Farm Company Expands, Another Starts a Club

Farmer Iron

Kuhn investment in tillage tool maker Krause is a good sign; Miller Electric starts a club for welder owners.

Published on: March 28, 2012

This week we're picking through the ol' in-box and have found a couple of items of note.

First, Kuhn Krause announced this week that it is expanding its Hutchinson, Kan., manufacturing facility. The $5 million investment includes a new 70,000-square foot "high bay" building expansion along with new machinery.

The company says the expansion will complement "other investments made in 2011…and constitutes yet another major commitment by the Kuhn Group to manufacture and distribute high-quality agricultural equipment products in North America." It's a great sign that the new owners are making the investment. The release also notes the new structure will improve manufacturing capacity and enhance the use of lean manufacturing techniques.

Of course that's corporate speak for more just-in-time parts and inventory management, which more farmers are doing every day as well. The key these days is not to tie up too much money in idle iron, but to have a flow of parts going onto an assembly line and finished goods going out the door and on to dealers with no visible piles anywhere. That means no piles of parts waiting to be used (except a reasonable amount of repair parts) and now finished equipment stacking up either.

While the economy has remained sluggish, the cost of materials hasn't. These lean manufacturing techniques are aimed at maximizing a company's use of capital.

Kuhn Group bought Krause in May 2011, it's good news the investment continues.

Club Members Sought

If you own a Miller Electric Mfg., welder, the company wants you…to join a new owner's club. The new Miller Owners Club aims to provide a personalized experience for members who visit a new website. Don't rush to join unless you already own a Miller welder, but if you do, have at it.

Owners are asked to complete an online profile offering information specific to your welder, applications and interests. In return, you get enhanced access to product reviews, news and special events, how to info and welding tips and project ideas. In addition, owners will get special offers including a free set of Miller decals with signup…while supplies last of course.

The affinity idea isn't new, just check your wallet for all the different clubs you might already be part of from grocery stores to drug stores, airlines to sporting goods retailers, you can be part of some points-gathering group. For Miller, getting more information about what you own and how you use it has value. For you, there's value in the potential for helping be part of a club where owners may someday have input into future new products.

This two-way data exchange is going to become more common in the future. If you own a Miller welder visit owners.millerwelds.com for more information. No word if there will be a secret handshake or other handy club amenities.