Sherrill Furniture’s plant improvements paying off

Luxury upholstery and case goods manufacturer Sherrill Furniture is quickly advancing planned strategic investments in its business, a process that is expanding capacity and technical capabilities to get products to customers more quickly and efficiently.

The company’s new upholstery plant in Conover, North Carolina, employs about 40 now and expects to have 90 workers by the end of the year.

The Hickory, North Carolina-based company announced its strategic investments last fall and recently provided Home News Now an update on those efforts, ranging from an expansion of its upholstery operations to investments in new equipment for its case goods facilities.

The company opened its new 150,000-square-foot upholstery plant in nearby Conover in early March, about two months ahead of schedule. The facility currently employs 40 workers, and the company expects to double that to 90 by year end. The company did not say how many pieces the plant is producing but did say it is making a full line of sofas, chairs, beds and sleeper sofas in both fabric and leather.

“The facility is capable of and will produce the full line of upholstery products,” said Thad Monroe, president of Sherrill Furniture.

Dax Allen, vice president marketing, added that the facility has been shipping several trailers of product each week, far exceeding the company’s expectations.

“We weren’t expecting to be this far along,” Allen told Home News Now, noting the company was shipping as many as six trailers by the end of May. “Which is amazing, considering it only has been running since the second week in March. We have made tremendous progress.”

On the case goods side of the business, the company has reorganized its manufacturing facilities at Hickory White for the first time in many years and did so in a way that improves production efficiency.

For example, Monroe said, the company has changed the footprint to organize the flow of small, medium and large products. The plant also added a second cabinet line in May and a separate bed production line and a dining table production line in March.

In addition, the company recently added a new Biesse five-axis router and two new 10-axis lathes.

The company also has expanded its workforce over the past year by nearly 30%, bringing the total as of mid-June to about 1,200 in its case goods and upholstery production facilities.

A worker builds a bench frame at Sherrill Furniture in Hickory, North Carolina.

For customers, the improvements means shorter lead times. Upholstery is shipping in about 23 weeks overall, down from 25-26 weeks earlier this year. Express programs are shipping product in about 11 weeks, Monroe said.

On the case goods side, he noted, finished product is shipping in about 10 weeks, down from 11-14 weeks earlier this year.

“The expansion is providing some good results for us already,” Allen added. “A lot of the bottlenecks that were there during Covid were with supply chain and labor and everything was getting so tight. I think we are about to turn the corner on that. …We are already seeing lead times come down across the company as a result of all these things we are doing.”

The company, as previously announced, recently has added to its marketing team as part of an effort to expand its digital marketing platform and communicate its advantages as a domestic producer to customers around the globe.

In addition, the company is gearing up for a showroom makeover for the High Point Market in October. This will be an upfit of the company’s existing facility at 315 Fred Alexander Place, which will get a new design both inside and outside the building.

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