Ashley Furniture named inaugural HFA Manufacturer of the Year

Ashley Furniture colleagues celebrating winning the HFA award are (left to right): Laura Forsythe, Cameron Wanek, Travis Wagner and Ron and Todd Wanek.

Photo By HFA

Ashley Furniture Industries has been named the first HFA Manufacturer of the Year award from the Home Furnishings Association.  In winning the award, the association said that "Ashley has achieved remarkable growth and sustained success through a strong company culture centered on employee development, customer service excellence, and innovative practices."

Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. is the largest North American wood products manufacturer in the FDMC 300 ranking. It had sales of $6.85 billion (excluding retail), 18 manufacturing plants and total square footage of 30 million square feet.. 

Investing in employees and leadership
Ashley prioritizes its employees by investing in their development and nurturing strong leaders at all levels. In the last three years, the company has invested over $1.5 billion into its operations, including state-of-the-art design tools, production equipment, logistics, and supply chain systems. This commitment extends to fostering a positive relationship with employees offering educational opportunities and tools to help them grow within the organization.

Customer-centric approach
Ashley’s dedication to customer satisfaction is evident through its focus on high-quality products, efficient delivery, and effective communication. The company ensures its products align with customer preferences by keeping up with the latest trends and technologies. Robust logistics and supply chain systems facilitate timely and pristine delivery to customers, while dedicated customer service teams provide prompt assistance through various communication channels.

Marketing and innovation
Ashley has excelled in marketing by educating its retail partners about Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI), throughput, and turn rate. This strategy helps retail partners achieve higher profits and better cash flow, ultimately increasing sales for Ashley and its partners. Furthermore, Ashley’s innovative initiatives, such as the SMART Factory and automation technologies, drive operational improvements, enhance employee work experiences, and increase efficiency.

Social responsibility
Ashley’s commitment to social responsibility is reflected in its environmental and community-focused initiatives. The company takes significant steps to reduce energy consumption, recycle materials, and invest in solar panels across its facilities. Additionally, Ashley supports local communities by partnering with schools, investing in educational programs, and contributing to medical research and care.

Vision for the future
Ashley maintains its practices through regular assessments and ongoing employee engagement. Over the next five years, the company plans to refine its educational and charitable giving programs, increase the use of electrically powered trucks, and collaborate closely with regulators to navigate changing regulations.

Ashley Furniture Industries exemplifies excellence in the home furnishings industry through its comprehensive approach to employee development, customer service, innovation, social responsibility, and strategic growth. This multifaceted commitment exemplifies why Ashley Furniture Industries is the 2024 HFA Manufacturer of the Year.


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Larry Adams | Editor

Larry Adams is a Chicago-based writer and editor who writes about how things get done. A former wire service and community newspaper reporter, Larry is an award-winning writer with more than three decades of experience. In addition to writing about woodworking, he has covered science, metrology, metalworking, industrial design, quality control, imaging, Swiss and micromanufacturing . He was previously a Tabbie Award winner for his coverage of nano-based coatings technology for the automotive industry. Larry volunteers for the historic preservation group, the Kalo Foundation/Ianelli Studios, and the science-based group, Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST).