Manitou/Gehl Celebrate 50 Years of Making Skid Steers and Expansion of Madison, S.D., Facility

Manitou Group, a world reference in the handling, aerial work platform and earth moving sectors, celebrates the grand opening of its Madison, South Dakota, 80,000-square-foot expansion project which coincides with the company’s 50th anniversary of manufacturing skid loaders.

The ribbon cutting took place with Mrs. Jacqueline Himsworth, Chairman of the Board of Manitou Group, Michel Denis, President & CEO of Manitou Group, and State/Local Representatives such as; Casey Crabtree – South Dakota State Senator and Majority Leader and Head of Economic Development for Heartland Electric, Katherine Kirby – Business Development Representative for the South Dakota Department of Economic Development and Roy Lindsay – Mayor of Madison, South Dakota.

“It is a very exciting time for Manitou Group as we celebrate the official opening of our new assembly building,” said Jeff Minnaert, Plant Manager at the Madison Facility. “While this is not the end of the project, it is the largest portion that will give us the biggest impact on increasing our production to meet our future demands. In addition to the building, we are implementing a number of improvements that will continue to enhance our work environment and help Manitou Group be the employer of choice in Madison.” 

The new expansion plan renovates and extends the existing 50 year old, 325,000-square-foot building. The expansion consists of an enlarged assembly line, enabling all assembly processes to occur within the same building, promoting greater efficiency through proximity. The number of workstations has increased by 30% from the previous set-up, now consisting of 19. They incorporate kitting and other lean concepts to optimize time and improve employee efficiency. Additionally a new loading docks center has been established by repurposing one of the former assembly buildings. This enhancement enables the facility to handle shipments more effectively for the anticipated increase in production.

Franck Buisard, Vice President of the Product Unit Compact and Articulated Loaders and Managing Director for Manitou Equipment America expands on this excitement: “We announced a massive investment in our South Dakota facilities 18 months ago. Now we’ve completed the expansion plan of our Madison facility and we will be able to start production utilizing our new assembly line for our new skid and track loader range presented at Conexpo in March, 2023. It was a clear challenge for the team to be ready on time and I’m proud of all the work they accomplished. We will now work on increasing the output of our production lines by more than 150% by 2026. Our next step will be the go-live of our Yankton, South Dakota facility expansion in mid 2024.”

“This is the largest expansion project we have completed in the 50-year history in Madison,” said Minnaert. “It has been a lot of work for all of the employees, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished and continue to be a part of as the Madison team.”

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