What’s happening: Compass Sleep Products in Greenville, Florida, has launched an on-site Parts & Repair Center to address the nationwide need for large-scale equipment repair and maintenance in the bedding and apparel industries.
Focused on repair, maintenance and installation of both new and used sewing and quilting machines, the Compass Parts & Repair Center is led by Walter Herrington, general manager, a certified repair specialist with 45 years of experience, who has long traveled the country servicing large-scale equipment, most recently with H2 Machine Works.
“As one of the last practitioners of his craft, Walter is in constant demand by leading bedding manufacturers who depend on his expertise to keep their operations running smoothly,” says Ricky Riley, chief executive officer of Compass Sleep Products. “We have been very lucky to have him on-site to assist us with installation and maintenance as we began production at Compass Sleep Products. Now we have opened a centralized, 12,000-square-foot repair center to support other manufacturers, fully equipped with the tools necessary to do any job, and outfitted with easily accessible doors for safe load and unload of incoming and outbound equipment.”
Why it matters: According to Herrington, technological advances on the specialized equipment side continue at a rapid pace, but the workforce of experienced certified technicians necessary to maintain the equipment is aging just as quickly.
“Resources are depleting, and the wait times typically associated with repairs when equipment breaks down is hurting production in factories across the country,” he says.
To address the issue, Herrington partnered with Carlton “Ray” Redmond in 2020 to found H2 Machine Works, which quickly grew into the leading repair option in the industry for sewing machine repairs, equipment moves, equipment purchasing and installation, and general plant maintenance.
Both specialists now work through Compass Parts & Repair at rates well below industry average of $120 per hour plus freight and parts, performing repairs on-site and traveling the country for in-person consultations and projects. They are also working to pass on their extensive knowledge, via a dedicated classroom space in the Compass facility.
“Our goal is to provide centralized training and continuing education to develop the next generation of technicians within our industry,” Herrington says. “Starting this fall, plants across the country will have an opportunity to send us their people for intensive one-week training sessions scheduled four times a year. We’re also in the process of building a website to enable remote training sessions and equipment evaluations on a subscription basis. Obviously, the ability to evaluate machinery and guide repairs remotely avoids shipping costs and shortens lost production time.”
According to Riley, the Parts & Repair Center is placing special focus on “certain types of older equipment that is often overlooked, machines that the major equipment suppliers are less inclined to repair because they want bedding manufacturers to purchase new models. We know there are a lot of people in need, who buy a machine and run it until they can’t keep it going themselves. They don’t know who to call so it sits idle. We can help.”