Excel Industries, a lawn mower manufacturer based in Hesston, Kansas has experienced significant growth in 2012. Thirty-nine full-time employees have been added to the company payroll since June 1. Twenty-seven of these employees had been involved with Excel as temporary agency workers prior to gaining regular employment status.
Employee turnover during the past calendar year was less than ten percent of the workforce. “Although Excel’s products are more seasonal in nature, the company is committed to keeping its regular employment base as consistent as possible,” said Bob Mullet, Excel Vice President.
In anticipation of a record production year, Excel has begun to ramp up its daily production rates, which required additional personnel as well. Excel also currently employs 58 temporary production workers on site, bringing the total employment of the company to 450. More than ninety percent of the work force is at the main facility in Hesston.
Much of the additional hiring was necessitated by the production startup of the Hustler Raptor, a new lower-cost homeowner zero-turn mower that was introduced at Hustler Days, a dealer event held every other year in September. Dealer response has been very positive, and the initial shipments of the product to dealers began this week.
Excel recently completed a 40,000 square foot addition to its production facility. The primary purpose of the addition is weatherproof storage of whole goods inventory. The City of Hesston recently authorized a $4 Million Industrial Revenue Bond issue, the proceeds of which were used for the expansion, and additional pieces of fabrication equipment.
"Despite what one reads about other companies holding back on capital investments because of economic uncertainty, Excel's position is that there's a lot of potential for growth in the next year or two, and we want to invest now to be ready for that growth,” Mullet added.