Sealy’s commitment to superior sleep permeates everything we do. From best-in-class product design to world-class manufacturing rigor, with over 50 years of experience, every staff member is dedicated to creating the best sleeping experience for every Australian. They cast a keen eye over what makes the grade and what doesn’t.
At Sealy, your mattress is more than just a bed. “We look at it as the most important piece of furniture in your home. It’s where you sleep, where you dream, where your kids crawl into in the middle of the night or the crack of dawn. It’s your haven, it’s your home. And if it’s not built for you, built to last, you’re going to notice it,” says Michael Robinson, National Training Manager.
Michael adds, “We recognize how central your bed is to your happiness, your health and your energy levels, so we craft each and every bed range to outshine every competitor against three criteria: Support, Comfort and Durability.”
Adds Steve Dengate, Factory Manager at Sealy Australia: “Our job is to build the best bed. We’ve always got the mentality of, ‘What would you sell to your family? Would I sell that [specification] to my dearest friend or family member?’ Some beds get rejected simply because they don’t meet our criteria. At the end of the day, we’ll only make what we’re proud to put out into the market.”
Success as a starting point
“When Sealy wants to launch a new bed range, or updates an existing collection of beds, the starting point is always asking the questions, ‘Will customers love it? Will they love it 10 years from now? Will they love it so much, they’ll tell their friends about it and buy another Sealy from us again?’
Our NPD team — which includes employees from R&D, design, manufacturing, customer care, marketing, engineering and sales — meet as one to assess customer feedback, materials improvement, emerging design trends around the world, product testing results and internal innovations to conceive of new prototypes,” says Michael tells us.
“We have craftsmen who’ve been with us for over 40 years as well as highly-talented engineers we’ve pulled from other industries. We have intelligent and rapid-pace discussions about what will work, what’s worked versus what’s not worked in the past and if our new ideas can be built in practice. Add to that that we have end-to-end build and test facilities all in one place, which means springs, engineers, and craftsmen can go off and build mattress prototypes later that day if need be. That’s the pace and high standard to which we work,” explains Daniel Green, Research and Development Manager for Sealy of Australia.
Building to last… every step along the way
“Something customers may not be aware of is how high we set our pass/fail rates. Truthfully, we probably set it higher than we commercially should because we want to avoid ‘accepted failures’. We’re very demanding of ourselves,” explains Steve Dengate.
Steve, who oversees every build in one of Sealy’s manufacturing facilities, elaborates: “We apply those standards to every bed that we make every day. Beds that come back don’t pass the test for the next range; they don’t make the system. They’re out. They’re cut like a football team.
“We know the standards and configurations of beds that don’t work and we don’t bring them back no matter what. Beautiful fabrics don’t pass if they don’t pass the test. We’re in charge of making sure that people have a great experience with the brand. We want to be the best brand for the next generation and the next and so on. We want to have a Sealy in every home in Australia. We can’t do that if we make beds that don’t last,” he says.
It’s up to the production team helmed by Garry Walshe to construct the bed you’re sleeping on. Garry, who’s been with Sealy for 18 years, understands each nuance of the production process. “Raw materials including ticking, foams, fibres, spring units, timber foundations — everything is put together by hand. We personally inspect all layers before they reach the assembly side of our factory.
“That fabric on the top? It’s not only had labels hand-sewn onto the border or gussets attached, it’s also been inspected by a supervisor before being passed over to assembly. If the rare loose thread appears, Sealy empowers employees to correct any pattern mistake on-the-spot. This means Sealy’s front-of-line employees prioritize product quality over production speed (even if they are pretty speedy).
“Once each mattress layer has passed its own inspection and has been bundled together, it’s up to Garry’s build teams to align them, layer them with springs into the mattress fabric and sew the edges (a technique called hand taping), making sure the borders are nice and tight for longevity. Every little detail is manually put together on unique rotating build tables. Handles are applied, labels are double-checked for positioning and overall aesthetics are given a once-over.
“When you think of hand-sewn, you may not picture a guy deftly tape-edging together damask and nylon edging, but that’s what we have. There’s so much skill, time and effort required, which we love celebrating. We just wish more customers could see what we do. It’s a massive effort to do just-in-time all the time, but it’s an investment we think is well worth it.
“Sew, quilt, matt, base, dispatch truck…we pair innovation, hand-made and quality with the desire to want to get beds to consumers the second they order one. Our ability to do what we do with agility and speed is what makes working here so great for us.”
Steve adds, “At a time when Australian manufacturing is declining in sectors, the secret to our success is our ability to retain outstanding employees who do their jobs so well. As a consequence, we build better stuff every year, ship better beds out on time, every time. That focus has helped us survive. Not just survive, thrive.
“We can make hundreds of beds per day in each of our facilities and our teams will not leave until every bed gets made to perfection.” Says Steve, “Our goal at Sealy has always been to make the world’s best bed. That’s the mission we wake up to every day.”