Every week, Matthews Ridgeview Farms in Wynne, AR washes, inspects, and packages more than a third of a million pounds of sweet potatoes. Businesses and family homes across the country depend on their crop of tasty and nutritious potatoes.
With so many pallets filled with heavy produce, material handling efficiency is essential for the farms’ success. When the opportunity arose to expand fields and production, Matthews Ridgeview Farms was able to rely on The Lilly Company to help improve their equipment and operations.
The Matthews family has been in the sweet potato business for more than 100 years. As a fourth-generation sweet potato farmer, Terris Matthews has a rich knowledge for farming, marketing, and growing the family business. In 2006, Terris and his wife, Kim, decided to expand their business. First, with additional acreage, Matthews Ridgeview Farm was able to start producing enough sweet potatoes to sell over a million bushels a year. In addition to the acreage, Matthews grew their storage, packing facility, and workforce to keep up with the demand for the sweet and nutritious potatoes.
The family operation has become the largest grower, packer, and shipper of sweet potatoes in Arkansas. Not only have they been able to move into international distribution channels, but they have also added an impressive list of major, nationally known retailers to their resume.
In 2006, when the opportunity arose to expand, the business moved quickly: additional acreage, expanded storage, improved packing facility, and an increased workforce helped Matthews Ridgeview Farms become the largest sweet potato producer and distributor in Arkansas. This growth expanded sales to over a million bushels annually, opened up international distribution, and partnerships with major retailers in the US.
With a thriving agricultural business, Matthews Ridgeview Farm needed the proper tools to meet the market’s demand. Transferring the one thousand-pound crates of sweet potatoes from storage to the washer can be a challenge. Moving crates by hand or by pallet jacks only allowed for a few crates a day, so it was impossible to keep up with the increased demand.
The Lilly Company provided Matthews with an equipment solution that helped take operations to the next level by improving efficiency in the packing line. While their previous provider’s inferior forklifts frequently broke down and delayed productivity, The Lilly Company’s introduction of Toyota Forklifts was reliable, durable, and lowered the overall cost of ownership thanks to its powerful engineering. In addition to withstanding the dirt and dust present in sweet potato processing, a customized joystick control option helped improve forklift operators’ efficiency and comfort for long shifts.
At The Lilly Company, we pride ourselves on going beyond a provider relationship - when you work with us on your material handling equipment and maintenance, we are your business partner.
“The Lilly Company, their product line, and their business expertise have been a great asset to our growing business demands, and the leasing options they offered us were a game changer!”, says Matthews. “We know that our equipment is going to perform when we need it! That’s why we love Toyota!”
The Lilly Company works with our customers to identify which products best serve their needs and will provide the advice and insights required to help solve your logistic challenges. Share your problems with us and our staff of experts will help you find the best solution for your difficulties.
Arkansas - Jonesboro
Alabama - Birmingham, Dothan, Irondale, Madison, Mobile, and Montgomery
Mississippi - Belden and Richland
Tennessee - Jackson, Kingsport, Knoxville, and Memphis