Above: In 2020, Cedric Cortez achieved 50 years of continuous service at our Wire Mill in Carthage, Missouri. Thank you Cedric for your dedication, commitment, and hard work.
Our primary concern has been and will always be ensuring the health and safety of employees and their families, along with our customers and suppliers. We quickly took steps to limit the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on our people and our operations.
In a matter of weeks, our employees completely redesigned the way we work while maintaining and even increasing productivity. We formed a cross-functional crisis response team to establish and implement new safety protocols across our businesses and to share best practices. We also found many ways to serve others and give back to our communities, which we have highlighted in the sidebars.
Ultimately, our employees navigated the challenges as a team, and we are a stronger company today because of their extraordinary efforts.
In just one week, Peterson Chemical Technology researched, developed formulas, obtained certification, and began producing hand sanitizer. PCT develops and produces specialty chemicals used to make foam.
In addition to being distributed within Leggett, the hand sanitizer has been donated to local schools, clinics, grocery stores, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.
Genesis Seating produced face masks for government and non-profit healthcare organizations. Genesis produces private label finished furniture for homes and offices.
At the onset of the pandemic, Hanes Fabrics donated fabric for thousands of face masks. Hanes is a converter and distributor of nonwoven fabrics.
Our teams had to think and act creatively to adjust our operating models as the pandemic created dramatic shifts in the markets we serve. Following steep market declines in late March, increased consumer spending on the home drove strong demand in our Bedding, Home Furniture, and Textiles businesses. We navigated production and supply chain constraints in our Bedding business as we worked to meet a strong surge in market demand.
We anticipated a long-term trend toward online sales of compressed mattresses when we acquired ECS in early 2019, and the pandemic accelerated that shift. Retailers and mattress brands have increased their compressed mattress offerings to include multiple options in both product construction and ways to buy. Our investment in ECS positioned us to participate in these market changes.
We remain focused on capturing strategic opportunities across our businesses and will continue to pursue initiatives most valuable to the Company’s future.
Our employees did a remarkable job focusing on working capital, especially customer collections and inventory management. These efforts coupled with market demand recovering sooner than expected benefited earnings and cash flow.
In conjunction with the sharp decrease in market demand early in the year, we significantly reduced fixed costs and capital expenditures. As demand returned, we only brought back costs and investments necessary to meet increasing volumes and to secure future growth opportunities. We also amended the covenant in our revolving credit agreement to provide additional liquidity.
As a result of these actions, we exited 2020 in a strong financial position, with a commitment to our long-held priority on balance sheet strength, dividend growth, and investment grade debt ratings
In just two months, Spühl constructed a machine that produces about 30,000 face masks per week for Leggett employees. Spühl produces wire forming equipment used to make innersprings.
By sourcing and ordering equipment such as face masks, disinfectants, gloves, and alcohol wipes, Corporate Procurement has helped to protect our essential workers with vital PPE.