Wesley Allen finds new opportunities with made-in-America story
LOS ANGELES — Iron beds and dining set manufacturer Wesley Allen is touting its domestic capabilities as Asian manufacturers struggle to keep up with demand, particularly due to supply chain disruptions expected with the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The worldwide crisis of the coronavirus has disrupted business flow globally,” the company said in an email to its customers. “Fewer cargo ships from China are docking at ports, and many factories located in China have stopped or slowed production. … Wesley Allen is proud to say 80% of our products are produced in the U.S. We have been running a vertical operation for more than 43 years. Wesley Allen can and will continue to delivery our great products. With no disruptions.”
The Feb. 28 email blast followed a recent presentation that one of the company’s sales reps had at an upper-end dealer. Before the presentation, the dealer reportedly let the sales staff in attendance know that several of its key vendors were delaying some deliveries expected from Asia in March or April to as late as August.
That said, the rep started to tout Wesley Allen’s domestic capabilities. According to company President Victor Sawan, he ended up speaking about the line and answering questions for about an hour and a half, far longer than the rep originally intended.
“They wouldn’t let him go,” Sawan said of the rep’s presentation.
This created an opportunity for Wesley Allen to tell its story to more of the industry at large. “We always mention made in the U.S., but we don’t make such a big deal of it,” he said. “On this particular day, it created a big opening, so we made a big deal about it.”
Actually, Sawan noted, as much as 90% of its mix is made at its plant in Los Angeles. The main material it gets from China includes some chrome or bronze-plated metal materials used in the finished product.
“But that is a miniscule part of our business; we don’t worry about it now,” he said, noting that most materials it imports, it can produce on its own.
“We get tubing from California, and all of our metal comes from California,” he said. “Anything we get from China, we can reproduce domestically.”
Combined with its level of automation, this allows the factory to produce goods in an efficient and timely manner, which has helped business of late, with December and January being particularly strong months.
“We have been automating aggressively for the past few years,” Sawan said of the company’s investment in equipment. “That helps us tremendously. Our business has been growing. We have not been standing still.”
Sawan noted that since the email went out, the company also has received many new inquiries, which the company hopes ultimately will result in even more orders in the near future.