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How Ori Products Go From Raw Materials to Transforming Spaces

Andrew Littlefield
The inside of a large warehouse, where Ori products are held before shipping to apartments in the US and Canada.

Arthur Romagnoli has seen it all in his career.

Ori’s director of materials is a seasoned veteran when it comes to manufacturing and engineering, having worked at large international firms and small startups alike. Now, he oversees a global supply chain that sees raw materials become robotic, transforming spaces in cities all across the country.

We sat down with Romagnoli to talk about his career, the Ori supply chain, and how all these things come together to create Smart Spaces.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Arthur Romagnoli, I'm the director of materials at Ori.

My undergrad was in mechanical engineering, but I learned pretty quickly that bad engineers turn into managers. So I went back and received an MBA.

Across my career, I've been involved with running entire companies, I've been involved with running small departments within companies, I've been with the Raytheons of the world, and I've been with $10 million a year in revenue type of companies.

I enjoy working at the smaller companies more—you get to know the people that you work with, you get to touch the product, and you get to make an impact.

Walk me through the Ori supply chain—where do all these materials come from?

We have three buckets of suppliers: furniture, electronics, and mechanics. All the furniture components on Ori systems—the panels, drawers, etc—consist of plywood that comes from Spain and is pre-laminated with Italian HLP (high pressure laminate). These items are cut to size and prepared by our partners at Orion Red in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

Our electronic components are manufactured by our partners at Lightspeed Manufacturing in Haverhill, Massachusetts. These systems consist of PCBAs (printed circuit board assembly) and complete kits that include wiring harnesses, the famous Ori Square, laser assemblies and guidance systems.Our mechanical components come from two manufacturers—Kalow in Vermont and Lippert Manufacturing, which is in Goshen, Indiana.

A machine cuts wood to be made into Ori products like the Cloud Bed or Pocket Office

What should customers know about the quality of components used in Ori products?

There are always opportunities to go with lower cost options, but we’re more concerned with quality than we are low costs. Our hardware comes from Germany—we could save money by sourcing it from China, but we have concerns about the quality of those suppliers. Similarly, we source our lumber from Spain. That could be sourced domestically, but European poplar is known for its quality features that you can’t find in North American poplar.

Of course, we want our products to be affordable too, so we work closely with our partners and suppliers to find a balance between offering the highest quality possible for an affordable price.

How do you go about picking suppliers for Ori?

The most important thing with selecting suppliers is finding partners—companies that share the vision of Ori, can appreciate the direction we're trying to go in as a company, can move fast, and grow with us as we get into larger and larger projects.

Orion Red, for example, has been with us since day one. They’re a solid partner with modern equipment. They even help us with the design of our products to find ways we can be more efficient in manufacturing and distribution.

All our partners are either ISO (the International Standards Organization)-certified or at least follow the ISO standards that help ensure a certain level of quality and reliability. We also look for partners that practice lean manufacturing so that they can be as nimble as we need to be as a startup company.

How do all these different pieces come together and get delivered to client projects around the country?

One of our key suppliers is a 3PL company called Crane Logistics. They have a nationwide footprint with warehousing and handle all our logistics from trucking to warehousing. We stage our product near the install site through Crane’s system. They do our order fulillment through their warehouse management software that we're tied into. All I have to do is drop an order with our high-level SKUs, and they know which parts to pick for a given project.

Hands soldering a circuit board to be used in Ori products like the Cloud Bed or Pocket Office

Speaking personally, what do you enjoy most about working at Ori?

First of all, it’s a really cool product!

Owning the supply chain and materials from the beginning to the point that it lands on a project job site excites me. It's the type of thing that I know I can make an impact on and makes me want to get out of bed every morning.

Beyond that, the team here at Ori is unbeatable. When I first interviewed, one of the things I said to Hasier [Larrea, Ori’s CEO] was that I wanted to have fun at my job, and I can safely say that every day has been super fun.

A forklift moves material in a warehouse