On product quality: We’ve enhanced the design of our new products to take any quality issues out from the start, and since doing that, we’ve seen a big improvement in the response to our product quality. We also significantly enhanced our product validation process, and we now run our equipment for thousands of hours before they’re approved, which is a huge improvement for us.
We also recently adopted new technology within our manufacturing facilities that allow us to automate parts of our assembly lines, which creates a more consistent and reliable environment. Because of that, we’ve been able to produce a higher quality product at a more consistent pace.
The combination of our new product quality, derived in large part from our improved testing capabilities and automated assembly, is a big reason that we’ve seen an improvement in this area.
On parts quality: We recognize the importance of having parts that are high quality and available when landscape professionals need them. To us, it’s extremely important to be there with high quality, available parts when one of our landscape professionals has a unit go down. We’ve looked at our distribution network for parts and are making sure that we have the right parts available when the pros need them. We’re currently analyzing the velocity of our parts to ensure that we have the correct ones available when they’re needed.
On product technical support and responsiveness to dealers: This year, we reorganized our customer support group, allowing us to be more responsive to dealer needs. We’ve enhanced that support as well, and we now have more people responding to dealer calls than we’ve had in the past. Going forward, we are also improving our e-learning system, as well as our dealer product training courses, and we’re in the process of improving and revamping our service schools to better service our dealers. We think that all of the changes we’ve implemented over the years show our commitment to our dealer base and reiterate that we look at our dealers as true business partners, not just a sales outlet.
On recent significant changes: We think that our investments in new product development and our improvements to the operations process to enhance product and parts availability are two things that have really made a positive impact.
If we look at where we are now versus four years ago when it comes to product testing and validation, there’s really no comparison. The level of testing that our products now go through, and the types of testing that we’re able to perform because of new investments like our industrial design center and new testing facility in Sebring, Fla., have vastly improved our final product.
While we’ve experienced significant commercial growth with our dealer base, these changes have significantly helped us and we’ve received really positive feedback from both old and new dealership owners.
On significant changes in the coming year: In the coming year, we will continue to invest in our distribution network to improve our delivery and product availability.