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Louisville Partners With Pem-America

Michele SanFilippo, Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, March 28, 2005

Louisville, Ky. — Louisville Bedding Company has embarked on a joint venture with Pem-America and Jia Li to establish operations in Asia.

Through the alliance, the companies will share new facilities in Shanghai, China, including a modern 2,000-square-foot showroom that is slated to open by the end of April. The company should be shipping finished mattress pads out of Shanghai by the fourth quarter; it is already shipping pillow shells.

The initiative enables retailers to capitalize on additional supply chain and cost savings, while ensuring Louisville's standards are maintained in terms of quality, technology and innovation, according to Steve Elias, Louisville president. "As our customers will quickly appreciate, our unique approach offers several distinct advantages," he said.

"This is what sets us apart," Elias added. "Most retailers are eager to benefit from the advantages working in China affords. Problem is, duplicating domestic quality and service levels has been a challenge."

Rather than simply sourcing from existing manufacturers in Asia, Louisville Bedding has taken a globalization route that gives it and its customers direct, ongoing control over product and costs, he said.

"No matter where we manufacture," Elias stated, "our basic bedding products will meet the exact same specifications retailers have come to count on."

To achieve these manufacturing standards, Louisville-Jia Li has applied its best practices to the new Shanghai operation. Louisville staff and equipment are currently being sent to China for training during the next few months, which will be followed by hiring permanent salespeople to work out of Shanghai.

As a result of the alliance, Louisville Bedding is able to offer basic bedding programs, structured across a supply chain that includes FOB shipping points in Kentucky, California, South Carolina, Canada and now China. By working with Louisville-Jia Li, Elias said, retailers can now craft a cost-effective supply chain, ensuring in-stock levels.

"We have been doing business with Pem America, from a raw material sourcing point of view, for the last two years," he said. "In the last year or so is when we decided to get together because our companies, philosophies and cultures were very much the same."

He continued that the partnership makes the company stronger from a manufacturing standpoint because now it can make its own shells and ship finished mattress pads. "This gives us the ability to offer the retail customer everything they have been used to getting from Louisville plus a menu of services and FOB shipping locations," Elias added.

Wang Ji, president of Pem-America, said, "We feel very happy about this partnership and think it will not only benefit both our companies but the industry at large. Louisville and Pem-America are two companies with many similarities in management styles, service to customers, steady growth and aggressiveness about the future."

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