By Liz White, UT staffArchdale, North Carolina-Leading US mattress producer Sealy Inc. warned 6 Oct that its production schedules are likely to be temporarily disrupted since polyurethane foam supply will be affected by current TDI (toluene diisocyanate) shortages.The recent hurricanes caused “extensive damage” to Gulf Coast petrochemicals facilities that supply TDI, an essential raw material for the polyurethane foam used in the majority of Sealy’s bedding products, the firm’s announcement said, “As a result,” claims Sealy, “there is a temporary foam shortage that will affect North American manufacturers in the mattress, furniture, and automobile seating industries.” Sealy said in response it is* Working closely with suppliers, customers and its entire manufacturing system to minimise disruption to our business;* Leveraging global business relationships to source foam product from its partners; and* Refocusing its US and Canadian plant to most effectively produce orders for customers.The mattress maker said it intends to produce and ship all Sealy brands on a normal order cycle. But it cautioned that “spot foam supply shortages in specific plants may disrupt daily or weekly production schedules for the near future.”Sealy’s ability to respond to market conditions and challenges … our value to our customers is our ability to adjust our production schedules and direct product orders to meet demand,” said David McIlquham, Sealy’s president and chief executive officer, in the company statement. “The industry allocation of foam over the next several weeks will affect our just-in-time manufacturing output in the US and Canada,” commented Mike Hofmann, senior vice president of operations, reiterating Sealy’s plan to tackle the situation in close cooperation with customers and suppliers. Sealy’s statement indicated that, the “full duration and extent of the TDI shortage remains unknown,” but said it believes the steps taken will minimise the impact on Sealy’s customers and its business. The firm added that cannot at present quantify any potential adverse impact this disruption may have on its operations.Sealy has also committed $1 million in cash and product donations to the American Red Cross to support the disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina. Given the immense devastation and toll on human lives, Sealy said it believes the combination of cash and products will provide valuable aid to the area.Sealy claims to be the largest bedding manufacturer in the world, and the leading bedding company in Canada, with 30 manufacturing plants in the US, Canada, France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico. “
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