Not all mattresses are the same. It’s a phrase repeated often around Sealy because the truth is, Sealy’s mattresses are different. They’re unique and — in the eyes of the dozens of engineers, quality control supervisors and materials experts — far superior to any other mattress in the market today. Is this a bold claim? Yes, but one Daniel Green, Sealy’s Research and Development Manager, feels comfortable making.
That’s because Sealy Posturepedic mattresses are built on a design founded by extensive orthopaedic research, rigorous testing and collective knowledge. And that knowledge base keeps expanding every year. Just ask Dan.
“When Sealy Posturepedic first hit the market, bed frames were like hammocks,” says Dan.
“That may have felt good for an hour, but not so for ten years. Sealy’s engineers had worked out that the combination of mattresses and foundations weren’t good at all for sleepers, so they contacted orthopaedic surgeons, collaborated with them on research and together established the best ‘criteria’ for optimal sleep.
“This was in the 1950’s. Sealy took this ‘orthopaedic’ recommendation and constructed a mattress with an interconnected spring system topped with foam and comfort layers that could support the ideal ‘posture’ a sleeper should be in.
“It may seem like a no-brainer today, but Sealy’s Posturepedic mattress really revolutionised bedding because Sealy worked out how to scientifically give people a great night’s sleep. They’re the company that figured it out.”
In NATA we trust
Sealy Posturepedic’s claims are credible thanks in part to NATA, the National Association of Testing Authorities — an independent, not-for-profit company who is the authority on technical competence in laboratories and testing facilities. Labs like Sealy’s must continually prove they meet the latest in quality standards and that every little detail of their testing methods are in line with international standards.
“We’re unashamedly proud that we’re the only accredited mattress test lab in the country because we take R&D so seriously. We test to the highest American standard, and we share data back and forth with Sealy in the US as part of that,” says Daniel.
This sense of rigour hasn’t slowed down since the 1950’s. If anything, it’s only increased as time goes on.
“Our work is ever-expanding. There’s always some aspect of a mattress that you can re-think, retool, rejig. We may have invented the perfect product for now. But body types change, sleeping patterns change, the world changes, and so must we. We’re in constant pursuit of the next thing and ensuring we deliver excellence in all of our products.”
To that end, R&D also gleans real-world feedback from customers, which lets them know how a bed is performing and alongside their own research, helps them to predict how a bed will perform in the majority of customer homes in Australia.
“We’ve been correlating our testing with customer care feedback for decades. We’ve got that knowledge. We know that if we test something in the lab, we can use that result to predict pretty accurately what’s going to happen in someone’s home. We still have to test it, because the real world can throw you curve balls you don’t expect, but our testing ahead of time means we’re not going out to market with wildly unpredictable mattresses.“
Leading medical breakthroughs
Sealy doesn’t limit consumer research to in-home trials; the company also undertakes medical research and works with doctors to provide specialized clinical solutions for medical patients.
“An element of the work that we do involves pressure management for medical patients (think pressure sores). We’ve been able to take the knowledge we have and apply it to surgical mattresses. Occasionally we can then work with surgeons to create a mattress that pushes back or cradles a body in a different way to create life-changing outcomes for patients who require difficult, intricate, time-intensive surgeries,” Daniel tells us.
Dan acknowledges that this focus on innovating and moving the goal posts in order to create a better product is a rarity in not just the industry, but in Australian businesses.
Global thought leadership, headquartered in Brisbane
“What we do here is pretty rare. You don’t hear much about Australian consumer goods businesses investing heavily in innovation and research. But we do because we’ve identified that Australian consumers are different and have different needs to global standards that were set years or decades ago in Europe or the U.S.
“We don’t accept one-size-fits-all. That’s why we create optimal bed systems that can cater and respond in the most flexible and supportive manner to the majority of Australians. We’re tasked with creating the world’s best sleep system, and we’re given the tools, resources and lab to do so. It may seem unexpected that innovation originates from Australia, but for us, it’s business as usual.”