Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Valve maker in rural Minn. uses high-tech tools, attracts good workers who want a rural lifestyle

"While many American manufacturers outsourced their work to low wage, overseas locations, Marr Valve Company kept it rural" in Grantite Falls, Minn., reports Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune in nearby Willmar. "A skilled, rural workforce and high-tech manufacturing equipment provide the advantage," he writes, citing the company's operations manager, Cheryl Monson.

Marr Valve's Steve Banks explains an assembly to high-school
teacher Brian Albers. Banks said he works for Marr so he can
raise his children in a rural setting. (Photo by Tom Cherveny)
"Many of the component parts that are machined and assembled into valves and regulators at this site could be made in assembly line fashion by low wage workers," Cherveny reports. "But turn the drudgery over to computer-driven machines, costing anywhere from $150,000 to as much as $500,000 a pop, and you get a higher quality product. They machine the parts with a precision no human could manage."

"Wages are higher in the metropolitan area, but Monson said this company’s rural location has not hindered its ability to retain or attract quality workers," Cherveny writes, quoting workers who take the lower pay to enjoy the rural lifestyle. Marr Valve is a subsidiary of Specialty Manufacturing, based in St. Paul. (Read more)

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