It’s no secret that construction’s U.S. decline has been especially tough on compact equipment manufacturers. Now Bobcat is announcing it is closing its Bismarck, North Dakota, plant and consolidating all North Dakoka plant operations in Gwinner, North Dakota:
Bobcat to consolidate operations in North Dakota
(WEST FARGO, N.D. — Sept. 2, 2009) Bobcat Company today announced that it is transferring all North American machinery production to its original manufacturing facility in Gwinner, N.D. This will result in discontinuing production at Bobcat’s Bismarck, N.D., plant by the end of 2009.
Currently, Bobcat mini excavators, the Toolcat™ utility work machine, the S70 skid-steer loader and mini track loaders are made in Bismarck, while all other Bobcat skid-steer loaders, compact track loaders, and all-wheel steer loaders are manufactured in Gwinner.
With the consolidation, all machines — including the only mini excavators made in North America — will move to Gwinner, home of the first production three-wheeled loader (the precursor to the skid-steer loader) in 1958.
“This was a difficult decision because Bismarck has been a vital part of the Bobcat story for more than 30 years,” said Rich Goldsbury, president of Bobcat Americas. “But, good companies adapt to change, and this is a realignment that will best enable us to serve our dealers and customers moving forward.”
Over the next three months, 475 production positions will be phased out of Bismarck, but as many as 390 jobs will remain in North Dakota to accommodate the consolidation. Bismarck will retain 150 positions across Product Engineering, Finance, Accounts Payable and Aftermarket Parts — areas unaffected by the move. The Bobcat Manufacturing Support Center will also remain in Bismarck.
Bobcat began producing machines in Bismarck as Melroe Manufacturing Company in 1974 after the company acquired Bismarck-based Kirschmann Manufacturing, maker of the Spra-Coupe crop sprayer (AGCO acquired the Spra-Coupe line in 1998 from Ingersoll-Rand — Bobcat’s parent company at the time). The Bismarck facility began producing mini excavators in 1989, and the Toolcat™ utility work machine was launched in 2003.