Staff Field Trip: Case IH in Racine, Wis.

By Kim Schmidt, Managing Editor

Editor's note: Much like Doug Anderson's presentation at the ASPIRE meeting, the Case IH trip was organized to help staff connect with our customers and gain a better understanding of one of the industries we serve. After Dave Kanicki and I visited Case IH this summer and toured the plant, we were encouraged by the event manager to come back. The open invitation seemed like the perfect way to connect the staff with the industry.

On Nov. 29, 35 members of the Lessiter Media staff — representing all departments — boarded a bus and hit the road to visit the Racine Case IH Experience Center and plant. Case IH, together with its sister company, New Holland, is the 2nd largest manufacturer of farm machinery in the world. They also support LM with occasional advertising and are one of the sponsors of our annual National No-Tillage Conferences.

This field trip gave staff an opportunity to learn more about what our customers do. It also shed some light on how important Ag Equipment Intelligence is to a company like Case IH to learn about future demand in the market place. Case IH must plan years in advance to stock and operate the factory. “It was very interesting to see a ‘real life’ How It’s Made episode about our own industry,” says marketing manager Dallas Ziebell.

Upon arrival, we had a chance to look around the Experience Center. The Center includes a company history and a number of Case IH tractors on display representing where the company started, what it is accomplishing today and what the future may hold. After a brief introduction to the brand and what they do at this particular plant, we divided into 4 groups for a guided tour. In the 620,000 square foot facility, we visited tractor, transmission and component assembly stations for the OEM and machining. The plant has the ability to make 2.5 million different versions of tractors.

All the tractors built at the Racine plant are custom built, and everything that goes through the plant is tied to an order. So, it’s common to see a blue (New Holland) and red (Case IH) tractor going down the line at the same time. While our ag editors and sales team are familiar with the Case IH and New Holland product lines, other LM staff members were just getting introduced to it.

Some things we learned include:

  • Every part is tied to a specific tractor — no extra parts laying around
  • With the exception of color and the air cooling system in the motor, Case IH and New Holland tractors are nearly identical
  • Each station had a screen displaying how its team was performing on a daily basis
  • The Case IH facility has not contributed to a landfill in over 2 years. It recycles every single material they use.

Following the tour, we had all had lunch together catered by Case IH in the Experience Center and to further explore the displays before heading back to the office.