How manufacturers are adjusting to meet demands

By |  October 23, 2023
After beginning construction in March 2023, Montabert plans to open its expanded distribution and rebuild facility in late September. Photo: Montabert

Montabert recently moved its remanufacturing and repair operations from Tennessee to its distribution center in Nashville, Illinois. Photo: Montabert

The year is nearly over, and while countless variables have changed over the last 10 months – interest rates, lead times, supply chains and more – one thing has stayed relatively consistent: demand for parts and equipment remains exceedingly strong.

With more money flowing in from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) and parts easier for manufacturers to obtain, construction materials producers are eager to get their hands on whatever equipment they can. That eagerness, however, has led to its fair share of delays as manufacturers near or reach operational capacity.

Johnnie Garrison, vice president of sales at Superior Industries, says his company’s backlog is unlike anything he has seen before.

“We have product lines that are 12 months out for orders and it’s been that way for 18 months now,” Garrison says. “It requires a lot more planning on our part and on our dealers’ part, making sure they have stuff in our production lines for stock orders and we have enough parts and supply chain on the ground and in the pipeline to support the volume.”

Montabert, a manufacturer of hydraulic rock breakers and related attachments, is also seeing increased demand of late. Aaron Scarfia, general manager at Montabert, says lead times for brand-new heavy breakers are extended due to heightened demand.

“Demand is extremely high,” Scarfia says. “Breaker demand is slightly above where it was this time last year. The market in the U.S. is incredibly strong.”

Marvin Woodie, president of Conn-Weld Industries, doesn’t see an end to this manufacturing boom anytime soon. He believes the nation is in a good place from a supply chain perspective and anticipates even more manufacturing growth in the coming years.

“I believe that some of the things like the [IIJA] have given the construction industry enough confidence to spend money – and spend money properly – on highways, bridges and construction materials projects that require aggregates, cement, concrete and asphalt,” Woodie says. “Any manufacturer that supplies those industries is going to see a really nice upturn in business for the next three to four years.”

Breaking ground



In an effort help meet these growing demands – both now and in the future – companies are taking action to increase manufacturing capabilities however they can.

In the case of Montabert, the company shifted its remanufacturing and repair operations from a sister site in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to its distribution and customer service facility in Nashville, Illinois. Rather than building onto the 50,000-sq.-ft. facility, Montabert is utilizing the space it currently has for operations.

“We had discussed bringing [our remanufacturing and repair capabilities] in house anyway to control the quality,” Scarfia says. “It’s quality control, it’s reduction of costs – the logistics of sending things back and forth from southern Tennessee up to Illinois was getting expensive.”

While the move was not based around current demand, the ongoing boom made the decision easier to make.

“The timing was ideal,” he adds. “There was a significant investment in this facility. That investment would not have been possible without the strong market we’re in.”

Superior found itself in a similar situation when it began the expansion of its facility in Prescott Valley, Arizona. The expansion is expected to be completed by April 2024 and will add a fourth production line to manufacture equipment used in the aggregate and metal mining industries.

“The market out West is one of our fastest-growing markets,” Garrison says. “We put that plant out there back in 2006, and it’s basically a smaller version of what we have here in Morris, [Minnesota]. The demand out there right now has been almost triple what it typically has been.”

Increased demand for portable plants has the company adding space at locations it didn’t initially plan on to help meet demand for portable crushing, screening and washing plants, among other equipment.

This is part of what has driven out Superior’s lead times into 2025, in some cases, and put an emphasis on expanding its capabilities out West.

“With an increase in portable plants, you went from building 100 of them a year to 200 of them a year,” Garrison says. “Increasing the portable plant demand and running it down the same line where the conveyors go, it’s pushing your conveyor lead times out. So we definitely needed to do that expansion.”

Related: How dealers are doing business in an evolving economy

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About the Author:

Jack Kopanski is the Managing Editor of Pit & Quarry and Editor-in-Chief of Portable Plants. Kopanski can be reached at 216-706-3756 or

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