ISPA Brings Industry Together

Executive Committee members share their thoughts on the value of the association and on what it is doing to be relevant to the next generation of bedding leaders

The International Sleep Products Association brings the industry together with its events, creates a culture of inclusivity for players throughout the industry, fosters a problem-solving climate with its programs and gives its members a voice in addressing critical issues.

Those are some of the key points that emerged from a broad discussion of ISPA issues with members of ISPA’s Executive Committee, a subset of the Board of Trustees.

Scott Tinsley, vice president of sales for Serta Simmons Bedding LLC based in Atlanta, expresses a view shared by others when he says today’s bedding climate calls for an involved, engaged industry.

“Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option,” says Tinsley, who is chair of ISPA’s Board of Trustees. “Broadening industry reach by including others is a key tenet that ensures future growth. We are stronger together, and ISPA is a great organization to consolidate and package issues/solutions intelligently for the membership as a whole.”

Asked about the ISPA benefit they most value, Executive Committee members cited the power of ISPA EXPO, the association’s advocacy work, the networking opportunities it provides, and the consumer research and industry statistics it shares with its members.

Importantly, Executive Committee members say ISPA is working to make itself relevant to the next generation of bedding leaders by creating a nurturing environment that encourages the building of strong relationships and the sharing of critical information with long-time and newer ISPA members.

BedTimes also asked Executive Committee members what the industry would be surprised to learn about ISPA. They responded that ISPA is led by an “extraordinary team” of “true believers in the value of sleep,” does extensive lobbying and advocacy work that is often underappreciated, and encourages mutual understanding and respect.

In this report, Executive Committee members offer their opinions on various ISPA issues. Other trustees on the ISPA board will share their thoughts in BedTimes’ August issue.

“Supporting our industry includes engagement: developing relationships within the industry that collectively will address the challenges and needs our industry has now and in the future. Sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option. Broadening industry reach by including others is a key tenet that ensures future growth. We are stronger together, and ISPA is a great organization to consolidate and package issues/solutions intelligently for the membership as a whole.”

— Scott Tinsley, vice president of sales for Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, an Atlanta-based bedding major, and chair of the Board of Trustees for the International Sleep Products Association

“Hickory Springs Manufacturing and Atlanta Attachment Co. believe in ISPA and its goals and benefits to the industry. ISPA understands the industry and where it is going and continually shares that information with its members.”

— Hank Little, president of Atlanta Attachment Co., a division of HSM, based in Lawrenceville, Georgia, manufacturer of automated and custom systems, equipment, machinery and parts 

“In addition to advocacy, ISPA serves as a forum for the industry to meet and collaborate. The EXPOs, conferences and numerous boards bring the mattress community together in a way that would not happen otherwise. This is the primary motivator for my participation on the board. I feel it supports this community and my own membership.”

— Wade Wallace, president and chief operating officer of Tietex International, a Spartanburg, South Carolina-based producer of stitch-bonded filler fabrics

“ISPA provides the smaller manufacturers a voice in the industry and provides resources and information about federal and state governmental actions. Using the tools and services ISPA provides, we can make more informed decisions.”

— Bryan Smith, president and chief executive officer of Nashville, Tennessee-based bedding manufacturer and licensing group Southerland. He is the immediate past chair of the
ISPA Board of Trustees

“I find value in many different aspects of ISPA membership. Thinking about advocacy, networking, consumer insights and statistics, ISPA has much to offer. Being on the board provides an opportunity to not only gain perspective but also share my insight into the industry. There is a lot to learn from each other and take back to our teams to work to improve and meet the challenges we all face.” 

— Tim Meade, sales director for Coats, a Uxbridge, United Kingdom-based maker of specialty engineered industrial threads and yarns with three production facilities in North Carolina

“ISPA has strong connections with its membership and understands the challenges we face domestically and globally. They make themselves available to help resolve issues we face as an industry. I’ve grown both personally and professionally during my time on the board and consider it an honor and a distinct pleasure to serve the board and the membership.”

— Kim Cobb, vice president and director of international sales for Thomasville, North Carolina-based Wright Global Graphics, a printing, branding and marketing solutions provider

“ISPA provides a platform for members to share their concerns and ideas on both state and federal legislation that could be impactful to their businesses. ISPA then acts on that feedback to represent our industry with a unified voice to serve the greater good. Board participation ensures that the opinions of my organization and those of our customers are heard, understood and given consideration for action.” 

 — Cody Messner, group vice president for Leggett & Platt Inc., a diversified supplier based in Carthage, Missouri

“Aside from helping shape legislation, ISPA provides great opportunities for networking and expanding personal connections within the industry.” — Messner, L&P

“I have two areas that immediately come to mind. One is the consumer research on how consumers shop for mattresses, their buying habits, and the retail experience. The data is always current and relevant to today’s shoppers. The other member service area is the legislative and regulatory advocacy that ISPA provides its members.” — Cobb, Wright Global Graphics

“In an industry where state laws tend to complicate interstate commerce, ISPA’s support to lobby and effect change on state laws that complicate or add costs to interstate commerce is the most valuable in my mind.”  — Smith, Southerland

“I find the most value in industry statistics and in particular the Mattress Industry Trends report.” — Meade, Coats 

“The statistics are invaluable. Specifically, the annual report. Our company produces products for many industries, and we participate in those industry organizations. I have not found another one that comes close to providing the level of detail and accuracy as ISPA. — Wallace, Tietex 

“The ISPA EXPO has become an invaluable sales and advertising avenue for our equipment and products. It affords great visibility and attracts customers worldwide, giving them opportunities to see all that our industry offers. Networking with other industry professionals is also a tremendous value.” — Little, Atlanta Attachment 

“Presently, we benefit greatly from ISPA’s advocacy team and their partners. Changes in regulation at the federal, state and local levels have significant impact on our future on issues like recycling, open-flame resistance and sustainability. ISPA is leading the effort to increase the knowledge base of these legislators, and our membership can assist in the shaping of regulations that are mutually beneficial to all — industry, government and the consumer.” — Tinsley, SSB

“ISPA is a valuable resource for the industry as a whole for information relating to issues that affect not only our industry today, but it helps identify the issues that will affect us tomorrow as well. As the industry changes, ISPA leads the way to help educate the next generation. The networking and industry information — past, present and future — that ISPA shares is valuable information and will help our future industry leaders be better prepared to address the future based on the detailed information available to them.” — Little, Atlanta Attachment

“It is so important for the current leaders to embrace our industry and prepare for the challenges of the future. The ISPA executive leadership team and the board developed a series of five tenets for addressing current and future industry needs:

  1. Data collection and knowledge: Increase information flow to improve responses to changing market conditions.
  2. Consumer trends: Communicate the value of a good night’s sleep while enhancing industry knowledge base.
  3. Advocacy: Assist in proactively shaping legislation and regulation affecting the industry.
  4. Inclusion: Broaden and expand membership beyond the traditional base to the greater sleep industry as a whole and advance international collaboration.
  5. Organization health: Maintain financial stability while increasing participation and support for the industry.”  — Tinsley, SSB

“ISPA-sponsored events and trade shows offer an opportunity to build a network of key contacts across a variety of industry businesses. A reliable and trusted network of experienced industry contacts can prove invaluable when making informed decisions.” — Messner, L&P 

“As the voice of the industry, ISPA has the opportunity to educate and inform the next generation of leaders about industry issues and needed changes from a nonbiased perspective.” — Smith, Southerland

“The next generation of leaders can count on the industry knowledge of ISPA and the deep relationships they have with manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. It is the networking and relationship building that the next generation will find that they can count on and find real value in.” — Cobb, Wright Global Graphics

“ISPA is more relevant to the next generation of leaders than ever. The industry has been and continues changing in exponential ways. ISPA should be at the epicenter of the brick-and-mortar to direct-to-consumer evolution. We need the next generation of bedding professionals to come together and lead this evolution to ensure our industry collaborates for the good of the consumer, producer and supply chains.” — Wallace, Tietex 

“Looking at advocacy, networking, consumer insights and statistics, ISPA provides a great platform to the next generation of leaders to develop their skills, and networking may be the most relevant. Networking is not just about finding your next customer but who you can learn from, partner with, innovate with, and develop new ideas and solve problems facing the industry. Having a strong network of ISPA members will help anyone in the next generation become a better leader.” — Meade, Coats 

“There is very little to no turnover in personnel at ISPA. The dedication and tenure of ISPA employees continues to strengthen our industry and the ISPA membership.” — Cobb, Wright Global Graphics

“ISPA’s advocacy and legislative lobbying is extensive and often underappreciated. Few in the industry really understand how much work goes on behind the scenes at the federal and state levels.” — Wallace, Tietex 

“This is not a surprise to those who currently participate but for those that do not, we are so fortunate to have an extraordinary team at ISPA. These are partners that truly love and understand our business. This greatly improves the quality of the actions they take on our behalf. The entire leadership team is knowledgeable, passionate and professional. They are true believers in the value of sleep and are ‘raving fans’ for our industry.” — Tinsley, SSB

“The depth of ISPA’s lobbying efforts would be a surprise to most people. Their efforts on both the national and state levels in protecting and promoting the industry are unsurpassed.” — Little, Atlanta Attachment

“Despite the competitive nature of our industry, there is a high capacity for mutual understanding and respect among ISPA members.” — Messner, L&P 

“I do not know if it would be a surprise because it is the way it should be, but ISPA is solely focused on helping our industry grow and sustain. There are no ulterior motives.” — Smith, Southerland 

“The amount of work that goes into industry advocacy — from proposed legislation to presenting a unified viewpoint from suppliers to manufacturers to retailers — takes a lot of time and energy from the team at ISPA. I think many people would be surprised about the number of bills that get proposed in state legislatures that would impact our industry and the work ISPA does in this area.” — Meade, Coats 

“In 2021, we have our goals for standard business metrics set, but in the wake of Covid-19 and the dynamic and ever-changing raw material issues, our goal is to be better communicators both internally and externally. Communicating better with supply partners helps them provide more on-time and accurate shipments. Communicating better internally helps us be a more cohesive and effective team and communicating externally to our retail partners helps them provide better service to their customers.” — Smith, Southerland

“Wright Global Graphics continues to develop new products and offer services of extraordinary value to our customers and the industry. We are researching and developing new materials and offering creative, innovative techniques for branding mattress products. And, after a ransomware attack in late 2020, we are committed to protecting our internal operating system and intelligence with the highest level of cybersecurity.” — Cobb, Wright Global Graphics

“HSM and AAC’s goals for 2021 are to continue to successfully navigate through the pandemic and its many effects on the market, as well as continuing to develop new products for the bedding industry, while increasing our topline sales and revenue numbers. This will allow us to continue to invest in our employees and company to ensure our continued growth and success in the future.” — Little, Atlanta Attachment

“For our business, we are taking a view to improve on 2019. As we all experienced a great deal of turbulence navigating 2020, we just want to take a step back and take a two-year view and look at what we need to do to get better from 2019 until today.” — Meade, Coats 

“We have an innovative new FR technology for the mattress industry. Its launch and placement are our biggest goals.” — Wallace, Tietex

“I am eager to resume in-person meetings with co-workers and customers and to demonstrate our continued commitments to innovation, quality and service.” — Messner, L&P 

“I have been very fortunate to follow great leadership on ISPA’s board, and I am motivated to maintain and grow membership participation and support. Inclusion — expanding beyond the traditional manufacturer and supplier network to include others — is a key tenet. There are marketers both online and brick-and-mortar, and there are retailers across a variety of distribution channels and other sleep industry companies that should be seriously considered for membership. They can provide additional knowledge, perspective and passion that can and will benefit the entire industry in the future.” — Tinsley, SSB

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