Danuser Machine Shop opened its doors in a mid-Missouri town back in 1910. A lot changed over the years, but the Danuser family remained loyal to the community. Today, the company that made its mark in the agriculture industry with a post hole digger is expanding in Fulton, Mo.
The original shop was located on the present plant site, according to co-owner and fourth-generation leader Glenn Danuser. He, along with his sister Janea Danuser, oversee the family-owned business, Danuser Machine Co., which started a multiyear expansion program more than seven years ago.
“We’re addressing the expansion needs of today, as well as thinking about our needs for the future,” Glenn Danuser says. “The market for attachments has continued to grow, and a lot of companies are getting into the attachment sector. Our strength continues to be offering patented niche products and adhering to the same quality standards since our company was established over 100 years ago.”
Ongoing rural investment
The first phase of the project, completed in 2014, was a 32,500-square-foot addition connected to the company’s headquarters plant. The expanded space is primarily used for laser-cutting, press work, robotics, hand-welding and receiving.
Phase 2, completed in 2019, involved construction of an 11,600-square-foot headquarters office building. The structure consists of open office areas, private offices and conference rooms, and a cafeteria. The headquarters is connected to the existing manufacturing shop.
Danuser says the third phase is scheduled to be finished this year. “It will be a 6,500-square-foot metal building to provide more space for storing finished inventory, with a capacity for 1,400 products,” he says. “The additional space will enable us to shorten product delivery time to our distributor-dealer network.”
This new building is located about 4 miles off-site on land that has been in the Danuser family for many years and was formerly used for a dairy farm.
The fourth and final phase will entail expansion of Danuser’s powder coating operation, manufacturing and additional warehousing space on the headquarters site. Planning is expected to get underway early next year.
Danuser says the expansion program is designed to help streamline production, improve cost control and increase overall efficiency. “In addition to keeping pace with current orders, we will have new products coming out soon, including larger products, that require additional, modern space," he says.
Beyond iconic diggers
Danuser Machine has a history with providing farmers with post hole diggers. In fact, Danuser says that the second and third digger the company produced is still working, but the company lost track of the very first model.
Still, he says, the company is more than Danuser diggers. Over the years, it's created parts for Ford Motor Co., J.I. Case, Oliver, and International Harvester.
The company also has an extensive OEM business, working with major tractor companies in the agricultural market, as well as several major companies in the turf care and construction industries. The company also produces ball joints, klik-pins and clevis pins. Danuser Machine Co. supplies parts for tractors, tillage and hay equipment.
Today, the company has a client base of more than 1,000 companies, both agricultural and non-agricultural. And they have implements shipped to more than 14 distributors worldwide.
Danuser Machine Co. continues to innovate, introducing eight new products over the past 10 years, including the Hammer Post Driver, Intimidator Tree & Post Puller, and the Mega Mixer. In 2019, it introduced the Python Unroller.
The business employees 135 people and operates three shifts. And the people, like the family, are committed to the company.
Some staff have been with Danuser Machine Co. for more than 30 years, with many pushing upward of 40 years. It is a generational thing as well, Danuser explains, one that that includes fathers, sons, aunts and uncles.
Take, for instance, the Bartley family. Roland Bartley, who is the sales manager, has worked alongside his brother Noland at the company for 35 years. Noland has been with Danuser for 41 years, working as a special project manager. Two years ago, Roland’s son Eli joined as a project engineer.
The family not only understands the company, but also the needs of farmers as they run a cow-calf operation nearby. “It is about the way we do business here,” Roland says. “It is putting people first.”
For his brother, it is about a great work environment that is close to home. “Not everyone has this type of company in their town,” Noland says. “It is a family work environment; that is why we stay.”
Longevity of the company is credited to one motto: Good enough won't do; it must be right. It is that focus that pushes the company to expand and continue to create for the agriculture industry, all while supporting their rural community.
Click through the slideshow to see more of the Danuser expansion.