‘Lippert Interiors’ Expansion is in Full Swing
Lippert Components Inc. (LCI) marked a major milestone today (July 21) in a move that has long-term implications for the company.
The supplier hired a helicopter to install nine air-conditioning units on the roof of its new, 490,000-square-foot facility in Goshen, Ind.
When the facility opens at the end of the fourth quarter, it will bring all operations of the Lippert Interiors division under one roof, Ryan Smith, vice president of Lippert Interiors, told RVBUSINESS.com.
“It’s seen explosive growth,” Smith said of the division, and LCI in general, which is also in the process of retooling an expansive leased facility in South Bend, Ind., that will house aftermarket, customer service, dealer relations teams and its publication group. “I’m looking forward to the efficiencies we’re going to pick up for the customers. We’ll be able to provide superior product, superior quality.”
The building is in the midst of a complete refurbishment, work that started late in the first quarter of the year.
“We still have a lot of machinery coming in from Italy,” said Jeff Few, vice president of automation and manufacturing for LCI. “This building should handle us for about five years, and we’ve got acreage to expand.”
In the middle of the building is a mezzanine — soon to be air conditioned — that will provide 90,000 square feet in space for sewing operations and mattress storage. “It’s bigger than some factories,” Few pointed out. Indeed, it’s nearly two-thirds the size of the existing Lippert Interiors facility in Goshen.
LCI, a subsidiary of publicly traded Drew industries Inc. and the industry’s largest OEM component supplier, hopes to use the air-conditioned sewing space as a competitive advantage in attracting sewing personnel, Few said. “It’s hard to do, but with an air-conditioned mezzanine, bathrooms up there, and all-new equipment, we hope they’ll apply,” he said.
Once Lippert Interiors moves, its current building will house the combined research and development, engineering and manufactured-systems teams, Few said. “We’ll have a task room, we can solve the problems collectively. That’s going to be a big renovation,” he said.