How a 154-year-old Company Remains Relevant

Two overhead cranes, side-by-side

/ Blog

I am often asked how a company like Morgan, with a history that spans more than 150 years, can continue to compete. I have one answer: We never stop innovating.

Of course, it helps that our original products – overhead cranes – were designed and built so soundly that they are known for their stability and reliability. Our company’s reputation was built on that foundation, giving us a springboard from which to bring new ideas to our customers.

But it has been our culture of continuous innovation that has fostered our growth.

Old designs made new

White and blue original paper blueprint of Morgan’s first overhead traveling crane from the 1870s.
Original blueprint of Morgan’s first overhead traveling crane from the 1870s.

As a history buff, I’ve dug into the company’s archives and uncovered that Morgan engineers— even decades or a century ago—were often ahead of the curve. Our engineers have consistently created new designs, some of which had to wait for technology to catch up. Many designs were shelved because the equipment or required systems were not around to support them.

Recently, we presented a customer with a new way of moving aluminum ingots. The customer was surprised and remarked, “I never thought of handling those that way.” The secret? The design we shared was from the 1990s, but could not be executed then because equipment and software could not support it. Now it can.

It’s gratifying for some of our longtime engineers to watch designs they produced years ago come back to life. And it’s even more rewarding to see our customers welcoming the suggestions we make.

Same concept, new application

A Morgan male engineer using 3D imaging software on three desktop computers in an office.
Morgan engineer using 3D imaging software.

Innovation isn’t always about debuting a brand-new idea. Sometimes, innovation is leveraging an already good idea to something altogether new. The Morgan team looks for common issues faced by industries and applies solutions that have worked well in other applications.

Morgan is in the motion business—things (generally big things!) moving from one place to another safely. When we know the specifications of the objects to be moved, where, how often, etc., we can modify an existing design to accommodate. That is innovation.

For example, we applied our overhead crane know-how to retractable stadium roofs. We’ve also transferred our crane knowledge to Department of Defense projects, material handling equipment, and large kinetic structures. Our founders could never have imagined how those early crane designs would affect the world today.

Investing in our team

The most successful older companies that I’ve researched do not remain stuck in old thinking. They commit to investing in people, equipment, and technology that spurs ideation and creativity.

We are blessed to live in a time where we now have collaborative engineering environments where our team can contribute no matter where in the world they are located. Collaboration breeds innovation.

We’ve also invested in new manufacturing technology. That technology does not just speed up processes, it opens our team members’ minds to what could be and empowers them to discover additional process and quality improvements.

The Morgan team loves to live on the edge—the cutting edge. It’s my job to equip them to continue to delight our customers, whether bringing them brand-new ideas, implementing concepts from the past or transforming existing solutions into new applications.

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