Leggett & Platt expands R&D
October 15, 2009 | 7:00 pm CDT

Leggett & Platt officially unveiled an international center for corporate research and development in March in Carthage, Mo., as part of a company-wide innovation strategy.

The Innovation, Design, Engineering, Acceleration (IDEA) Center includes a 30,000 square-foot facility that houses a research library, electrical and mechanical engineering labs, and a 2,200 square-foot showroom. The center also includes a bedding lab with equipment capable of testing products for firmness, durability and material degradation. The lab is also able to monitor pressure points of the body.

The cost of developing and building the center was approximately $7 million. There are currently 43 technical personnel employed there.

One of the items featured at the center's opening was Leggett's newest bedding product, the semi-fold box spring. The product folds in half and folds flat for shipping without compromising durability or strength. The semi-fold box spring has just recently been made available to retailers.

Company-wide strategy

The IDEA Center is part of a recently announced company-wide strategy called WIN 70/30. WIN, or Worldwide Innovation Network, is based on the idea that "great ideas can come from anyone at any time." Leggett & Platt expects that 70 percent of its innovations will come from within the company, while the remaining 30 percent will come from external sources.

The WIN program is spearheaded by Vincent Lyons, vice president of engineering & product development and president of the machinery & technology group. "We encourage everyone to visit our Web site, www.leggett.com, and click on the Innovation Redefined logo. You may submit ideas by clicking on the Open Innovation link," Lyons says. Leggett & Platt employees whose ideas are accepted, developed and contribute significantly to the corporation will receive the J.P. Leggett Innovators Award.

"L&P's future success in the global marketplace will depend heavily on our ability to fully leverage our broad and deep resources, especially in the critical area of product development," Lyons says.

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About the author
Ken Jennison

Ken Jennison was a senior editor at CabinetMaker and FDM magazines from 2006 to 2008, writing more than 70 articles about cabinet and furniture manufacturers. He is currently director of acquisitions at Hearland Historical Properties LLC in San Francisco.