This fall Kinze made an exciting leap by opening its first production facility abroad in Lithuania. The agricultural arena in Eastern Europe offers many promising opportunities for Kinze, both today and in the future, and we are thrilled by what’s in store.
In order for us to realize the maximum potential of these opportunities, it was important that Kinze establish a local presence that allowed for rapid response to changing market demands and streamline the manufacturing and delivery process to reduce the lead times.
This move was really a win-win because it enhanced our capabilities abroad – but also here at home. By freeing up valuable resources at our manufacturing headquarters in Williamsburg, Iowa, Kinze is better able to serve our domestic customers and further contribute to market share growth.
But why Lithuania?
Indeed, at first glance, it may strike some folks as curious that a nearly 50-year-old Iowa company would choose Lithuania as the location for its first overseas manufacturing plant. The more one looks at it, however, the more he or she realizes Lithuania was the ideal choice.
And it wasn’t a hasty decision, either. Kinze leadership created an initial list of seven Eastern European countries that showed great potential for serving the region. We then narrowed that list down to three countries that we visited on extended trips to explore numerous elements of the business community and supply chain. We met with various agencies, manufacturing companies and suppliers to gain an understanding of economic, business environment, cultural and other characteristics.
In the end, the decision to choose Lithuania was primarily based on cultural and environmental factors that aligned very close with Kinze core values and business objectives. Also aiding Lithuania’s cause is that it’s centrally located to many of the markets we serve and has a major port within three hours of the new Kinze manufacturing facility, helping us further streamline the delivery process.
So what’s the vision for the new Kinze plant?
We will start small with assembly operations on our Model 3000 planter. A Senior Manufacturing Engineer from our headquarters has moved to Lithuania, where he will help implement new operations such as fabrication, welding and painting on multiple models of planters. We also have two engineers from Lithuania who will be spending 6 months in the US working side-by-side with our engineers in Williamsburg, learning everything there is to know about our manufacturing processes.
Kinze is fully invested in this new venture and will fully support the communities where our Lithuanian employees live, work and prosper. We will sponsor internships here in the United States for Lithuanian students and provide support to technical universities and other surrounding educational institutions. That way more young innovators from Lithuania will have the experience, education and opportunity to help create the next big innovation in agriculture.