Surveying the outside of Crary® Industries, Inc., an equipment manufacturer in West Fargo, one can measure the success of the company by its changing rooflines. When Crary Industries first began to grow, they added another section onto the building. The more products Crary Industries built and sold, the more they added on, until they arrived at the current structure with its varied rooflines housing over 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The site is now home to a multitude of product lines, including Crary Ag, ECHO Bear Cat® and LOCKWOOD®, which are manufactured, assembled and tested on site, then shipped all over the world. The company credits its growth to surrounding itself with good people.
Reinhold Delzer began the business as Delzer Machine Shop, a manufacturer of combine attachments for harvesting sunflower seeds. When Delzer’s health began to fail, he sold the shop to Chuck and Joe Crary, neither of whom had any experience in manufacturing. When Delzer passed away, the community rallied around the small business, with NDSU students designing and drafting equipment, MSUM students helping with marketing and advertising and members of the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) assisting with purchasing and management.
The efforts worked and the small steel building in West Fargo with little heat and no running water slowly turned itself into the sprawling structure it is today. Crary Industries has three primary branches – Crary Ag, ECHO Bear Cat and LOCKWOOD.
Each branch has multiple product lines, with Crary focusing on ag equipment that maximizes farmer profitability, such as the Crary Air Reel®, Crary Wind System™, Big Top™ hopper extensions, Tile PRO™ drain tiling equipment and more. The LOCKWOOD brand originated in Nebraska and carries potato planting, harvesting and handling equipment.
ECHO Bear Cat is the exporting powerhouse of Crary Industries and manufactures chippers, shredders, stump grinders, trimmers and other outdoor power equipment that is shipped to nearly every country in the world.
Business Unit Director Tim Martin has been with the company for over 10 years and has watched the company’s export markets flourish. When he first joined Crary Industries, ECHO Bear Cat was already a global brand, but Crary Ag products primarily stayed within the U.S. and Canada. Over the last 10 years Crary Ag has expanded into Europe, Japan and South Africa. He attributes the company’s exporting success to once again surrounding itself with good people.
“We connect with dealers and distributors to be our boots on the ground, and rely on them to represent our brand, sell and market on our behalf. They’re more of a functioning sales arm for us.”
His team has a penchant for finding dependable overseas partners that know the market, are connected with buyers and can sell as well as service machinery.
The servicing part is key, Martin believes. If he had to give advice to a manufacturer just starting to export, he’d say don’t forget about the service after the sale.
“It’s easy to chase after today’s sale, but if you sell machinery, remember that machinery breaks and you must provide parts and service.”
Still, Crary Industries does all it can to ensure its equipment won’t be breaking for quite some time. They test 100% of their engine driven units, so each and every piece of equipment that has its own engine is tested by a person before it goes out the door. It’s part of their practice of quality control and keeping almost everything in-house, including parts manufacturing, welding, metalworking, assembly, painting and shipping. They even create their own custom pallets to support the shape and size of their equipment.
It’s all for the customer, Martin says. “We want Crary Industries’ brands to be known for their reliability and the support we give customers both before and after the sale.”
For more information on Crary Industries, visit http://www.craryindustries.com/.