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Kuka combines stationary, motion businesses

HIGH POINT — Motion seating resource K-Motion and stationary upholstery vendor Kuka Home have combined into one business unit under the name Kuka North America.

The newly combined business unit will cover the United States, Canada and Mexico, and it includes all product categories including motion upholstery, stationary upholstery, beds, accent chairs, dining and ottomans.

Berton Chen will lead the new entity as president of Kuka North America. Rain Jim takes over as vice president and will be responsible for and supervise marketing, supply chain and quality support.

Steve Lush has been promoted to president of Kuka Furniture Inc. from president of the former Kuka Home USA stationary division and reports to Berton Chen. Kuka Furniture Inc. is the official corporate name for Kuka North America.

Justin Smith has been promoted from executive vice president of Kuka Home USA to executive vice president of Kuka North America; and Matt Harrison also has been promoted from vice president of sales for K-Motion to executive vice president of Kuka North America. Both report to Lush.

Chip Vanderford has been promoted to vice president of sales for the combined company from vice president of sales for the former Kuka Home stationary upholstery division.

“We feel that combining these two previously separate business units into one will result in a more streamlined and efficient organization,” Lush said in a release. “We are committed to creating products with outstanding style and quality, delivered fast and backed by outstanding service. This new structure will help us achieve these goals even better than before.”

In a phone interview, Lush said the move creates economies of scale in terms of shared purchasing, research development and product design, sales administration and customer service that will not only increase efficiency, but also improve Kuka’s servicing of retail accounts. Lush cited a combined sales force as one example.

“These were treated as two separate companies in the past,” he said. “A great number of our reps already have both lines, and we’re working to make that the norm.”

In addition, Kuka North America will show a new face at furniture markets, combining stationary and motion upholstery in a single showroom. April High Point Market will be the last event with separate showrooms.

“Our plan, starting in July at Las Vegas Market, is to combine into one showroom,” Lush said. “We feel this will be easier and more convenient for our customers and our sales reps, and will lead to a more powerful and cohesive presentation” at furniture markets.
He added that a large crossover of Kuka stationary and motion customers already exists. “That was one of the major factors in our decision to combine” into a single business unit, Lush noted.

Kuka Home, based in Hangzhou, China, designs and manufactures upholstered furniture, operating six upholstery factories and more 4,000 than company-owned and -franchised retail stores worldwide.



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