"Different is in demand"
Customer wishes can be very individual and specific. Nils Zalter from AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH in Meppen also discovered this recently. A customer from the Netherlands, who will soon emigrate to Canada, came to the workshop seeking a tractor that is less damaging on the soil. The entire team at AGRAVIS-Technik got down to work. With the support of the company "Soucy Track", they built a new tractor undercarriage.
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- AGRAVIS Technik BvL GmbH modified this Fendt tractor for a farmer based in Canada.
The caterpillar-like wheels will better distribute the tractor's weight and enable less damaging processing of the soil. The happy customer had the vehicle shipped to the Netherlands and later to Canada where he wishes to use it on his farm.
Special orders for the AGRAVIS Technik group increase around three per cent every year. "Retailers must today meet the individual customer wishes and make the product prices even more attractive too," explains Dieter Ressemann, Head of Municipal Technology at AGRAVIS Technik Münsterland GmbH. He has noticed a growing number of customised orders. "I recently had a customer seeking a ride-on mower with a huge catching basket. The machine had to also be suitable for winter services. We always try to cater to customers' wishes."
The query from Frank Schwellnus posed an entirely different challenge. The 54-year-old lost his right arm in an accident and only has his upper arm on the left. Despite this, he has still worked in Gelsenkirchen full-time for many years as a gardener and landscape conservationist. His job involves driving a number of different machines. The team at AGRAVIS Technik Münsterland GmbH contacted the manufacturer; the manufacturing team then built a municipal tractor with modified controls so Schwellnus can do everything with his left arm. The team at AGRAVIS Technik also modified other equipment for the customer. "Above all, we must think of the details", emphasises Andreas Günnewig, who advised Frank Schwellnus and worked with him to find new solutions and possibilities.
How do the AGRAVIS Technik staff know what needs to be done? Have they received any special training? "Sound, qualified training in agricultural machinery forms the basis of our customer advice. Experience is essential when it comes to special requests. The question of which components we can combine and which we cannot often comes up. When something very specific is needed, we must sometimes ask specialists, who then contribute their expertise. So far, we have always found a solution," tells Dieter Ressemann.
Volker Karbstein has also discerned increased demand for customised products at AGRAVIS Technik Sachsen-Anhalt/Brandenburg GmbH. "It is increasingly the case that we modify standard machines. Especially for forest applications, we often equip the vehicle cabins with safety glass," he says of the daily technical challenges. There are also customers who want to have machines in their favourite colour. "It is like when you buy a car. Customers are very emotionally involved," Karbstein explains. Thus they had a sewing machine painted black a few weeks ago.
"We meanwhile offer our customers a whole host of optional extras to cater to their wishes," explains Gerd Schulz, Managing Director of AGRAVIS Technik Holding GmbH. This trend could also be observed at the Agritechnica, the largest trade fair in the world for agricultural technology that took place in Hanover in November. Not only are agricultural machines getting ever-bigger, they are also increasingly individual. Close cooperation between the manufacturers and retailers is increasingly important as a consequence.
The AGRAVIS Technik group
The AGRAVIS Technik group is one of the leading trade and service partners in Germany in the field of agricultural technology. In the last business year, the division generated turnover totalling € 791 million. Around 2,300 employees, of which 400 are trainees, are active in this field. Last year, they completed a total of 2.1 million service hours and sold 2,069 tractors at over 100 locations.