published Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Industry Week names Dayton La-Z-Boy factory among best plants in North America

Randy Lewis assemble upholstery on the arms on a La-Z-Boy recliner in Cell 31, where six people work together as a team to manufacture the longtime signature product at the Dayton, Tenn. plant.
Randy Lewis assemble upholstery on the arms on a La-Z-Boy recliner in Cell 31, where six people work together as a team to manufacture the longtime signature product at the Dayton, Tenn. plant.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Industry Week magazine today recognized the La-Z-Boy plant in Dayton, Tenn., as one of the best plants in North America.

La-Z-Boy, which operates the nation’s biggest furniture plant with 1,400 employees in Dayton, was among only a half dozen manufacturing plants in the United States, Canada and Mexico that Industry Week picked as its 2012 winners for performance, efficiency and improvement.

La-Z-Boy had been a finalist for the IW award three times previously but has never previously won the top magazine honor. The Dayton facility is capable of producing as many La-Z-Boy recliners, sofas and other furniture pieces today as the plant produced when it had nearly 2,500 employees in the 1990s.

Despite the downturn in furniture sales during the recession, La-Z-Boy has continued to invest in equipment, training and other programs to improve efficiency, cut product defects and boost employee productivity.

“La-Z-Boy has taken on the competitive challenge through its people, equipment and processes,” Industry Week said in a report on La-Z-Boy. “In an American furniture industry decimated by foreign competition, a determined drive for cost efficiency and continuous improvement has allowed La-Z-Boy to flourish, even during the Great Recession.”

Other winners of this year’s top IW award were the CHN Wichita Project Center in Kansas, Ethicon LLC in Puerto Rico, Harris Products Group in Mason, Ohio, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Troy, Ala., Warren Rupp Inc., in Mansfield, Ohio.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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