Case Studies

The Essmueller Company

Manufacturing for the feed and grain industry for more than a century

The Essmueller Company has been a leading manufacturer of conveyors in the feed and grain industry for 137 years. Located in Laurel, Mississippi, The Essmueller Company specializes in furnishing round- and flat-bottom drag conveyors, screw feeders, bucket elevators and turn-head distributors. With a 150,000-square-foot facility, the company is capable of serving grain suppliers all across the United States.

The Essmueller Company was founded in St. Louis, Missouri, by a German immigrant named Fred Essmueller. When Essmueller arrived in the United States in 1865, he began working as a millwright with I.Q. Halteman & Company. With a strong will to succeed, Essmueller would go on to form several partnerships. Once his last partner retired in 1899, Essmueller renamed his firm Essmueller Mill Furnishing Company. The company would retain this name until 1941 when it was incorporated as The Essmueller Company.

The company remained under the guidance of the Essmueller family until 1965 when the last member, Arthur F. Essmueller retired. Bob McLean, president of the company at the time, purchased the company along with three other officers. At this time, The Essmueller Company initiated a standard line of materials handling equipment. In 1986, Bill and Patricia McLean purchased the company and relocated the headquarters to Laurel, Mississippi.

“We furnish the equipment and then sell it to contractors,” says Don Merten, vice president of The Essmueller Company. “The contractors that we supply are usually building or developing new mills. We also supply Cargill Grain with all their domestic equipment.”

In a competitive market such as the agricultural industry, The Essmueller Company is constantly examining the operation to ensure the company is providing the highest quality product while maintaining efficiency. “Just like any company we keep our costs down as much as possible and we’re always looking for ways to improve speed of production,” says Merten.

Merten recognizes the value in employee relations. With 110 employees, the company has a significantly low turnover rate. “We have a great group of people working for us,” says Merten. “We pay for 100 percent of individual insurance costs and maintain a family atmosphere. They put in a solid days work for us and we reward them for that.”

Going the distance

In its more 137 years of experience, The Essmueller Company has remained committed to customer satisfaction and uncompromising quality. “We make one quality line of product,” says Bill McLean, president and CEO of The Essmueller Company. “We have worked very hard to maintain a decent price for our customers.”

The team is diligent about following up with every product it ships. “We’re always making phone calls to check on everything and also have a service team that will visit our customers’ locations and perform a maintenance check on all products,” McLean adds.

When measuring success of The Essmueller Company, McLean refers to the relationships the company has sustained throughout its history. The repeat business that the operation has provided for the majority of its clients is testament to the longevity of the company. “If any client needs service on a product we immediately send out a service technician to take care of it; our customers know that about us,” says McLean. “We’ll often go a while without having to make any service calls and that’s how we know the plant is operating smoothly.”

Mclean has adopted a business philosophy from his father who was president of The Essmueller Company for 25 years. “Money is not the answer,” says Mclean, “If you take care of the business the money will come. If you’re only interested in the money then you’re going to mess up.”

Worldwide service

The Essmueller Company has recently been working to distribute equipment overseas, particularly in Malaysia and Thailand. “There are a lot of mills being built in Asia right now,” says Merten. “We’re building a fair amount of equipment to supply the mills with storage facilities and conveyors.”

Continuing with operations overseas, The Essmueller Company is working with its sister company in Australia. Essmueller Australia has been in operation for two years and McLean says he is looking forward to witnessing the success of the company while enjoying the learning experience that accompanies running a division overseas. “That’s where a lot of my focus is right now,” says McLean. “We’re tweaking some stuff and concentrating on how it will remain self-sustaining.”

As the company progresses into the future, The Essmueller Company will remain true to its tradition of quality and service in the production of durable, reliable materials handling equipment. 

Published on: September 15, 2015

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