Lily Tomlin once said, “the road to success is always under construction.”
Looking back from where we are now, it’s hard to believe that our story began 70 years ago as a humble upstart in a town bustling with woodworkers, driven by the vision of a man who found his start pushing a broom.
Our founder’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to seek growth and a new future. From television cabinets to pianos, and electronics to furniture, an eye to the future and the courage to evolve is what kept the heart of our business beating and succeeding throughout the years.
When technology and trends changed, we expanded our offerings to marry the demands of the market with the skills of our people. It was that foresight and fortitude that helped us become a world-class design company with market-leading brands. Today, the Kimball International family proudly creates design-driven, innovative furnishings sold through a diverse portfolio of solutions for the workplace, learning, healing, and hospitality environments through the Kimball, National, and Kimball Hospitality brands.
Nurturing what makes us strong will always be our way. While our products are built to last, the care we keep can outlast anything. That’s why we plant seeds and opportunities, to support the people and places that help us thrive.
Recently, new seeds have been sewn within our Kimball International family. With the retirement of Bob Schneider last October, we welcomed Kristie Juster as the new CEO of Kimball International. With over 20 years of experience as a Global Executive at Newell Brands, Kristie has driven significant growth for the businesses she has led and has a proven track record of scaling growth strategies, while preserving the core values that are critical to the long-term sustainability of a business.
After studying our business extensively, Kristie found that there was tremendous opportunity for Kimball International to streamline the businesses to deliver tomorrow's ambition – all while keeping focus on today's results. Building upon groundwork done by Bob Schneider, Kristie and the executive leadership team recently announced a transformation plan for our organization as part of a comprehensive Kimball International Connect Strategy to unlock our fullest potential by connecting our purpose, people and processes.
“I am honored and excited to lead Kimball International, which has such a rich history and compelling opportunities for strategic growth,” Kristie Juster expressed. “Our next chapter will leverage our entrepreneurial background, our love of design and creativity, and a passion for customer service and employee empowerment.”
The transition plan is designed to optimize growth, improve efficiency, and build capabilities across the organization that will establish a more cost-efficient structure to better align operations with long-term strategic goals. It enables the power of our people and positions our organization to engage at higher levels of collaboration and interdependence.
So far in this transformation, Kimball International unveiled a reinvigorated Purpose to employees, and is investing in training, technology and systems to remain an employer of choice and a great place to work. The creation of center-led functions such as Finance, HR, IT, Legal and Supply Chain were just completed to reduce duplication, deliver efficiencies, and drive consistency.
Most importantly to our customers, each of the brands are continuing to advance new product development, selectively expanding verticals and channels including healthcare and e-commerce, and driving commercial excellence. We want to be our customers’ first choice for shaping places that bring collaboration, discovery, wellness and relaxation to life.
In a year’s time, this is a tremendous amount of change. But as our founders did before us, we are seizing the moment in making critical junctures in this journey of our business. Our founder’s ambition made us who we are, and it’s now our time to find the founder within us all. And become the makers that make so much more.