October 24, 2006

Still Built on the Homefront

Timothy Aeppel:
While many U.S. manufacturers are decamping to greener, and cheaper, pastures overseas, Bobcat, a division of Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd., has found advantages sticking close to its North Dakota roots to build the little machines that, among other things, are used to clean barns, dig dirt and plow snow. Bobcat has exploited its location to keep a finger on the pulse of its core market of small landscaping and construction contractors, helping it quickly develop and ship products. Also, the company's rural setting, executives say, has bred the kind of culture where problems are solved with the can-do, make-do ethos of the farm.

"There are a lot of barriers any foreign producer has to overcome to give us a real challenge," says Richard F. Pedtke, the president of Ingersoll-Rand's compact vehicle division.

For example, the company usually can deliver any of the hundreds of attachments it sells for its machines to a customer within four days, a feat almost impossible and certainly costly for any company with long supply lines stretching overseas. And by keeping manufacturing, engineering, and marketing closely linked, with people in those roles sometimes living across the street from each other, the company is better able to anticipate how markets are shifting and find new applications for its machines, says Mr. Pedtke.
Posted by James Zellmer at October 24, 2006 8:27 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
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