28 October 2011
US-based agricultural machinery company John Deere is to invest R150-million in developing a new state-of-the-art parts distribution warehouse close to OR Tambo International Airport outside Johannesburg.
The new warehouse will feature the latest in warehousing technology, parts logistics and availability, making it comparable to similar facilities in the US and Europe. It will have more than three times the capacity of the existing warehouse in Rosslyn, outside Pretoria.
“This warehouse will support dealers across sub-Saharan Africa,” John Deere sub-Saharan Africa MD Len Brand said in a statement this week. “John Deere always recognised the importance of not only having parts available in the market where customers operate, but also ensuring dealers have the capability to effectively support customers to ensure maximum uptime is achieved with their equipment.
“This investment is in line with the company’s continuous focus to give customers a unique ownership experience.”
Investing in people, facilities, training
The company has made several other investments going back to 2005, as part of its efforts to strengthen its presence in the country and broader region.
A dealer development programme requires dealers to invest in people, facilities and training, while an Apprentice Academy formed in 2008 allows John Deere, in cooperation with its dealers, to add 50 qualified technicians per year.
There are now 205 qualified technicians in the country, as opposed to 140 in 2007.
The company also has a dealer technical assistance centre that enables technicians to obtain a solution in the field within a very short time due to a global support structure.
Phenomenal growth providing scale
John Deere has also established satellite offices in Ghana and Kenya to support dealer networks in West and East Africa, and added 60% more staff across departments to support growing markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
Recognising the increasing need in the region, the company has also expanded its range of products beyond just tractors by providing implements that provide specific crop solutions, while also making all products more easily available to customers by offering financial solutions through John Deere Finance.
“These investments have been crucial since John Deere South Africa assumed responsibility in November 2009 to support sales and marketing of John Deere agricultural equipment in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Brand.
“The growth has been phenomenal and has provided the scale enabling John Deere to make these investments.”
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