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Southerland Implements Lean Manufacturing Techniques And Gets New Equipment

Southerland is going lean by giving its new, 318,000-square-foot Nashville factory a 30% increase in capacity. 

Southerland is going lean by giving its new, 318,000-square-foot Nashville factory a 30% increase in capacity. 

The company has reconfigured the plant’s layout around the principles of lean manufacturing, and as such, production now proceeds in a linear pattern from the back end of the factory, where raw materials are stored, to the front end, where assembly is completed. 

The result is a more streamlined manufacturing process that aims to increase the plant’s productivity and provide the flexibility for the company to broaden its range of merchandise to meet market shifts.

 “With the new machinery and the lean manufacturing layout, we will be achieving a dramatic improvement in total productivity,” says 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.”

The company is also installing fresh state-of-the-art equipment that will allow it to increase the output of its bed-in-a-box product line, like the iBnB line and the company’s exclusive collection for online retailer Wayfair. The new layout also features a third production line for the company’s American Adjustables adjustable base collection.

Once remodeling is completed, Southerland will move its corporate offices to the new facility—including the offices of its wholly-owned transportation company, Southerland Transport—and will open an expanded showroom on the site, which will increase its show space from 2,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet. 

The new site will serve as the base for Southerland Transport’s recently expanded fleet of more than 50 trucks and will have a drivers lounge and other amenities that will help the company recruit more drivers. The new layout will also create a more comfortable environment for employees, including improved access to break rooms and other amenities, such as better lighting.

The factory is ramping up production of Southerland’s entire product line at the new site, which will also allow the company to boost its staff by an additional 40 people. 

Southerland began moving into the new facility—located at 6050 Dana Way, just off Interstate 65—in May from the two previous manufacturing locations it had occupied since 1973.

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