Harden Furniture Gets $750K in Grants for UpgradeJanuary 16, 2013
The New York State grant provides the company with $600,000 to fund a portion of a projected $3 million investment in new technology and lean processes. The $150,000 Oneida County grant was secured through a federal Community Development Block Grant and will also be applied to the modernization program. The company expects the update to be completed in 2015.
Harden Furniture, founded in 1844, and the oldest manufacturer of furnishings in North America, began a conversion of its manufacturing systems in 2012 to transition the majority of its production to a "batch one" system. Building on earlier lean projects, the company expects to reduce production lead times, eliminate inventory buffers, and enhance its ability to customize case good and upholstery products. Currently all dining tables and the majority of Harden's upholstery frames are produced using a similar process.
Prior to the grant funding Harden had installed a Holtz-her CNC machining center, the centerpiece of the lean production cell, and the equipment is currently supporting existing manufacturing processes in addition to serving the new "batch one" line. Additional equipment and engineering investments are planned for early this year as the company transitions more product collections to "batch one" production. In a "batch one" process, pieces are manufactured one at a time, versus older production systems that required quantities of 25 and greater to achieve acceptable efficiencies.
Harden's sawmill produces more than four million board feet of Adirondack hardwood annually, with about 40 percent of the material used to produce Harden furniture and the balance sold to manufacturers of other products. The investment planned for the sawmill will improve efficiencies and add capacity to sort and dry grade lumber.
In 1999 Harden replaced an older sawmill facility with the assistance of a New York State grant and now foresees the opportunity to further expand production and efficiency with additional internal investment and grant support.