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j. raymond gerken

Raymond Gerken's (b.1902 d.1984) leadership role in the furniture industry began in 1934 and continued as he successfully led Norwalk Furniture through the depression and World War II.

His major contributions to the industry include: the development in the 1950s of a componentized manufacturing process and factory scheduling system, and his own delivery fleet of trucks that allowed Norwalk to offer consumers more than 100,000 selections in chair and sofa styles and fabrics ... all available in just 30 days. This is a widely adopted industry practice today.

In the early 1960s Gerken pioneered a comprehensive testing program which enabled Norwalk to offer the protection of a fabric warranty as part of its product warranty. Many of the testing methods he developed have been adapted for industry use by the "Joint Industry Fabric Standards Committee."

Gerken pioneered the standardization of rails in upholstered frames so that they could be cut to maximize the yield of frame parts and reduce manufacturing costs.

As president of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers in 1963-64, he pushed for an industry-wide "Seal of Integrity" program. An endless quest for better manufacturing led to Gerken's development of a conveyorized sewing room where he developed manufacturing technology that is widely used in the industry today.