MD Products and Solutions
Mike and Faith Dick established MD Products in 1982 out of the family garage in Iowa. As the business grew, the company moved into larger spaces throughout the region, each time expanding to accommodate growth. The Dicks built a strong foundation for the business, creating a solid product line for growers in the Midwest. In 2014, they decided to sell the business and the company was acquired by the McKay-Empire-Wiese Group (MEW).
Today J. David Pitt leads the business, now known as MD Products and Solutions (MDP), as company president. MDP employs between 15 and 20 people, depending on season and fluctuation in demand. The main plant is still based in Mason City, Iowa. At 240,000 square feet, the facility is large enough to accommodate production of large agricultural equipment, as well as tractor fenders and after-market motor graders. Despite the scale of production, the business sublets nearly half the space to companies and organizations in need of a location.
A strong and growing market
The Mason City operation designs, manufactures and assembles combine head trailers. Pitt notes that a combine head is the cutting and gathering mechanism on the front of a combine harvester. The company’s products range in size up to 40 feet or more, depending on required specifications. MDP has become the acknowledged market leader in combine head trailer design, handling heads up to 48 feet and loaded with more E-Z adjustable features than the competition.
MDP’s trailer product line includes Stud King, Mega Stud and the Stomper Stud, with lengths ranging from 32 feet to 48 feet in length. The company also produces economy trailers, including the Studley, a lightweight trailer with a GVWR of 10,000 pounds, as well as smaller kits used to convert running gear to short-haul trailers. Each of these innovative trailers can be hauled on the highways at high speed. Customer can also order the equipment with Department of Transportation compliance packages for interstate travel.
The company’s target market includes main line dealers, such as Deere, Case, New Holland and AGCO dealers that in turn retail the trailers together with a combine, a new head or on its own. Many dealers also keep a trailer, or three, for individual use, particularly those with multiple locations.
Another popular product line is a range of tractor and motor grader front fenders, made from durable polyethylene plastic with patented features enabling excellent maneuverability. The fender line has an even broader appeal, as the motor grader fenders attract the yellow brand outlets: Caterpillar, Deere, Komatsu, etc. MDP also distributes fenders to county highway departments and retail establishments for private end-users.
While the plant is based in Iowa, MDP has a strong geographic footprint. Within the United States, the company sells primarily to parties in Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Kansas. Over the border in Canada, the business has established a strong market in Saskatchewan.
Since the company changed hands in 2014, the new owners will continue expansion to new markets. The team is hoping to boost sales of MDP trailers and components in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas within the United States, while expanding Canadian sales into Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.
To promote growth, Pitt and his management team continue to seek out new ways to connect with potential customers. “We showcased several of our trailers at the Regina Farm Progress Show in Regina, Saskatchewan, this past summer,” he says. “We intend to use our Harvest Services division in Craik, Saskatchewan, to promote the products to our distribution partners in Western Canada. The fenders will be introduced to the entire MEW distribution network throughout North America.”
One of MEW’s partner businesses is Ralph McKay, a major distributor of tillage equipment. The company has a strong market presence in Eastern Europe, Western Europe and Australia. The existing relationships the business has already established could lead to an expanded international footprint for MDP.
Pitt has a long history of success in business development. He has worked in the industry since 1970 when he joined Massey-Ferguson in the United Kingdom as a financial analyst. At present, his goal is to build a long-term plan for MDP that will maximize growth potential.
“I am still building my understanding of the company and its structure,” he notes. The next step is to improve performance through MEW management strategies and empowering the existing employees. Then, we plan to expand distribution using the resources of the MEW Group.”
Pitt and his team have acquired a strong product line with a network of loyal customers. In the coming years, MD Products and Solutions will continue to build up growth by leveraging existing relationships and pursuing new market opportunities.