Much of what we read nationally, speaks to a softening of the US and world economies in 2023. The focus is mostly on larger companies with diverse product or service lines that have experienced massive layoffs.
But what is the outlook for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that manufacture and sell nationally and export their products?
We spoke with one regional SME that manufacturers a line of mowers and other landscaping equipment and exports throughout the world.
Specifically, we asked Ray Garvey, CGBP Marketing, of the Grasshopper Company in Moundridge, Kansas, about his company’s export outlook for the year.
The Grasshopper Company has specialized in manufacturing True ZeroTurn riding rotary mowers since 1969.
The company’s website describes, “For more than a half-century, Grasshopper has studied the needs of government entities, turf care professionals and equipment owners across the nation and around the world. Grasshopper engineers continuously research and test new product features and improvements at our 350,000-square-foot manufacturing campus in Moundridge, Kansas. Every Grasshopper product is engineered for performance, using only the highest quality components and heavy-duty construction to ensure long life.
Our skilled manufacturing specialists use the latest high-tech equipment, including computer-aided manufacturing fully integrated with a 3-D solid modeling computer design system, CNC fabrication and machining.”
According to Mr. Garvey, one of Grasshopper’s top-selling exports is its front-mounted petrol model displayed here.
He explained, “Despite all the talk about alternative energies, diesel models remain popular both in the US and for export due to their high performance and advanced emission control. Small petrol models are also popular globally. Our front-mount mower models continue to lead the way for their versatility, ergonomics and cutting quality.”
“We can safely say that we’re maintaining exports so far this year,” he said. “We have expanded distribution into a couple of new markets. However, what is impeding real growth are the lingering effects of supply chain shortages and labor supply constraints. Specifically, adequate supplies of critical components will continue to be a challenge in the months ahead.”
He concluded by saying, “The labor supply shortage is a broader than regional issue and more focus on manufacturing technology education will help manufacturers throughout the Midwest.”
For more information about the company and its models, visit www.grasshoppermower.com.