden closure of Klaussner in late August.
Flexsteel has about four professionals in place now, but expects this to rise to about 15 over time, compared to 19 in Dublin. Set to begin operations just after the first of January, the High Point facility will handle everything from the initial design to the building of prototypes for its source factories in Mexico to build both samples as well as product in larger production runs.
“They will do all the initial models, frame designs and construction pattern making and create the final spec files to make sure it is build ready,” said David Crimmins, vice president of sales. “We are starting to bring in some equipment over the next two to three weeks and will be capable of producing models out of that shop.”
He added that the local talent pool in the area will offer the skills necessary to create product in quick turnaround times, helping ensure speed to market while also bolstering the company’s domestic footprint.
“It will speed up the process by being closer to the supply chain,” Crimmins said, noting that the company is hiring industry professionals with as much as 30 years of experience. “This aligns with our long-term strategy of continuing to increase North American product as a percentage of our business.”
“If we want spring capacity, we can find it there in High Point,” he added. “We have the ability to respond to the market without disrupting Flexsteel’s business.”