Compact Equipment

JUN 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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Page 28 of 47 29 While I had my learning stumbles with the joystick controls, all of the other bells and whistles made this a perfect work station for an owner/operator, with an easily configured digital display in sight and features like rearview camera coming standard. And god bless the stan- dard air ride suspension seat. "What we see from a customer standpoint is those who choose the larger skid loaders most often prefer more options," Ryan said. "So we released the V420 with select configurations which streamlines man- ufacturing and allows us to deliver the machine quicker and already equipped with those upgraded options our customers are requesting." Beyond Operation Operating equipment for a day won't reveal Gehl's big differentia- tor: total cost of ownership. TCO is a borderline obsession for Manitou Group, and all Gehl product development and company initiatives re- volve around it. "Our customers are buying uptime," Bonnaure stated, which means calculating how even the smallest decisions affect the lifetime perfor- mance of a piece of equipment and its impact on an operator's time. A great example is the IdealTrax tensioning system on Gehl track loaders, which uses the hydraulic cylinder to automatically tension the tracks, removing this maintenance task from the operator's to-do list while in- creasing reliability (operator's won't accidentally over tension the sys- tem or forget to check) and extending track life. "From a product standpoint, we understand the features and benefit set that will position us in the market," Hanson said. "But we are also looking at how we provide additional value — extending service inter- vals, reducing cost of ownership and cost of operating. We want reli- ability baked into the DNA of all of our products." Manitou Group launched its Service and Solutions division for Gehl, Manitou and Mustang products in 2014 with the goal of reducing ser- vice and maintenance headaches for owners, allowing them to focus more on operating. In a way, most equipment has evolved to the point of parity, which makes innovations in service real differentiators, and as a cord-cutting, ride-sharing, Blue Apron subscribing consumer, the at- tention to details in this area stands out to me the most during my visit. • Gehl now provides options like a maintenance kit subscription, in which, after every 1,000 hours, you'll receive a shipment of filters to switch out. • At the design level, a lot has been done to increase service intervals, from 500 to 1,000 hours and 1,000 to 1,500 hours in some cases. • Maintenance contracts that are near full service leasing deals: A cus- tomer pays a flat fee per month that includes everything from financ- ing of the machine and all attachments to service and downtime. These options can all be sliced and diced to meet the preferences of any buyer. "Look at any industry, the trend is people are moving away from own- ing a machine to using a machine. There's a trend of outsourcing more and more. So we as an OEM must be prepared to offer the best service solution to the customer, taking into account the residual value of the machine and optimizing the cost," Bonnaure said. "Labor is important and part of TCO. You save time if you select the right machines and can do something in 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds." Chris Crowell is a contributing editor of Compact Equipment . COMPANY CULTURE By Rick Alton, President, CEP Division Gehl's state-of-the-art R&D center in West Bend, Wis., is the epicenter of new innovation — where engineers make customer's ideas come to life. We're making significant strides to be a customer-first organization. In terms of the operational side or R&D or customer support, we're becoming more customer focused. It's important to me that our employees view cus- tomers as the fulcrum point of what we do every day, and this becomes engrained in our culture. We're work- ing hard to make sure we build on the legacy that we have.

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