Need for speedy shipping in the office furniture business
Hayworth emphasizes the need for speedy shipping. Furniture manufacturing plants were once located next to train tracks for this reason, until they began using trucks. He remembers how hard it could be to convince employees of this need for speed.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with David R. Hayworth, February 6, 1997. Interview I-0099. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
What were the plants of Myrtle
Desk here in High Point? Where were they located?
- DAVID R. HAYWORTH:
Well, they were located very near Alma Desk Company's main
number one plant. Oh, you know, Southern Railroad—most plants
in the old days were built along the railroad, because that's
the way you shipped your furniture. Nowadays, almost—well, I
don't think anything is shipped by rail—office
furniture, and probably not household, either. I can't
directly speak to that, but many years ago we converted to trucks
because it was so much quicker, faster. As I say, that's
something that's so critical in the office furniture
industry; you've got to have the furniture there when the
customer needs it. If you don't, all hell breaks out.
It's just that simple. That's a lesson to some
people that they have a hard time learning, but it's so
elementary. And if you just stop and think a minute, you can see how
critical it is. You may not get your sofa when you want it, but
that's not life or death. But boy, if your furniture
isn't there and you've got fifty employees ready
to get moved into their desks, church is out.
- DOROTHY GAY DARR:
That could be a costly mistake.
- DAVID R. HAYWORTH:
That's right. A costly mistake. So we tried to always avoid
that, needless to say. And sometimes your own employees
didn't realize how critical that was. Mother
had—many years ago I remember when she first had to go down
to Hayworth Roll and Panel Company to save that company from
bankruptcy—which would have happened; it was just a matter of
time. She realized when she got into things the mismanagement and the
fact that there was no business anyway in the Depression years. But she
had such a hard time convincing the people there how important it was to
get the plywood when the customer needed it, even though it was
household. You see, they had a cutting line that was a
certain—say a bedroom suit of furniture, for example. Well,
they had to have the plywood, and they have to have it on this day; not
tomorrow or next week or Friday, right now, today.
And she just used to get so exasperated that the people in the plant
couldn't seem to quite conceive of how important that is or
was. Fortunately, she had sense enough to know it was. Thank God.