Innovation Drives Logicdata’s Move Into Bedding

The maker of components and power bases relies on R&D to differentiate its products

For Logicdata, the decision to launch its own line of customizable adjustable beds for sale through online and brick-and-mortar retailers was a logical next step in its evolution.

Logicdata Johannes Gradwohl
Johannes Gradwohl is chief executive officer of Logicdata, which specializes in the Silver series of adjustable beds.

After all, the company had been designing and supplying the control boxes and other electronic components of adjustable bases for a number of leading mattress makers worldwide for several years. Having its own line of fully finished adjustable bases gives the company access to a larger market and provides it with a springboard for future line extensions and product introductions for home and office.

Founded in 1994 by Walter Koch, an engineer turned entrepreneur, Logicdata, with headquarters in Deutschlandsberg, Austria, became a limited liability company in 1997. Since that time, it has dedicated itself “to improving and bringing motion to the lives of millions.”

Initially, Logicdata focused on designing control boxes, power supplies, handsets and other components for adjustable office furniture, and for the first decade, the company’s products were almost exclusively used in height-adjustable tables and other office furnishings with motion functions. Then, in 2004, Logicdata entered the home furnishings sector with the launch of Logic Care, now called Logic Home, a division supplying electronic components for recliners, adjustable bases and other motion furniture.

Over time, the company’s line expanded to include extrusions, actuators and other “mechatronic” devices that both control and facilitate movement within a piece of furniture, and the company holds a wide variety of patents for its technologies.

Headshots Georg Hoefler Stefan Knappitsch Dexter Weber“As we got deeper and deeper into the design of mechatronic systems for adjustable beds, we soon realized that there was an opportunity to completely rethink the category,” says Johannes Gradwohl, Logicdata chief executive officer. “The controls and bases had basically been the same for 25 years, but the way sleep products are bought and sold is rapidly changing. To meet this emerging need, we decided to develop a new line of adjustable bases that could be sold online or in stores, drop shipped and delivered to a store or home, and assembled by the consumer quickly and easily.”

Designing a complete adjustable base from the ground up revealed a host of new opportunities for Logicdata, Gradwohl adds, because “we could use all of our own components from both our home and office business units.”

Compact and customizable

Logicdata company briefThe result was the SILVER series of adjustable bases launched by Logicdata at the Las Vegas Market in January 2018. SILVERstandard, the first model, began selling at retail late last year. It features the company’s ELEmatic System, a novel design that hides the technology responsible for adjusting mattress support and positioning within the siderails of its clean, minimalistic frame. Compared with conventional adjustable bases, which require the placement of technology throughout the base — with cables and other components often hanging from the bottom — Logicdata’s SILVERstandard base uses only a fraction of the area to house its motion technology. The area under the bed is left open for storage, eliminating the risk of consumers accidently damaging or unplugging the components that make the bed move.

Designed for sale via e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail, the SILVERstandard’s modular frame and all other components fit into two compact boxes that ship via carriers such as UPS and FedEx with no upcharges. According to the company, the entire system can be assembled in less than 15 minutes with one tool, and a one-size-fits-all design allows the consumer to change the size of a frame from a queen to a king without buying a whole new base. That flexible design also simplifies Logicdata’s supply chain and reduces space demands on its warehouses.

A wireless remote controls preprogrammed positions, including zero gravity, anti-snore and flat. Position preferences also can be programmed by the user, and a step-up version of the bed — called SILVERstandard Plus — offers additional features, such as massage. The Plus model retails for $1,500 in queen size.

Now available in select U.S. retail stores, as well as through online merchants, the SILVERstandard has several key advantages that retailers and consumers like, says Georg Höfler, business development manager. “The SILVERstandard’s convenient packaging — two easy-to-carry packages — makes our base easy to get into older homes, narrow hallways and apartment complexes. At the same time, SILVERstandard offers all the premium features consumers expect, including wireless remote, under-bed light, a mobile app and optional massage.”

For retailers, the ability to customize Logicdata’s bases in a variety of ways to fit the needs of their own brands is proving to be a big selling point, Höfler adds. Options include custom labeling, colors, feet and platform covers, with choices that include wood grain, aluminum and fabric. The beds are designed as stylish, standalone furniture but also can be placed into existing bedframes to match the rest of a bedroom set.

Thinking “lite”

Logicdata Silver series adjustable bases
Logicdata offers two core models in its SILVER series of adjustable beds: SILVERlite (left) and SILVERstandard, which includes some step-up features. SILVERlite ships in one box; SILVERstandard in two boxes.

At the most recent Winter Las Vegas Market, Logicdata introduced a lower priced option within the SILVER series called SILVERlite. Offering head-up and foot-up adjustments without the extra features of the SILVERstandard, SILVERlite fits into one box without incurring any oversize shipping charges, according to the company. Like the SILVERstandard, SILVERlite meets UL’s UL-962 safety standard for household and commercial furnishings.

SILVERlite initially was designed as a custom option to the SILVER series, providing e-commerce retailers with a lower priced product they could personalize with their own branding and colors. But the response at the January market was so enthusiastic that Logicdata developed an off-the-shelf SILVERlite model that it will warehouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and start shipping to retailers this summer. Logicdata has no plans to sell its adjustable beds directly to consumers under its own brand.

“At the last show, we introduced a prototype design with the focus on getting some high-volume customized versions for customers,” Gradwohl says. “People were impressed with the stability, customization options and packaging concept. Traditional retailers like this product because they can store it on-site without taking much space, and online retailers like how easily it can be shipped.” Retailing for $800 to $1,000 in a queen size, SILVERlite can be assembled in a few minutes with no tools.

The U.S. market for adjustable bases still has a lot of untapped potential, says Stefan Knappitsch, who assumed his new role as president of Logicdata North America in November 2018 after several years as a project manager for the company in Austria. “Right now, millennials, particularly the older ones who are building families, are at a phase in their life where they are buying more permanent furniture, and adjustable bases have become a more affordable option.”

Unlike in the past, adjustable beds have become a lifestyle choice because of the extra function and comfort they provide. “They’re no longer a product that only older consumers turn to when they have a health challenge,” Knappitsch says.

A global presence

Inside Logicdata headquarters
The interior entrance area of Logicdata’s headquarters in Deutschlandsberg, Austria, is an inviting, welcoming space for
employees.

Logicdata outsources the production of its electronics and other components for its adjustable bases to contract sources in Slovakia, Hungary and China. In the United States, the company stocks finished products at its new, 50,000-square-foot headquarters in Grand Rapids, where it has a large warehouse and a staff of 25. Logicdata moved into the facility in May, doubling the size of its previous site there.

Currently, U.S. orders are shipped in one to two business days, and the company is geared up to ship adjustable beds directly to consumers for those retailers that prefer not to carry inventory, or to retailers’ stores or distribution facilities. Logicdata also offers direct-container service for large orders.

Most of the company’s research and development activities take place at its headquarters in Austria. Two-thirds of Logic-data’s 330 employees have a technical or engineering background, and more than half are directly involved in R&D. The company has three teams focused on R&D — one for electronics, one for mechanisms and one for embedded software — and advances made in one area or product category are shared across teams for possible incorporation into other projects.

“Thanks to more than 20 years of experience in the office furniture industry, we have built up a fundamental knowledge and expertise in the field of mechatronic and electronic components and systems that cross-fertilize our work in the sleep products area,” Gradwohl says.

Fostering innovation

Logicdata collaboration room
Collaboration rooms in Logicdata’s headquarters provide comfortable, inspiring spots for meetings and presentations.

In designing its own workspaces, Logicdata’s leadership team set out to foster a culture of innovation. To encourage creative thinking, Logicdata makes available to all employees its Leonardo da Vinci Lab, aka the Fab Lab, an on-site facility that serves as its prototyping and innovation hub. The lab features a wide range of the latest high-tech equipment, including 3-D printers, soldering stations, robotic arms, and a computer numerical control machine and laser cutter. Opened in 2018, the lab can be used during working hours, as well as evenings and weekends, and for personal projects — not just Logicdata-related activities.

“We think that by giving our employees the freedom to use the da Vinci Lab as they wish, we are creating a culture of innovation that reaches far beyond the limits of the lab,” Gradwohl says, adding that in honor of the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death, the company held a monthlong celebration in May, focusing on the legendary artist and inventor’s visionary spirit and achievements.

In addition to the lab, Logicdata’s headquarters includes collaboration rooms for informal meetings, as well as a “virtual factory” — a bank of 48 computer screens that provides a real-time view of all the company’s outsourced production lines and products.

Recognizing that a healthy work-life balance is a key to productivity, Logicdata also provides employees with a long list of amenities. These include height-adjustable office furniture for every employee; a power napping room; free beverages; an on-site grocery store specializing in organic food from local farmers; a company-owned restaurant offering three meals every day; company parties; and monthly outings for employees, including skiing, mountain biking and hiking excursions.

As part of its mission to foster new ideas, Logicdata is involved in a number of collaborations with universities and students. One current endeavor is the Product Innovation Project the company is conducting with the Technical University of Graz in Styria, Austria. The company also is a supporter of the annual Innovation Marathon at the European Forum Alpbach.

The foundation that supports Logicdata’s ventures is its Charter, a series of 95 statements relating to 10 key principles. They include the principle of the magnificent team, the principle of the indispensable product and market leadership, and the principle of customer excitement.

To build camaraderie and reinforce the company’s mission, Logicdata positions a large gong in its offices and market showrooms. Team members are encouraged to bang the gong loudly when they meet key goals and challenges, and the celebrations often are accompanied by a champagne toast, giving everyone a chance to celebrate both individual and companywide accomplishments.

Raising awareness

As a relative newcomer to the sleep products industry, Logicdata’s management recognizes the company faces some challenges. Much progress already has been made, according to Gradwohl, but more work remains. “In terms of product development, we have to be fast and disruptive to be recognized by the niche market, as well as the big players out there,” he says. “And in terms of marketing and sales, we have to continue to find and understand the right channels and messages to reach our new customers.”

Logicdata research and development lab
Logicdata’s headquarters features the Leonardo da Vinci Lab, a hub for designing and prototyping that is equipped with a range of high-tech equipment.

To build awareness, Logicdata has been exhibiting at key trade shows, such as Interzum Cologne and the Las Vegas Market. In addition, it is advertising in several industry magazines and online, attending industry conferences and maintaining an active social media presence with blogs and other posts. The company also is developing in-store promotional tools for its brick-and-mortar retailers.

With all its messaging, Logicdata emphasizes a few key points, says Dexter Weber, U.S. marketing manager.

“First, we focus on our small packaging for shipability. This makes our product more flexible for retailers to offer both in-store and on their online channels,” he says.

Another Logicdata marketing theme focuses on stability. “We test our products against the competition, and our products are built to shake less,” Weber says. “This can be noticeable for consumers when products are compared in stores side by side.”

The fact that Logicdata creates all its own components is another point of differentiation. “This way, we know everything works well together and each piece is designed perfectly for each application,” Weber says. “This also has allowed us to design the adjustable bases to work in a unique way for shipping since everything can fit in the side rails. This results in easier handling and more protection of the most crucial mechatronics in an adjustable base.”

The market for adjustable bases is growing because many companies, especially retailers, have put a sharper focus on their features and benefits, Höfler says. “Additionally, the marketing has helped in eliminating a stigma that these products were only used by older generations for health purposes,” he says. “Now the market sees adjustable bases as a luxury lifestyle product that fits well with today’s technology and active lifestyles.”