Focus on the people.


For 20 years now, most CLAAS tractors have been manufactured at our factory in Le Mans, France. During this time, the production process has continuously evolved. This ongoing development ensures customer loyalty. Farmer Pascal Paumier benefits in particular from being close to his manufacturer of choice.

For decades Pascal Paumier has farmed just 15 kilometres away from the CLAAS tractor factory in Le Mans. And he has his work cut out. On his 440-hectare mixed farm he grows 150 hectares of maize, 90 hectares of wheat, 25 hectares of oilseed rape and 6 hectares of barley, as well as 140 hectares of grazing for his 450 cattle. On top of that, there are four poultry sheds measuring 400 square metres each. He owns the farm jointly with his wife Sylvie, who is his constant companion. And two years ago their son Adrien and an employee joined them on the farm.

Many hands make light work – but Pascal Paumier would not get very far without powerful machines. No fewer than three CLAAS tractors help him and his family with their work. An ARION 620 has been a faithful companion since 2011. Then in 2016 he bought the AXION 830 for heavy work. Finally, in 2021 Pascal Paumier added an ARION 650 to his fleet. For harvesting he relies on his TUCANO 450 and VARIANT 480 round baler.

Pascal Paumier remains loyal to CLAAS for two main reasons. Firstly, he is delighted with the design and construction of his CLAAS machines: "I particularly appreciate the level of comfort in the cabs." Secondly, his proximity to the CLAAS factory is an unbeatable advantage for him – not least because it helps the environmentally minded farmer reduce his emissions for shipments.

Enduring tradition, pioneering production

In 2003, exactly 20 years ago, CLAAS acquired Renault Agriculture's tractor factory in Le Mans. The site has long been associated with agriculture in the region: the first tractor rolled off the assembly line in the 1930s – a success story going back almost 100 years. With a workforce of around 1,000, CLAAS now produces 10,000 machines each year on the 70,000 square metre production area – that's 50 tractors a day.

In the two decades that CLAAS has been manufacturing tractors in this town in north western France, people have always been at the forefront. Of course that primarily means customers – but the factory also turns its focus inwards to its own people; the main aim of the continuous development process in Production is to ensure that staff feel at ease and therefore achieve the best results. So in 2017 the factory was completely transformed from a dark, enclosed shed to a light, airy work place. This had the effect of improving well-being and motivation. Other areas were modernised too, such as the logistics system. Yet even when it comes to IT upgrades, the CLAAS factory in Le Mans always focusses on the people "We define Industry 4.0 by asking: which digital systems help people to work better? We always put our employees at the centre of everything we do", says Sébastien Paté, Head of Lean Strategy in Le Mans.

Looking outward, the CLAAS factory in Le Mans uses its technical innovations to actively involve customers in the development process. Over the course of 20 years, the site has built-up a broad global network of farming partners and established close ties with the farmers. The Testing and Validation Centre in Trangé, a quarter of an hour's drive from Le Mans, has been particularly useful in this respect. Here the life cycle of a tractor can be speeded up in a simulator. The machines are exhaustively tested round the clock on the two test benches before undergoing the field test – in the truest sense of the word.

Forward together

Since CLAAS took over the site, Pascal Paumier has also been involved in the continuous development process – even before the test centre was built. He likes to help out when CLAAS wants to test new machines: "We phone one or two weeks before we plan to do a special job on our farm. Then if CLAAS has a new machine they need testing in this area, we both reap the benefits." This collaborative approach gives him the opportunity to suggest improvements based on his practical experience and so help to develop CLAAS innovations. Many of the staff at the test centre have known Pascal Paumier for decades: "The partnership works very well. We have known most of the people at CLAAS since the early days."

All tractors in Le Mans are made to order: "No two identical tractors roll off the assembly line in any given two-month period", says Sébastien Paté. This presents many challenges that require the factory to be continuously optimised. You need to keep your wits about you when you're producing a different model every day, and the growing complexity of the machines means that continuous further development is needed: "We work with around 350 different suppliers", Material Planning Manager Aurelie Auriaults explains. Her 20-strong team makes sure that the factory always receives all the components needed for production. "We plan our material requirements on a monthly basis to meet the highly customised specifications." And her team's job is becoming more complex: "As the tractor product portfolio has been continuously growing in recent years, so too has the number of components we have to process. We are installing more and more electronics now." But this doesn't deter the Planning Manager, quite the reverse: it motivates her: "We are constantly learning new things in this job, no two days are alike. And it's great to be able to tackle these challenges with a brilliant team."

The CLAAS ethos is evident in Le Mans: the highest quality at all times – whether for employees in the workplace or farmers in the field. Farmer Pascal Paumier is quite clear about one thing: he looks forward to continuing the long-running, shared success story well into the future.