Ashley is bolstering its production, distribution, technology and workforce capabilities.
By Alan Wolf, YSN
Ashley Furniture Industries will invest $1 billion in its manufacturing, distribution and workforce over the next 18 months in an effort to shore up its supply chain and ease massive order backlogs, according to a report in FurnitureToday.
The expenditure, which will also target automation and technology, is considered the largest single investment in the company’s 75-year history, the trade publication reported.
The report quoted Ashley CEO Todd Wanek, who said the company’s aim is “to build an even stronger supply-chain to meet ever-growing customer demand.”
“This is not only a commitment to bringing the supply-chain back to previous levels,” he continued, “but to enhancing the company’s current capabilities to be able to deliver to customers in just days.”
The ultimate goal, he said, is an infrastructure that can support a “95-percent in-stock and ready-to-ship level of inventory.”
To get there, Ashley will increase capacity at its production facilities and distribution centers and open new ones in order to position inventory closer to the market, FurnitureToday said. The company will also employ computer-integrated manufacturing and automated technologies for greater factory speed and flexibility; expand its transportation fleet, already considered the largest in the furniture industry; launch a new order management system infused with artificial intelligence; and will hire and train more employees.
The investments, added Wanek, “demonstrate our willingness to reinvest in our people, our facilities and our machinery to ensure we are well-positioned to meet our customers’ expectations.”
Ashley, like most home-enhancement businesses, has been beset by supply-chain snags, production delays and unprecedented consumer demand stemming from the escalating COVID-19 crisis.