This blog is a commentary and hopefully offers some insight into interesting happenings in the world of iron and tech. This time out we're looking at the celebration of a birthday. It's not for a person, but for a place, and while I couldn't attend the official opening of this facility, I've found it an interesting place to visit in recent years.
It was in June 2012 when Agco opened what it called the Intivity Center. It's frankly not a name that just rolls off the tongue, but that name – a verbal marriage of innovation and productivity – has meant plenty to the company. Nestled in south central Minnesota in the town of Jackson, the center is the front door to an international manufacturing operation for Agco tractors and application equipment.
Jay Mulso, Intivity Center manager, explained during a recent media event that the center is a great destination for machinery enthusiasts. He rattled off some interesting stats about the facility since it opened:
- When it opened more than 750 dealers and media were on hand for exclusive tours the first two days. And a public open house June 9, 2012 drew more than 2,000 people.
- The facility conducts public tours every Monday and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
- More than 21,000 visitors have been through the facility since it opened.
- Visitors who have made it to the facility have come from 47 states and 43 countries.
- And there are a few other key numbers Mulso and his team pulled out including that the largest customer group brought by a dealer came from Robinson Implement who brought 120 customers in three buses. The dealership has three stores in Iowa in Irwin, Pocahontas and Corning. The most tour guides used in one day for the facility was 10 – which means a lot of groups were going through that day. And the largest number of visitors in one day (not an opening day or celebration) was 254, followed the next day by 218.
Mulso admits that Jackson may appear to be "in the middle of nowhere" but the Intivity Center offers a look at machinery history in a museum setting, so visitors can get a feel for the story behind Agco and its products. From Al McQuinn's first patents for spraying technology, to Harry Ferguson's early tractor work, and the creation of Challenger, there's plenty of history on hand at the center.
But perhaps the most interesting part of your visit is the chance to go through a modern farm equipment manufacturing plant. I've had my share of plant tours, and I've enjoyed every one of them. Over the years I've watched plant manufacturing technology change, and advance. Agco has invested plenty in the Jackson facility where it builds Challenger and Massey Ferguson tractors; and RoGator and TerraGator application equipment.
"People are surprised to find what we have here," Mulso said.
In fact, Mulso likes to tell the story of a group who came into the center one time just to look around. And after viewing the history areas, they went over to the glass wall that looked out into the manufacturing facility. "That's when they asked if they could see the rest of the museum," Mulso said. "That isn't a museum, that's the plant."
From its adoption of Glass by Google for enhanced manufacturing efficiency and productivity, to "clean up" days where workers strive to have sparkling work stations, the Jackson facility is an interesting place to visit. With the Intivity Center open for visitors, it's worth checking out.