R&D Helps Nebraska Manufacturers Stay On the Cutting Edge

worldlawn gaterIn 2014, we posted a Manufacturers in Nebraska blog about Worldlawn Power Equipment, Inc., located in Beatrice, Nebraska. You can read the full history of the company in that post, but we were pleased to see them make the news once more just this week: The Beatrice Daily Sun recently featured the mower manufacturer, who is currently expanding and growing internationally.

According to National Sales Manager Nathan Antons, 2016 is shaping up to be a good year. “We’re just kicking off the busy season right now, business is going real good,” he tells the Sun. “We’re expecting some substantial growth this year, implementing new distribution networks throughout the country and worldwide.”

In 2011, Worldlawn acquired Encore Manufacturing, and now produces the Encore line of mowers along with its own brands. Located in Beatrice’s industrial park, Worldlawn assembles all of their mowers in the manufacturing facility and ships directly from that location as well.

So, how has the manufacturer grown so much in such little time? Worldlawn president Hardy Shao attributes part of the success to the company’s emphasis on research and development. The constant push for introducing new products and creating new technology is unique in the lawnmower industry, where only three manufacturers have introduced the most cutting-edge digital control panels to their mower lines. “We have around 26 employees including five engineers who focus on developing new products . . . the percentage of engineering staff is pretty high.”

Research and development, essentially the creation of new technology or information that could improve product effectiveness, is usually important for manufacturers who hope to survive by developing more effective technology than their competitors. Thus, as Investopedia reminds us, “Since revenue is generated by selling products that depend on being more useful and more advanced than similar products sold by competitors, development of revolutionary technology can drastically increase the value of investments in that particular company.”

Lawnmowers aren’t the only industry in which Nebraskans are continuously working to innovate, though. For example, the Nebraska Innovation Campus at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is literally designed for research and development, in the hopes that partnerships between UNL and private-sector businesses will create pioneering research to help businesses grow.

R&D is also a sector that Nebraska is willing and able to support. Thanks to the Nebraska Advantage Research and Development Act of 2006, there are tax credits available for any business firms that incur research and experimental expenditures. Better yet, if the firm makes expenditures on the campus of a college or university in Nebraska or at a Nebraska-owned facility (i.e. Innovation Campus), the firm is allowed a tax credit equal to 35% of the federal credit instead of the usual 15%. You can read more here about the act and the ways in which it supports Nebraska R&D.

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Photo credit: Worldlawn Power Equipment, Inc.