I believe in unicorns. They exist.
Perhaps not in the form of lovely golden-horned, horse-bodied winged beasts with flowing rainbow manes – but instead in the form of the amazing innovations of humanity. I have seen it at other companies and I have seen it happen time and again at Comfort Research.
I often give tours at Comfort Research and joke with the touree that on this part of the tour that they in fact are looking at a unicorn. I believe that unicorns are more than just innovations. Unicorns are what was once thought to be impossible. They are the combination of attributes that you didn’t believe could be delivered together. It is the attributes you thought you had to choose between.
We believe and embrace the unicorns. That embracing and believing in the unicorn is what makes them come to life in the first place. It starts with believing.
Sometimes unicorns are products. Our journey at CR was one that started with a simple unicorn: The Big Joe Fuf Chair (and innovation that led to countless others). Sometimes unicorns are people. In manufacturing, sometimes they are pieces of equipment:
Back in 2011, we were making our product in the same way most other competitors were – using a specific piece of equipment. The problem was, we had grown so much that our operations now required 18 of these machines which took up 15,000 square feet of our building. They had to be running around the clock in order to meet demand.
That didn’t seem like the best choice, but everyone told us it was the only way to manufacture our chairs.
We chose not to believe the skeptics, and went on a unicorn hunt.
The journey took nearly a year but whoa – it was worth it! We helped We helped design a machine that simultaneously:
increased our capacity,
reduced our cost,
took 1/30th the amount of space, and …
increased our quality.
That seems like something that should never happen. Usually you’re lucky if you can find a solution that gives you two of those things, but to get all 4? – Boom! Unicorn!
This particular unicorn journey started by asking the question, ‘Why not?’ Many more ‘Why not’s?’ were asked along the way. That is one of the many reasons why our team finds unicorns, they just keep asking ‘Why not?’ and they believe.
By asking why not countless times and not taking the conventional path we were able to find a solution that we were told was impossible.
What do you do once you have a unicorn? …look for another one! They are out there. They do exist. You just need to believe.