Bill Esler La-Z-Boy furniture sales are benefiting from the improved econom. But cell-based manufacturing - replacing long, labor intensive wood products production lines with assembly stations, often with machining centers.
The investment La-Z-Boy has made in reorganizing production has a payoff. But like many businesses in the wood and other industries, the uncertainty of tax policy and the fiscal cliff is affecting strategy.
La-Z-Boy resinstated its dividend for the first time since 2008 but is also hanging on to cash, says CEO Kurt Darrow, because of the uncertainty about how investment and income will be treated under whatever the tax policy debate in Washington yields.
"We want to keep our financial flexibility," Darrow said during an earning presentation. "We want to keep a little more cash on hand than some of our shareholers would appreciate."