Honouring dealer excellence

John Deere Africa Middle East (AME) recently held its annual awards ceremony to honour its dealers for their commitment to the growth of the brand. For the first time since its launch in March 2021, the Construction and Forestry Division also celebrated its dealer partners, highlighting the crucial role its ‘foot soldiers’ have played in the division’s rapid market share gains in just 34 months. Munesu Shoko attended the event and filed this report.
AFGRI North scooped the Division 1 Dealer of the Year Multiple Dealer Outlet 2023 award at the recent John Deere awards ceremony.

Every year, John Deere AME holds its awards ceremony to celebrate its top achieving dealers across the various segments of the business. This year’s event – held on November 10 – was significant as the company celebrated its record turnover. Jaco Beyers, MD for John Deere AME, hailed the dealer partners for their massive impact on the continued growth of John Deere in what he says is a challenging market.

“It is with great pleasure that I announce 2023 to be the best year in the history of John Deere AME. I am sure it also turned out to be the best or second-best year for some of our dealers as well, highlighting the massive growth we have achieved together this year,” says Beyers. “Despite the headwinds in the market, our dealer network remains resolute to the cause, and the results are there for all to see. I tip my hat to our partners – they are the ones on the ground, spending long hours on the road, ensuring that our customer operations experience the best uptime and productivity out of their John Deere assets.”

Griffiths Makgate, sales manager Construction and Forestry Africa, also saluted the John Deere channel partners for their role in what he says is a massive growth trajectory since the launch of the division just under three years ago. “It has been a rewarding 34 months since we launched the Construction and Forestry division. We have grown from strength to strength, and we would like to honour our dealers, our ‘foot soldiers’, who make it happen,” says Makgate.

AFGRI Middelburg won the C&F Workshop with Highest Labour Sales 2023 award.

Enter construction

In March 2021, John Deere announced its decision to take full control of the marketing and support of its John Deere-branded construction products in Africa. The expansion of the construction line-up targeted 18 countries across southern Africa and West Africa, where the Deere-branded construction offering was previously not available.

The countries in question included South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Namibia, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Sudan.

The first phase of the rollout commenced with a selected range of John Deere-branded construction equipment, including backhoe loaders, excavators, wheel loaders, motor graders and crawler dozers. More importantly, adds Makgate, it also entailed the appointment of capable and reputable dealer partners with a wide support footprint across the region. This, he says, was successfully accomplished, paving the way for the second phase of the rollout, which encompassed the launch of production class equipment.

“Some six years ago, we embarked on a complete channel redesign, which we implemented some two-and-a-half years ago, with remarkable success to date. We selected what we believed were the strongest dealers, based on their wide support footprint, closeness to their customers, investments in their infrastructure, personnel, tools and training, which have all been key to the growth of the construction equipment range,” says Makgate.

Griffiths Makgate, sales manager Construction and Forestry Africa (left), was presented with a Never Idle award, an internal John Deere revolving trophy award.

Early success

Of prime importance to the early success of the construction segment is the dealers’ expanded support networks in their respective jurisdictions. They all have branches close to major towns, allowing them to offer quick service to customers operating within every corner of the region. The dealers have undergone extensive training to ensure that their teams are ready to support the new products in the market.

Jaco Beyers, MD for John Deere AME.

“Over the years, our dealers have expanded their teams of technicians and salespeople. Together with our partners, we have also started to open branches dedicated to the Construction and Forestry division. For example, we opened a branch in Springbok, which is more geared to support our mining customers. Together with AFGRI Equipment, we have also opened a branch in Tzaneen, Limpopo, which is one of the best performing outlets to date. AFGRI is also investing in a new, dedicated facility for the construction division near Kempton Park,” says Makgate.

Griffiths Makgate, sales manager Construction and Forestry Africa.

Following the launch of production class equipment last year, John Deere AME has seen a quick uptake of its solutions in the mining sector. Makgate makes special mention of the grader and articulated dump truck (ADT) ranges, which have in the past year done exceptionally well. To provide context, John Deere is now ranked second in the local grader market, with a 17% market share, and Makgate believes it is just a matter of time before the range takes top spot.

Officially launched in July 2022, John Deere’s 42-tonne (t) class 460E-II ADT is also challenging for a sizeable share of the market. A large number of these machines are already operational in the mining sector, with some already clocking 4 000 hours in a very short space of time.

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