5 Small Businesses 'Making It' in the USA
Art's Way Manufacturing(ARTW) manufactures and distributes farm machinery niche products to farmers and ranchers in the U.S. Its specialized products include animal feed processing equipment, land maintenance equipment, crop shredding equipment, round hay balers, plows and manure spreaders.
The company also has three subsidiaries: Art's Way Vessels, which manufactures pressurized tanks and vessels; Art's Way Scientific, which manufactures modular animal confinement buildings and modular laboratories, and through a recent acquisition of Universal Harvester, manufacturing of pick-up reels for combines and swathers.
The company has been in business for over 50 years after a local farmer developed a special grinder mixer. Grinder mixers are one of Art's Way Manufacturing's main products, according to its president and CEO Carrie Majeski.
"We're very proud to be an American company that makes American products for the farmers located in all rural areas. We think it's important to have communities here in the rural areas and to have jobs available," Majeski says.
Majeski, age 36, says manufacturing this type of large equipment abroad would not be conducive to shipping.
"We do have some international sales, but most of our sales are domestic," she says.
Majeski acknowledges that labor costs are more expensive. "I'm sure you can get much cheaper labor than we have here, but there is a lot of tribal knowledge that is here as well," she says. "We are a relatively small company. It's hard to transfer that tribal knowledge because we don't have the structure that larger companies have to make sure things are well documented. We rely on the employees we have."
Majeski says the company has also brought back home some component purchasing. One example is machine bearings. Some bearings didn't hold up well so the company returned to American-made bearings for its equipment.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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