Claas of America, Inc., is located in the heart of the corn and wheat belts of the Midwest and is the North American division of Claas, Germany.
From its modern facility in Omaha, Nebraska, Claas of America offers a wide variety of technologically innovative combines, tractors, hay tools, balers and self-propelled forage harvester products. While only the CLAAS Lexion combine is manufactured in Omaha, the parent company manufactures and sells complete lines of Lexion combines, Jaguar harvesters along with tractors, mowers and mower conditioners.
The company in Omaha is divided into production and sales companies. IBNewsmag spoke with Matt Ristow, President of CLAAS Omaha, Inc., the production company. With a dealer network throughout the US and Canada, the company’s production deadlines follow that of grower harvests. Harvest time is when growers sell off their old machines and look to buy new ones.
“Our people have to plan much further out from harvests to allow shipping our implements on time,” said Mr. Ristow. Supply chain issues present the greatest challenge for Claas, according to Ristow.
“Getting parts and components from Europe is especially challenging,” he said. “Air freight of smaller parts takes three times longer than it did before the pandemic. Fewer flights and booking space cause delays worldwide.”
Then there are the delays in obtaining ocean freight. “Booking space for containers coupled with longer port delays on the East coast are causing a severe backlog for us,” he pointed out. “Freight costs for containers have increased 300 percent for us since 2002 and the ports are telling vessels to slow down so they can unload the ships they have in port. Ports are struggling with finding workers and then there is the shortage of chassis.”
“Finding trucks to haul our products from the ports is also a challenge due to a lack of truck drivers,” Ristow added. “On the export side, locating appropriate trucks is also a challenge because we must accommodate such large cargos of harvesters. The large increases in fuel costs also affect our ability to ship by trucks to customers in the US and Canada.”
“We have had to increase prices, which we must pass along to end users through our dealers,” noted Ristow. “So far, sales have held up and we have neither shut down production nor sent any of our people home. We are fortunate to have excellent sales and production people working hard to keep shipping going on time and to complete the deals."
Mr. Ristow is President and General Manager of the Claas Production Company in Omaha. The company employs 230 people in Omaha with 150 of them in the production company.
For more information on the company, visit www.claas.com.