ENTIRE MATTRESS INDUSTRY MADE CONFERENCE A SUCCESS

It takes a village, we are told, to raise a child. I would build on that thought with a mattress permutation: It takes the entire bedding industry to conduct a successful Furniture/Today Bedding Conference.

About 330 top retailers, producers and suppliers joined us at the Omni Orlando Resort in Championsgate, Fla., a few weeks ago for the 10th edition of the Bedding Conference. It was another strong show, according to our attendees. They gave virtually every session top marks.

Our speakers delivered a wealth of content that deserves careful analysis and action in the weeks and months to come. We’ve already sent copies of key conference presentations to more than 40 attendees, and we’ve already begun reflecting on the key takeaways, some of which you will findelsewhere on the site in our first batch of stories on the conference.

“Driving High Performance in Bedding” was our theme, and we presented examples of how to do just that in the air and on the ground.

Jim “Murph” Murphy, a former Air Force fighter pilot, explained how he used a Flawless Execution model to train his pilots, and how he now teaches those principles to business leaders around the world.

One top industry exec was especially impressed with Murphy’s stress on the importance of debriefing — assessing what went right and wrong. He doesn’t see enough of that discipline in the industry, he said.

Business experts from Porsche Consulting offered a variation on some of the same themes Murphy illuminated. Operational Excellence is their mantra, and it involves a laser focus on key business principles, including a customer-centric metric. Our industry can learn from that discipline.

Furniture/Today’s Kara Dunlay and Norman Firchau of Porsche Consulting check out a Porsche 911.

The conference was not all serious business. Porsche brought three of its high-performance cars to the conference, which we could sit in and dream of taking to the open road.And we all had fun on the final morning of the conference when we set a new Guinness World Record for the most people making beds simultaneously in a single venue. Our winning total: 256. Thanks to everyone who participated in that event. We literally needed every person in that room to set the record. If, to pick just seven attendees at random, Karrie Forbes, Pat Judd, Rob Culp, Kevin Toman, Ron Passaglia, Todd Miller and Tony Smith had not joined us that morning, we would not have set the record.

I’ve got a long list of thank yous. HSM Bedding Solutions was again our headline sponsor, and Serta Simmons Bedding and Serta and Simmons were key sponsors, as were King Koil, Leggett & Platt, and Paramount Sleep.

Other sponsors included Tempur Sealy International, Therapedic, Restonic, Englander, Kingsdown, Spring Air, E.S. Kluft, Enso Sleep Systems, Sierra Sleep, Reverie, Marshall Mattress, Spring Time Bedding, Naturepedic, Boyd Specialty Sleep, Ergomotion, Carpenter, Wright Global Graphics, Protect-A-Bed, Malouf, GBS Enterprises, PureCare, Storis, Revive Sleep, DreamFit, Progressive, International Market Centers, Uniters, Clear Destination and Fidelitone Last Mile Delivery.

Thanks to the entire bedding industry for your strong support of the Bedding Conference. All of us at Furniture/Today are thankful for that support.