13 Feb A McPherson County Success Story in International Exporting: Moridge Manufacturing
Approximately 44% of McPherson County 54 industrial businesses export. These companies have helped McPherson County grow to become the second most export-intensive county in the region; second only to Sedgwick County. According to a Brookings analysis of data McPherson county’s exports have grown 9.8% since 2008. The data also shows that about half of McPherson’s 4200 manufacturing jobs rely on export activity. Because so much of McPherson county’s economic prosperity relies on exports, the McPherson Industrial Development Company wants to make sure businesses in the county know about the resources available to help grow exports; no matter where a company is in their export plan (whether they are new to exports or experienced).
On February 8th, MIDC hosted their regularly scheduled “lunch and learn.” Presenting at this event was Ray Garvey, Export Manager for Moridge Manufacturing. Moridge has been doing business in McPherson County since 1958. They officially launched Grasshopper in 1969. They were the original manufacturers of the front mounted mower with interchangeable implements. Today, they have 44 models available three of which are for export only and not available in the U.S. Today; Grasshopper mowers can be found in 49 countries around the world. Over the years, Moridge has achieved several awards/recognition related to their success in international exporting, including:
- Export Achievement Award- World Trade Council-Wichita (2007)
- Best in Business- Wichita Business Journal (2008)
- 8 Wonders of Kansas Business Finalist- Kansas Sampler Foundation (2009
- Manufacturer of the Year- Society of Manufacturing Engineers, Wichita (2014)
- Dealers Choice Award-North American Equipment Dealers Association (2015 & 2016)
- Wichita Business Journal Cover Story (February 2016)
Garvey explained that deciding to do business internationally has helped them to:
- Increase Sales-95% of the world’s population is outside of the U.S.
- Bring outside money into the business and the community– they can continually invest and reinvest in their manufacturing process and also their community.
- Support Kansas jobs and higher wages– they work with suppliers throughout the world including 40 in Kansas, 100% of assembly is completed in Moundridge, and they work to promote employees from within.
- Make a better and more competitive product– because of more strict requirements abroad, Moridge has had to adapt their product to be able to sell overseas. Developing their product so that it complies with international standards has made the Grasshopper mower quieter, smoother and have a superior cut.
- Hedge against seasonal sales dips-when U.S. sales slow in the summer months, international sales in South America keeps them busy.
- Economies of scale: because Moridge sells more mowers, they can buy components in bulk at a lower cost and, therefore, price their product more competitively at home and abroad.
Garvey explained that there is risk involved in doing business internationally; however, businesses do not have to navigate the process alone. There are resources and partners available at the local, state and national levels to help businesses limit their risk and grow their company through exports. For Moridge, the benefits have surpassed the risk. Moridge will continue to position themselves for aggressive growth in international markets.
John Schott, Senior Director of Export Programs with Kansas Global was available that day as well to remind businesses about the resources available to them through Kansas Global, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Kansas Department of Commerce.
If your business is interested in learning more, contact us to help you arrange a meeting with our resource partners.