Earlier this fall, the company began upholstery production in an 86,000-square-foot facility that originally built and stored upholstery frames and handled some spring-up operations.
While the facility still builds frames, the company is using about half the space that was used for storage to build its leather upholstery line. The company began production about two months ago, but is slowly increasing its output week by week.
For dealers and designers, this will mean getting product more quickly over time. Currently, Hancock & Moore’s lead times are estimated at about 14 or 15 weeks. The additional capacity will increase the rate of “catch-up” by another 10% to 15%, said Alex Shuford III, chief executive officer of RHF Inc.
Shuford expects the facility will provide the Hancock & Moore brand a 7% to 8% increase in capacity at its current levels. However, over time, he said it could be as much as a 15% to 20% increase in capacity.
The company also is investing between $300,000 and $500,000 to upfit the building, Shuford told Home News Now, noting that the upfit includes the installation of new air conditioning and new compressor lines, as well as new workstations and benches, and materials handling equipment.
He said the facility has about 20 woodworkers and roughly 15 to 20 on the upholstery side. The company wants to expand the plant’s workforce to between 50 and 70 workers.
In addition to the Taylorsville operation, the company also has two plants in nearby Bethlehem, North Carolina, one 158,000 square feet and the other 106,000 square feet, said James Kennedy, vice president, operations.
The facility’s location is about 15 to 20 minutes away from the main Hancock & Moore operations in Bethlehem, just outside of Hickory, North Carolina, Shuford said. The proximity allows the company to tap into a different labor pool rather than competing with existing operations for workers.
“We are trying to get far enough away from our existing factories where we are attracting new people,” he said, noting that the same is true of the Classic Leather operations the company just purchased in nearby Conover, North Carolina. “The convenient thing was that this was a building we already owned. To get access to that labor pool, we basically took half the property and converted it over.”
He said while the plant has been producing upholstery for about two months, it will take time to add workers and ramp up to full production of its leather upholstery.
At present, Shuford said, the Taylorsville operation is focusing on stationary leather upholstery. Over time, he expects that it also could produce the company’s motion furniture, which includes power recliners and power lift chairs.
“Eventually, the idea is to be able to have it run either,” he said.