Last week, La-Z-Boy Incorporated announced it plans to invest approximately $26 million over a three-year period in its largest U.S. manufacturing facility, located in Dayton, Tenn.
The 1.2 million square-foot Dayton campus, which began operations in 1973 and employs approximately 1,400 people, is the only La-Z-Boy branded plant that manufactures furniture in all three upholstery categories — recliners, motion sofas and stationary upholstery, making nearly 90 percent of the various frame styles in the company’s manufactured-branded product line, the company said in a news release.
The Dayton plant services the northeast, southeast and Midwestern portions of the country. The campus includes a small research and development operation and supply centers for metal stamping and wood fabrication that provide material for the company’s four additional U.S. La-Z-Boy branded manufacturing sites.
The scope of the project, which will run in two sequential phases, includes the construction of a new state-of-the-art Innovation Center, followed by various upgrades and renovations throughout the upholstery plant and supply centers. The new 70,000 square-foot facility will replace an existing structure on site and will house a model shop, technology center, test lab and three-dimensional printing lab. It will be home to approximately 70 to 75 employees.
The company plans to break ground later this month.
“Our company was founded with an innovative spirit almost 90 years ago and that spirit remains at the forefront of everything we do today,” said Kurt L. Darrow, president, chairman and chief executive officer of the company. “With the Dayton operation being our largest facility, it is imperative that we make the appropriate investment to maintain a high innovation quotient throughout the business while making the plant as safe, productive and efficient as possible.”
Mr. Darrow said the investment over a long period of time will cause no disruption to service and La-Z-Boy will continue to “deliver on our brand promise to the consumer — custom furniture delivered in four weeks or less – highlighting La-Z-Boy’s unique competitive advantage within the industry.”
“Having a new modern innovation center that provides our team of engineers and design professionals with a collaborative work environment is critical as we bring exciting new products to market,” Mr. Darrow said. “Additionally, with a strong commitment to sustainability and a responsibility to act as an environmental steward, we intend to construct a LEED-certified building utilizing recognized sustainable building practices.”
The Dayton upholstery plant is La-Z-Boy’s largest facility responsible for nearly $400 million of the company’s annual revenue, said Darrell Edwards, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer.
“Ongoing investment across our manufacturing operations is essential as we continue to enhance plant productivity and efficiencies,” Mr. Edwards said. “Additionally, we pride ourselves in maintaining a safe work environment and many of the upgrades we are making will further improve the practices and safeguards already in place.”
Company officials said the center will help attract and recruit the “best” talent to the team as business expands.
The final phase of the Dayton campus refresh will include the construction of a new transportation terminal.
“We have had an almost 45-year-long history in Tennessee and we look forward to many more years of production in Dayton,” Mr. Darrow said. “We appreciate the various incentives we are receiving at the state and local level to assist us in completing this work.”