Free, exclusive reports are part of ISPA member benefits package
BY JULIE A. PALM
Everybody wants to know how they’re doing compared to their competitors. And the International Sleep Products Association produces two reports, best known as the Cost and Wage surveys, that are vital to mattress makers who want to track, assess and compare the nuts-and-bolts operations of their companies with the broader industry. Best of all, they are free to ISPA members as part of their association benefits.
Omaha Bedding, a bedding manufacturer based in Omaha, Nebraska, has participated in both surveys for several years and found the statistics, comparisons and benchmarks they provide useful.
“There is not a lot industry-centric information out there, and the efforts that ISPA puts forth to get this type of information to the members is very helpful to me and my company,” says Norman Veitzer, vice president.
The Cost Survey, more formally titled the Mattress Industry Annual Cost Survey for All Member Producers, allows mattress manufacturers to assess and analyze their operating and financial performance against industry averages and over time. Using the information, companies can identify operational weaknesses, control costs, improve efficiency and boost profitability. Survey participants receive—at no cost—both an aggregate and a confidential customized report that compares the participant’s individual performance with industry benchmarks.
“I think the most useful document is the customized report about your own company. It gives you insights into your business that aren’t available otherwise,” says Tom Noon, founder and principal in Industry Insights Inc., a survey and analytics firm based in Dublin, Ohio, that prepares both the Cost and Wage surveys for ISPA.
The customized report compares a mattress manufacturer to aggregate results from similarly sized companies, as well as those in its geographic region. “They also are compared to a high-profit/high-performing group (whose results are shown in aggregate) so they can see how they stack up against the most profitable participants in the industry,” Noon says.
The Wage Survey, officially called the Mattress Industry Production Wage & Management Compensation Survey, helps companies set competitive pay scales, negotiate benefits packages and review union contracts. It contains comprehensive information about hourly wages and management salaries, all broken down by job title, as well details about employee benefits like vacation days/sick leave, health insurance and retirement plans. As with the Cost Survey, Wage Survey participants received a customized report—again at no cost.
One important note for mattress manufacturers possibly worried about releasing their sensitive company data to participate in the surveys: Noon says his company goes “to great extremes to ensure confidentiality.”
“First, we are an objective, outside company looking at the surveys,” he says. “And only a few select people at our company see the surveys or results.” Industry Insights assigns a confidential code to each company submitting a survey and then strips off any other identifying information. It would be impossible for a reader to tease out individual company results from the aggregated numbers released in the overall report, Noon says. And when the customized report is sent back to a participating company, it goes only to a designated person. Individual company information is never released to anyone else—inside or outside the mattress industry. In fact, Industry Insights is so concerned about confidentiality that when a BedTimes writer tried to schedule interviews with principals of the firm for this article, Noon checked with ISPA to make sure the request was legitimate before agreeing to talk.
Other companies might be concerned about the time it takes to participate in the surveys. Six estimates that it takes between 30 minutes and an hour, possibly a little longer, for a company to fill out the Wage Survey.
Noon acknowledges that pulling together the necessary information and filling out the Cost Survey the first time can be tedious but after the initial year, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, he says. “It does take some time to fill out, especially if you haven’t participated before. But I tell companies, ‘Fill out what you can, even if you leave blanks. You’ll still provide—and get back—a good deal of information. Next time it will be easier—and you’ll have obtained an appetite for knowing more about your business that will encourage you.”
And as a longtime participant in both surveys, Veitzer agrees that the time his company invests in completing the forms is worth it—for that very reason Noon cites.
“I find that the time taken to prepare the survey answers is time well-spent as it allows us to review our own business functions and numbers at the same time,” Veitzer says. And when he receives back both the aggregate and customized reports for Omaha Bedding, “it gives you a benchmark to compare what others in your industry are experiencing. Our industry is small and any information is useful.”
The International Sleep Products Association produces a number of statistical products to help mattress manufacturers monitor the industry’s overall performance, compare themselves to industry averages, project industry trends, and shape production, employment, sales and marketing strategies. All are free to ISPA members as part of their membership benefits. Learn more about the value of other reports in the July 2017 issue of BedTimes or online at BedTimesMagazine.com.
Thank you to all who participated in the International Sleep Products Association’s 58th annual Cost Survey, which now is available. Survey participants automatically receive a free copy of the report. ISPA members who were unable to participate this year, can purchase the survey for $500. Visit SleepProducts.org/Statistics/ISPA-Statistical-Surveys.