HICKORY, N.C. – Leading integrated components manufacturer Hickory Springs is placing greater emphasis on research and development opening a new corporate innovation center to harness its vast resources. The 30,000-square-foot complex owned by the company, is strategically located among several of its major facilities and corporate headquarters in Hickory, NC.
The new Corporate Innovation and Testing Center is expected to be operational by December. The majority of the space will be dedicated to controlled labs for testing products for automotive, commercial transportation, healthcare, government markets, telecommunications and home furnishings sectors. About 10,000-square-feet will be showrooms and conference rooms where customers and vendors will be able to work collaboratively on new products, programs and services.
“We have taken significant steps to align our company and management to reflect future growth and diversification opportunities. A key objective is rapid identification of new products, services and businesses across all our divisions,” said Hickory Springs Executive Vice President Dwayne Welch. “Because of the diversification of our products, we saw a need to bring product design and testing under one roof to streamline our processes while improving efficiency.”
Brad McNeely, a Hickory Springs veteran executive, was recently promoted to the newly created post of vice president of new product development, and he will oversee operations of the new center.
He will work alongside Mike Simmons, who recently assumed the role of vice president of new market development, and is tasked with increasing customer interaction and integration with new product and business development.
“Because today’s markets and customer demands change rapidly, we have a constant need to leverage our expertise and respond quickly,” said McNeely. “With many of the innovation responsibilities tied to the manufacturing plants, we have already laid the groundwork for creating this centralized effort. Bringing our R&D groups together, under one roof, enables us to step up our responsiveness and communications with our customers, as we will now have a team that is dedicated full time to developing new and improved products for existing and future markets.”
About Hickory Springs: One of North Carolina’s largest employers, Hickory Springs is a privately held company based in Hickory, North Carolina, with more than 50 manufacturing plants in 16 states and China. In addition to its core furniture and bedding markets, Hickory Springs also serves a growing range of customers in the automotive, recreational vehicle, packaging, medical, marine and telecommunications industries. In 2008, the company launched its EarthCare Inside line of components for upholstered furniture, including the industry-leading Preserve® bio-based foam, 100% recycled cotton, recycled sinuous steel and coils, among many other sustainable options.