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Harden Reorganizes Sales Management

By Home Furnishings Business in on February 2006 By Powell Slaughter

Case goods manufacturer and importer Harden Manufacturing has set up a new level of regional sales management with twin goals of stronger support for its sales network and more personalized service for its dealer base.

Lee Scott, formerly national sales manager, has been promoted to vice president of sales and will oversee three regional managers in addition to managing Harden's representatives in the southwestern United States.

Reporting to Scott are Danielle Grimes, sales manager for the Southeast region; Doug Pickard, Northeast and the Carolinas; and Brett Tilley, Midwest region.

Grimes recently joined Harden from promotional case goods manufacturer Higdon Furniture, where she had been national sales manager. Doug Pickard is another recent addition at Harden – he comes from Brown Jordan, where he was vice president of the outdoor manufacturer's division targeting home furnishings retailers. Tilley had spent a year in Harden's intern program, which develops recent college graduates for management positions in the company.

At this week's Tupelo market, Harden Mfg. CEO Craig Smith explained the reasons for the new sales management structure.

"When you have 42 sales representatives across the country, it's hard for one (manager) to get around to visit all our customers with them," Smith said. "We wanted to give each region a more personal touch. Our company has always been about service, and we felt that adding this new management level will improve that service."

Each regional manager has about eight sales representative reports.

"That means they can spend two or three weeks a year on the road with each rep and spend more time with our dealers," Smith said. "It gives our reps someone they can turn to at the factory who's really focused on their accounts."

In addition, Harden's in-house customer service personnel now support specific territories.

"This way our in-house customer-service group takes more ownership of each account," Smith said.

Developing new talent is a priority at Harden, and Tilley is the first graduate of an internship program that takes new college graduates with management potential through all aspects of the company. Before joining Harden, Tilley graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where he also played baseball, not far from the manufacturer's Haleyville, Ala., headquarters.

"We have another young man in training through the program, but he's a year away from taking a management position," Smith said.

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