‘Made in Mississippi’ is known around the world as a stamp of quality. Some of the most sought-after and recognized products are produced in Mississippi by the state’s skilled workforce. Companies like Toyota, Northrop Grumman and Ingalls Shipbuilding are among Mississippi’s most notable employers, manufacturing some of the strongest, most reliable products for consumers in domestic and international markets.
Many of the state’s largest exporters, however, are homegrown Mississippi companies – companies that started small, planting roots in small towns and working hard to make a name for themselves in international markets and maintain their competitive edge. These are the companies that have globalized the state’s economy and let the world know Mississippi means business.
Taylor Machine Works, based in Louisville, Miss., is a prime example of one such company exporting to markets around the world. Taylor was started nearly a century ago as a mom-and-pop small automotive repair shop. Over the years, the company has evolved and today is one of the largest privately held manufacturers of industrial lift trucks in the U.S. In fact, Taylor is now a major progressive force in the worldwide materials handling equipment industry, with its “Big Red” line of forklifts, log stackers, container handlers and reach stackers on the job around the globe.
“It is a great honor to design and manufacture world-class products here in Mississippi by Mississippi people and send them around the world in so many countries,” said Taylor President and COO Robert Taylor.
The Taylor Group of Companies, through Taylor International, opened its first factory-direct office in Monterrey, Mexico in 2019. In 2020, Taylor opened its second and third international factory-direct offices in Manzanillo, Mexico and Barranquilla, Colombia, respectively. The recent openings of these offices are a result of how respected and preferred Taylor-made products have become internationally. During a recent trip to Mexico, Taylor team members met with several operators of Taylor container handlers and forklifts – equipment still in use today that was manufactured in the company’s Louisville, Miss., flagship factory in the 1970s and 1980s.
While international sales and exports are not new to Taylor, the company has a renewed focus on its international efforts, including the development of a worldwide dealer network. New dealers of Taylor equipment are located in Guam, Panama, Costa Rica, Guyana and Suriname, with more planned in the near future in Latin America and the Caribbean. Taylor-made equipment also can be found in countries such as Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
“At Taylor, we are fortunate to have a tremendous wealth of talented and hardworking people in Mississippi that help Taylor remain competitive in the global marketplace,” said Taylor Machine Works Director of Sales Hal Nowell. “Despite the impact of COVID-19 in the U.S.A. and the world, our international sales have been stronger than ever. We have also stayed committed to our international efforts by opening our second subsidiary in Mexico and our third one in Colombia, South America this year. These subsidiaries along with our new established dealers allow us to export more equipment and parts made in Mississippi to various parts of the globe.”
The Taylor Machine Works success story is echoed among countless other Mississippi companies making a name for themselves in countries throughout the world. In 2019, Mississippi exported nearly $12 billion in goods and services to 206 countries. From 2018-2019, the state’s exports increased by 2.34 percent. In addition to Taylor, companies contributing to that growth were Tupelo, Miss.-based Hyperion Technology, an engineering services company that provides technology and development support to governments and industry; and Philadelphia, Miss.-based Thomasson Lumber, a leader in the agribusiness industry that pressure-treated utility poles and quality pressure-treated piling products to consumers.
While these companies are led by the ingenuity and innovation of their founders and employees, they are supplemented by Mississippi’s strong portfolio of advantages, which provides the right formula to ensure they find lasting and sustainable growth and success in the state.
Mississippi offers companies a well-trained, productive pipeline of workers; exceptional workforce training opportunities to ensure that as companies evolve, their employees do, as well; and research universities with strong reputations for partnering with industry to move manufacturing ideas from concept to reality.
Additionally, Mississippi’s prime location in the Southeast U.S. and exceptional transportation network are strong advantages for the state’s exporters. Centrally located between the East and West coasts, Mississippi provides easy access to major U.S. markets, the majority of which are within a day’s drive.
The state boasts six interstate highways, 76 airports, 30 rail systems covering 2,500 miles of track and three navigable waterways: the Mississippi River to the west, the Tennessee-Tombigbee River to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Mississippi also is home to 15 ports, including two deepwater ports on the Gulf of Mexico, which provide quick, convenient access to international markets.
The world depends on Mississippi. Mississippi delivers. To learn more, call 800.360.3323 or go to mississippi.org.