AIS, a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating, last week announced 2018 sales of $200 million, a 16 percent increase from 2017 that reflects the company’s commitment to product breadth, speed to market, customer service and affordability.
Profits also increased in 2018, by 14 percent. AIS gave back more than $4 million to employees through bonuses and to the community through charitable donations and activities. Sales for the first quarter of 2019 indicate that similar growth can be expected for this year.
“Succesful because of our people”
“We’re driven by a customer-first philosophy and a can-do culture,” AIS President and CEO Bruce Platzman said. “We’re successful because of our people. I’m so proud of our hard work in 2018 – and working together, 2019 is going to be another great year.”
AIS now employs nearly 800 people – with more than 200 hired in 2018 alone. Most employees work at the company’s 600,000 square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Leominster, Massachusetts. AIS is the largest employer and manufacturer in Leominster.
As part of the company’s ambitious growth plans, AIS hired Nick Haritos as executive vice president of sales and distribution in January 2018.
“Treat the dealer right”
“We’re known for furniture that says, ‘let’s get to work,’ and our core value is ‘treat the dealer right,’” Haritos said. “That means listening to our customers and delivering relevant designs and quality products – fast. With speed at our core, we develop products in half the time it takes others, and with lead times that are among the shortest in the industry. This philosophy and business model has fueled our success.”
In addition to the hiring of Haritos, the company in 2018 also added nearly 20 people to the sales department, including new vice presidents, territory managers and sales team members who work across North America. AIS’s dealer network also stretches across the United States and into Canada.
Many new products lauched in 2018
2018 was a big product-launch year for AIS. The company introduced Volker™ cubes and nesting tables, the Devens™ task chair, LB Lounge™ seating, Calibrate® Conferencing tables, Day-To-Day™ table solutions and Rutland™ stools. These products join a full line of furniture solutions in tune with customers’ changing needs. AIS products are designed, engineered and manufactured in the USA and sold throughout North America.
In 2018, AIS received three Office Furniture Dealer Alliance (OFDA) Dealers’ Choice Awards, taking top honors in the categories of Casegoods, Seating and Workstations/Systems. The awards marked the company’s 10th year of being recognized by OFDA for product excellence. AIS products also have been honored with Best of NeoCon awards.
Three renovated showrooms
AIS renovated three permanent showrooms in 2018. The company’s 7,334-square-foot New York City showroom located in Manhattan reopened in March 2018. During NeoCon in June 2018, AIS unveiled its 7,400-square-foot showroom at TheMart in Chicago. The company reopened its newly renovated 4,044-square-foot Washington, D.C., showroom in September 2018. Each showroom was designed in partnership with Boston-based A&D firm NELSON.
AIS also unveiled a brand identity refresh in 2018, which included a new logo, website, online image library and all-new sales tools. The company’s strategic marketing initiatives continue on all fronts with the leadership of Vice President of Marketing Tracy Reed, who joined AIS in 2017.
In 2018, AIS participated in the United Way of North Central Massachusetts’ Partnering for Literacy, Combat Hunger and Day of Caring events. The company continued its long involvement with Make-A-Wish of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as sponsored a number of community activities in the cities of Leominster and nearby Fitchburg.
In October, AIS hosted events in conjunction with state and national Manufacturing Day / Month for local students, chambers of commerce members and community leaders. The tours and activities were designed to build awareness of manufacturing’s positive impact on the local economy and to cultivate interest in careers in manufacturing.
Manufacturer of the year
The Shingo-Prize-winning AIS was chosen “Manufacturer of the Year” in 2018 for the central Massachusetts region comprised of Worcester and Middlesex counties. AIS leadership accepted the award on behalf of the company at the 3rd Annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony, which was held Oct. 30 at the state capitol in Boston.
Also in 2018, AIS was honored with the AIM (Associated Industries of Massachusetts) Sustainability Award for its state-of-the-art rooftop solar energy system and for its commitment to lean manufacturing.