Rugby Manufacturing provides update on business
If you weren’t aware, Rugby Manufacturing celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2019. As we close that chapter and get started in 2020, we would like to provide an update about our business.
As most know the company was started by the Socha family, and when it was started it produced agricultural products and later the business transitioned to commercial products in late ’70s and ’80s, focusing on dump truck beds and hoists. Over the course of the last 50 years we’ve experienced five major expansions (with the most recent breaking ground in 2019 and continuing today). Sometimes steady growth can be taken for granted, but you can imagine the obstacles any company needs to be able to withstand over that period of time. All that perseverance and hard work has allowed our Brand to be the #1 manufacturer of Class 3-5 Dump Bodies and Underbody Scissor Hoists in the country.
So over the last 50 years, a lot has changed, from technological advances to costs of various items. And other things haven’t-such as the Vikings winning a Super Bowl-to our community of Rugby still being the home to a manufacturing company (something that is rare in many small towns). Manufacturing companies are somewhat unique in the fact that they don’t have a store front or have any particular reason for the average citizen to walk into the facility. So for most, their geographic location is somewhat neutral (we could build our Rugby product just about anywhere). Rugby, ND is not an ideal location for manufacturing due to our location (freight inbound and outbound), climate, population to generate a workforce, etc. However, we fight hard to keep this production done in ND vs. transferring it out of state. Our biggest challenge every day, being able to hire more people and grow. Currently we don’t have enough capacity to build to our demand, let alone continue to grow. Because of this, over 25% of our products are made outside of ND at sub-contractor manufactures and sister companies. The driver behind our most recent expansion was to make room for additional equipment. This equipment will improve our processes and increase our capacity to some extent. But even more so, if we can grow our workforce would allow us to bring most if not all of our production back into Rugby, ND.
Even if you’ve never thought about it, a thriving manufacturing company in a small town has many benefits even though they don’t offer a product or service directly to the community. In our area Rugby Mfg is good for all as we spend millions of dollars annually in the region in the form of wages, benefits, purchased supplies and acquiring contractor services. And years like this year, when we are doing major projects, those numbers are higher yet. As we look forward, things at the current time are very positive. A strong economy has our plant very busy at the moment and working on strategies of taking care of our customers. Essentially leaves us 2 options, grow our current workforce or work with other manufacturing plants and have our products built elsewhere. Our preference is to continue to hire in ND and grow our workforce in Rugby. I hope everyone else in the region feels the same way and supports our efforts to grow.
As mentioned above, we have a lot of challenges versus our competitors being in rural ND. But for the last 50 years we’ve been able to overcome these challenges with our #1 resource, our people, we have great people who work hard, have a lot of pride and build a great product. And by the way, the local talent of contractors in this region is something to be proud of as well.
That is just a quick recap of our past, present and future state and challenges. So as we close out 2019 and start into our 51st year, we would like to thank the community for past support and hopefully continued support into the future. And more importantly, we would like to thank all the people that have had a hand in building our company and brand.
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