AIS 2020 Sales & Year in Review
AIS Reinforces Commitment to Dealers through Challenging Pandemic Year with Agile Programs and Products; Company Sales Reach $212 Million in 2020
AIS, a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and seating, today announced 2020 sales of $212 million. As BIFMA recorded an overall NA industry orders decrease of 23.4%, AIS was able to minimize impact with a reduction of just 5.8% in sales from 2019. AIS exceeded market performance through its continued commitment to dealers with an enhanced focus on expanded product breadth, speed to market, superior customer service and affordability. Deemed as an Essential Employer, AIS remained open in Massachusetts and was able to swiftly pivot to produce relevant products during the COVID-19 pandemic and establish a national philanthropic program called Sew the Masks.
Built on a foundation of stewardship, AIS gave back more than $3.5 million to communities across the country through charitable donations and activities.
“Over the past three decades with a great deal of effort and ingenuity, we’ve evolved from a startup furniture refurbishing company to a major office furniture designer and manufacturer – always placing our dealers first and supporting their customers and their businesses. I am so proud of our team’s hard work throughout 2020. We stayed focused on our dealer partners and it’s clear that made a difference. Another year awaits us and as we move past the difficulties of the pandemic, we’ll continue to keep our dealers’ needs at the forefront,” AIS President and CEO Bruce Platzman said.
AIS is one of the country’s top manufacturers of commercial office furniture and one of the largest manufacturers in the state of Massachusetts. Its dealer-centric focus and network extends across North America. The company has earned acclaim for product design, lean manufacturing and sustainability across the industry.
AIS employs nearly 800 people – with more than 157 hired in 2020 alone. Most employees work at the company’s 600,000 square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility in Leominster, Massachusetts with additional remote workers scattered across the county supporting a variety of corporate teams. AIS is the largest employer and manufacturer in Leominster, and one of the largest employers in traditional manufacturing in the state of Massachusetts. More than 250 women work at AIS’s Leominster location, and more than 30 countries are represented in the employee population.
Investments in updated and expanded headquarters showroom, new products and tools
In 2020, AIS expanded its permanent Leominster headquarters showroom by 40%. Open year round, the company added a new seating section and new products, refreshed displays and installed a Colors/Materials/Finishes center. The updated two-story showroom features an array of AIS products and is a total of 6,000 square feet. The company had renovated its showrooms in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2018 and expanded its Chicago showroom in 2019.
AIS launched several new products and tools in 2020, including:
– Calibrate® Community, a spine-based desking/benching system that supports a variety of community spaces to meet the needs of individuals and teams
– Quick-ship home office program, featuring the E Series height adjustable table, a Bolton™ Express (Mid-Back) Task Chair and an optional monitor arm
– Largely expanded Screens program featuring a range of materials + styles and thousands of SKUs to help with social distancing
– A refreshed Divi Fast Track Program with new colors, materials and finishes and a faster lead time
– Calibrate Table launches including a 5-Piece Table and Calibrate Series Telescoping Height Adjustable Executive Desk
– Laptop Table in a variety of colors and finishes
– Expanded seating portfolio to feature Auburn™ Conference and Executive Seating line, Devens Side Chair, a conference arm on the Upton Chair, and extensions to the LB Lounge seating line, including an LB Corner Unit and LB Ledge
– CET Designer Extension
– Refreshed colors, materials and finishes program with over 70 new Grade A and B options available
“While 2020 was a difficult year for all of us, our teams continued listening to our dealers and supporting them in every possible way. We strategically introduced products and programs designed to help our dealers navigate the new realities,” said Executive Vice President of Product Development Bill Stewich. “AIS is steadfast in building upon our breadth of products to meet the widest range of customer needs. Our portfolio has relevantly expanded and now includes panel systems, beam and benching/desking systems, laminate casegoods and reception, tables and conferencing, storage, seating, screens, worktools and accessories.”
Product pivot and giving back during COVID-19 pandemic
In March 2020, AIS was designated an Essential Employer in Massachusetts. Through this designation, the company’s commitment was to keep all factory workers and office teams employed. AIS continued to manufacture and ship office furniture products to support the efficacy of hospitals and medical suppliers, biotech firms, local, state and federal agencies, IT firms and other critical providers throughout the crisis. In addition, AIS pivoted its focus to rapidly develop and produce glass and Lexan™ screens to help contain and stop the spread of COVID-19 as states reopened and employees returned to work. Screens were prioritized in accelerated product development and produced in a converted section of the company’s Leominster factory. The screens can be easily designed into new spaces or retrofitted into existing installations to support an organization’s COVID-19 response strategies. To date AIS has manufactured and shipped over 150,000 screens for customers around the country.
The company’s philanthropic nature also led AIS to help in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. Using premium materials, AIS dedicated a team of factory employees to make high-quality facemasks for employees and first responders in their community. In May 2020, the company established the nationwide Sew the Masks initiative based on Rosie the Riveter (the WWII icon) in partnership with the United Way of North Central Massachusetts. AIS activated internal production lines and nearly 1,000 volunteer ‘Rosies’ in 45 states to produce masks at their home sewing machines for donation and distribution to frontline workers and other people in need.
Through its partnership with the United Way and with the help of nationwide sponsors, AIS has been donating facemasks for the past 10 months to non-profit organizations in almost 50 states. To date, AIS and its corporate sponsor partners have donated and distributed more than 600,000 facemasks to organizations across the United States. Recipients of the masks include homeless shelters, food pantries, schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, veterans’ organizations, polling offices in Massachusetts and Washington, DC, animal shelters, and more. For more information on the program, visit www.sewthemasks.com.
The value of the AIS’s facemask donation exceeds $3 million.
In 2020, AIS received the Boston Business Journal’s Corporate Citizenship Award for its work with charitable organizations and community causes for the second year in a row.
Additionally, MassEcon named AIS a Local Impact Corporate Hero in recognition of how the company responded to the pandemic. AIS was one of 10 Massachusetts companies honored in the virtual awards ceremony in November.
AIS products also have been honored with Best of NeoCon awards, Office Furniture Dealer Alliance (OFDA) Dealers’ Choice awards, and the company is a Shingo Prize winner.
AIS, headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, is a leading manufacturer of commercial office furniture and boasts one of the most impressive stories of growth and success in the furniture industry. Founded in 1989, the company is known for offering market-relevant, feature-rich product lines that entice designers and support the diverse needs of end-users while offering exceptional value. AIS is an innovator that leads the industry in sustainable, lean manufacturing, lead-time performance and manufacturing flexibility. The Boston Business Journal has twice recognized AIS – in 2019 and 2020 – with its Corporate Citizenship Award. AIS has permanent showrooms at its Leominster headquarters and in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. With locations across the U.S., AIS has more than 800 employees and over 1 million square feet of office, showroom and factory space. For more information, visit www.ais-inc.com.