BedTimes Interview: Michael Porter Jr., Vice President of Global Sales, United Mattress Machinery

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 Michael Porter Jr., vice president of sales for Delray Beach, Florida-based United Mattress Machinery, is the third 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.

Mike Porter Jr., vice president of global sales
Mike Porter Jr., vice president of global sales

BedTimes: What new sewing machines have you introduced that you would like to showcase?

Michael Porter Jr.: The UM-5000 flange machine has performed better than our highest expectations. We’ve sold around 200 UM-5000 machines since introducing the 5000 in 2020-2021, and the special PTP parts have performed incredibly well. Out of all the 5000’s we have sold, there have only been minimal spare parts aftermarket sales for loopers, spreaders, linkage parts and beams. And there has been pretty much $0 MRO costs for 5000 customers, which has led most customers to buying their second or third machine. The United UM-5000 is that good. Mike Porter Sr. was able to create a flange machine from the ground up — the complete design from scratch — without significant modifications, and of course, applying the aerospace heat treatment proprietary to the consumable parts (PTP) is going to change the aftermarket parts industry for sewing equipment.

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

Michael Porter Jr.: Customers have been asking for the 5000 flange machine with the automatic belt table to help deskill the flange sewing operation and also help maintain consistency with panel quality. The belt table allows beginner seamstresses to sew high-quality, consistent panels with less quality errors and reworking. 

Another machine that customers have been inquiring about, and we have sold a lot of, are the glue systems (hotmelt and water-base roll coat), because they eliminate glue guns. And like the belt table flange, they provide consistency throughout your glue production line with accurate and uniform amounts of glue applied to each product. United combines the glue bridge with our conveyor systems, and everything is designed per customer requirement like a tailor-made suit. The glue bridges paired with the conveyor system reduces employee headcount and increases your profit per mattress. United works closely with customers to deliver exactly what they want and need. Lastly, our glue system eliminates the need for hog rings, therefore reducing headcounts while increasing production efficiencies.

Customers also want to see machinery in a live showroom environment, so we have been hosting a ton of customers at the United showroom in North Florida, which is also a Spring Air licensee. All OEMs have videos for their equipment, but they are all in a closed non-production environment. Customers can come and see all the United machinery in a live production environment where they are producing 500-700 mattresses per day.

Finally, customers seek a USA-based service and support team.

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

Michael Porter Jr.: Hiring and keeping knowledgeable experienced sewing machine technical people. This is a reason why customers love the UM-5000 flange machine: It requires minimal maintenance, almost zero MRO, so you don’t need to tinker with the machine like you do with some other flange machines out there — never mind the spare parts replenishment lists that can be $200 to $2,000 per machine every couple of months. Crazy unnecessary money is spent on spare parts for flange machines, but not with the United UM-5000.

BT: How do your machines solve these issues?

Michael Porter Jr.: Our special proprietary PTP spare parts process; we treat all United sewing equipment with it, but mainly the flange machine, because that takes the most beating in the sewing room and has the highest aftermarket spare parts purchases. When we first thought of the PTP concept, we thought we could have the parts like loopers and spreaders, which wear out every month or couple months, last up to six to nine months; that was the original goal.

But what we are seeing two years down the sales pipeline is that the parts have been lasting two-plus years, and the really pricey spare parts like beams and linkages, we don’t think will ever wear out. The PTP process is anti-friction, anti-wear, and has far exceeded expectations. So our spare parts sales for the 5000’s are crazy low, almost nothing. Mike Porter Sr. knew that he wanted to introduce the best flange machine in the world … so we did that through a new flanger that gets the highest needle height in the market and can also sew thin 3/8” panels, and also doesn’t require spare parts replacement.

The spare parts don’t sound that amazing, but over time customers will pay more for spare parts replacements than they did for the actual machine itself. So other flange machines on the market, when customers are considering buying those and not the 5000, consider that they will pay the same amount or more for spare parts over the next 10 years as they are for the machine itself. 

Glue systems: The glue bridges paired with the conveyor system reduces employee headcount and increases profit per mattress and saves a ton of money on glue costs (up to 75% versus using manual glue guns).

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

Michael Porter Jr.: At United Mattress Machinery, we offer a complete “Manufacturing Operations Flow System” layout design … we are the only ones in the industry that offer this service to our customers. We do not only sale quality production equipment, but we also design your complete production process at your facility to have better WIP materials flow to ensure all material flow through the factory as efficient as possible.

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