BedTimes Interview: Joe Van De Hey, CEO and Founder, C3 Corporation

Editor’s Note: For the August machinery feature titled, “Strong Stitches, Powerful Bonds,” we asked industry leaders to fill out a questionnaire about their business. To our delight, some of them gave us so much information, we couldn’t use it all in the print feature. So, we decided to post the entirety of their Q&A’s online, allowing you, our valued audience, to read all their good answers. This interview with Joe Van De Hey is the first of a four-part, online-only series that we will post weekly throughout the month of August. Most of all, our sincerest thanks to the executives who participated in the sewing and gluing machinery feature and helped to make it a success.

Joe Van De Hey
Joe Van De Hey

BedTimes: What new sewing machines have you recently introduced that you would like to showcase? If you haven’t introduced new sewing machinery, then what timely updates have you made to existing machinery?

Van De Hey: On sewing machinery, depending on the application, sewing is changing like other applications. Our focus here at C3 is around small changes about the application that create value. To create a better solution, we need to better understand current issues, sometimes sewing may not be the only answer. Methods of closing materials like socks and covers will change along with the overall designs.

BT: What are your customers asking for now? What are the key trends driving your business?

VDH: As we continue to experience up and down markets depending on the product being manufactured, C3 is seeing multiple forces pushing the mattress industry. First, our customers are demanding cost-cutting suggestions to become more efficient and effective in their production processes. Less materials, less labor, less energy, less waste, less dollars … Second, our customers are looking for opportunities to differentiate themselves in the market. Challenging every aspect of building a mattress in search of a differentiating value proposition for their consumer.

BT: What are some of the current challenges you are facing? And/or, are your customers facing?

VDH: It’s no secret the bedding industry has been challenged following the surge of bedding purchases during Covid-19. Overall demand, supply, labor has challenged nearly every manufacturer to be better than they were yesterday. Today, all aspects of supply, delivery, sku’s, etc. have gone through rapid and dynamic change — leaving the bedding manufacturers to control their costs while innovating around their mattress offerings. 

BT: How do your machines solve these issues?

VDH: One area is the total cost of ownership; we have a number of machines in the market over the last 15 years. Our job is making sure those machines are running more effectively. We have looked at the designs of the machines to make sure we have an upgrade path that evolves to tomorrow’s production needs. We’ve also developed machinery that allows us to tackle the very issues that are challenging the market today. C3’s patented hot melt glue design is challenging the market to think differently about how we use less glue for a bond that is equally as strong, and with our technology we can control where the hot melt is applied. Throw on labor and waste efficiencies and our lamination solution running at 200 feet per minute is the industry leader. We also have developed many new packaging options allowing us to address the excess waste generated by poor packaging applications.

BT: What question are we not asking that you would like to answer?

VDH: Often in a market like we’re experiencing, companies tend to get very focused to tackle the next cost problem on hand. I encourage everyone to balance our immediate short-term needs with what is best for our customers. “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity” — Albert Einstein. I feel C3 is uniquely positioned to provide holistic solutions that take your product from just a dream to reality that customers will buy.

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