HIGH POINT — Bedding producers have made key shifts in their business models as the industry responds to the changing marketplace that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
For many, online marketing efforts and products have moved to the forefront as brick-and-mortar stores saw widespread closings in the earlier days of the pandemic. For others, a pivot to the healthcare industry has kept factories running and has opened new markets to them.
“I am beyond proud of how our company creatively came together across all of our divisions to pivot — in an incredibly short amount of time — to expand our healthcare products business,” said Mark Jones, president and CEO of HSM. “This initiative not only aided in our nation’s disaster relief efforts, but also helped to transition much of HSM’s workforce back to a level of normalcy and sustainable activity in early April.
“Since then, we have increased capacity by about 75% and added dozens of new jobs to support the ongoing demand for protective facemasks and medical gowns for healthcare personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In less than 90 days, from concept to prototype to production, HSM has become a major PPE supplier to one of the largest hospital systems in the Southeast, and customer demand for HSM’s products is surging.
“We expect this product line to continue to be an increasingly important part of our business going forward as many companies reevaluate their supply chains to reduce exposure to imports and delivery setbacks,” Jones said.
Also making a healthcare switch was Precision Textiles.
“Early in the pandemic, we pivoted our operations to manufacturing medical grade fabrics for use in hospital gowns, which was very much in demand, and over the past two and half months that segment of our business has been incredibly busy,” said Scott Tesser, CEO of Precision Textiles. “We were able to shift to make the needed gown materials quickly, and what had been about 5% of our business shifted to being 100% of our business to help fill the increased demand.”
More recently, Precision developed mattress and upholstery testing kits for use in retail stores. Retailers large and small have embraced those products as a way to reassure customers while they shop in uncertain times, the company said.
Like a number of other bedding companies, MLily USA has put more emphasis on its online offerings.
“MLily USA has made an intentional push to build our online presence by allowing our retail partners to sell a limited lineup of our mattresses via e-commerce,” said Stephen Chen, president. “COVID-19 has compelled us to re-examine what was an almost exclusive emphasis on brick-and-mortar and pivot to also include an e-commerce model to help our partners capture the revenue from consumers who have been unable to shop, or choose not to shop, in a physical store. Our online program is backed by our drop-ship services that deliver directly to the consumer’s home within three to five days.”
Diamond Mattress has created an “aggressive sourcing strategy” to manage its inventory and has increased its e-commerce-ready, drop-shippable product lineup, now offering more than 60 models, said Shaun Pennington, president.
“We are doing very well with our specialty hybrids and all-foam design,” he noted. “We’re thankful to have strong partnerships and collaboration to bring the best products and service to our partners as our first priority.”
These days Shifman “is accelerating the evolution of our digital communication strategy, which is the most direct way to engage and support our retail partners and their customers,” said Bill Hammer, president.
Like other manufacturers, Englander has experienced a disrupted supply chain that has extended normal lead times, said Mark Kinsley, Englander’s CEO.
“We’ve worked with our suppliers and retail partners to deliver high-demand products and serve those consumer needs,” he said. “Also, we’ve doubled-down on products built with materials proven to work.
“In uncertain times, consumers don’t want fairy dust or fake technology. They want a mattress built by experts using proven materials.”