OVERCOMING perception is probably the hardest job any company CEO can be handed.
And in the farm mechanisation industry it’s doubly hard, dealing with so-called Chinese whispers and social media commentary, which can be largely based on personal opinions.
It’s an environment New Zealand-based Landpower chief executive officer Richard Wilson (not related to Torque) knows only too well.
And he was refreshingly frank during an interview with Torque in Esperance last week.
“Our products are perceived as too expensive, our servicing costs are perceived as too high and as a company we are perceived as constantly changing,” he said.
“On the first point relating to cost, we want to talk with farmers and ask for an opportunity to come to their farm with our products and demo them and show the technology that we can measure to show them their productivity gains in terms of cost efficiencies.
“For example, the industry accepted grain loss from headers is thought to be about three per cent, whereas our headers can achieve as low as 0.1pc, which has been measured over an average of five samples taken in a 5.2 tonne a hectare wheat crop during the 2018 harvest in Esperance.
“We also have measured statistics on lower fuel usage with our tractors and headers and our hay balers can produce more kilograms in the hay bales.
“We can detail figures that actually put the focus on what money farmers can save using our equipment.
“With all our owners we put a fair bit of work into assisting them with our new technology so they’re up to date and confident using it.
“On servicing costs, we’d also like to talk with farmers about their expectations and what we are doing to ensure machine reliability and longevity.
“And on being a company that is always changing, our record shows we had an association with the Wellard Group from 2009 to 2015 before we formally focused on CLAAS Harvest Centres in WA.
“We set up in Geraldton, Northam, Katanning and Esperance to add to the 28 other branches we have throughout Australia and New Zealand and we are making gains here.
“CLAAS Harvest Centres are here to stay and we will grow at a pace we can manage with our customers.
“We are employing specialist product and service staff and we want to prove to customers the benefits we know our products can produce.”