It may have its roots in history, but Haynes Agricultural has its eye on the future and is building a team to take it there.
The long-established family business can trace its pedigree back to 1790, but that’s not what matters to 21st century customers, as agri operations director Adrian Woods explained.
“We know we have to deliver the right service for today’s customers, with a focus on technology, service and efficiency and an understanding of modern farming pressures and opportunities,” he explained.
“It’s the reasoning behind our recent changes in the sales and services teams across the group, all of which are designed to help us deliver a pro-active, highly focused and responsive service that reflects the complexity and capabilities of modern farming equipment.
“We have created a specialist fruit tractor sales position, brought in a demonstrator who is also a precision land management expert, strengthened our links with local agricultural colleges to ensure great recruitment opportunities and completely reorganised our sales and service teams.
“It’s a comprehensive package of measures that represents a positive investment in farming and in the future of Haynes Agricultural.”
While the dealership is closing in on its centenary, having sold its first tractor in 1921, the changes are geared up to take it well beyond 2021 and into the middle of this century and beyond.
The business is currently headed up by Haynes Bros managing director and chairman Andrew Haynes, who represents the sixth generation of the family-run concern that moved from London to Kent in 1832 and also oversees the company’s extensive car and truck operations.
Haynes Agricultural covers Kent, East Sussex and Surrey, from Chichester across to Dover, with depots in Uckfield, Great Chart near Ashford, Wrotham and Birchington.
As well as supplying New Holland, Vaderstad, Kuhn, McConnel, Honda, Stewart and Claydon machinery across the whole of the patch, Haynes Agricultural sells and looks after JCB and Krone equipment in East Sussex and Surrey and has the Case IH franchise for east Kent.
The New Holland and Case IH franchises come under the CNH Industrial banner as does Iveco, the company’s truck franchise, which makes Haynes Bros the only UK-based dealer to have such close links with this manufacturer.
“We pride ourselves on the quality of the franchises we are responsible for and we make sure our staff are fully trained to talk about, sell and look after every bit of equipment in the showroom,” Adrian commented.
As part of the company’s bid to position itself at the forefront of dealerships in the South East, Haynes Agricultural is extending its depot at Birchington, providing more workshop space at the premises, which are on the St Nicholas Court Farms site.
The location meant the team did not have to travel far to make Kent’s biggest tractor sale of 2016, when St Nicholas Court Farms took delivery of a 620 BHP Case IH Quadtrac with a list price of well over £400,000.
Another improvement about to come on stream is a brand new website that will feature daily stock updates on machinery for sale and will also be optimised for mobile phones and tablets. “It’s another investment in making sure Haynes Agricultural is geared up for the way people want to do business these days,” commented group sales manager Andi Taranczuk.
But it is in the field of people, not technology, where Haynes Agricultural is making the biggest changes as it focuses on the future.
Andi, who joined the company seven years ago as a sales executive and used machinery specialist before rising to become sales manager at Uckfield, has been given the job of heading up the new sales team and ensuring it is fit for purpose.
His appointment as group sales manager has allowed Haynes Agricultural to make another important strategic move by asking Jeremy Cloude, a long established and senior member of the team, to spearhead the dealer’s efforts in the specialist area of fruit and vine machinery.
While Jeremy will be seeking to establish the company as the leading supplier of New Holland’s all-new T4 FNV series to the region’s fruit and vine growers, Andi is ensuring that the dynamic new sales team has the customer focus and the technological know-how to meet the needs of modern farming customers.
“We have a young but experienced team that has the right approach and has grown up with the kind of technology that is now a fundamental part of the high-tech agricultural landscape,” said Andi. “We also make sure the team keeps up-to-date with training so that it can always offer current advice.
“Farming today is all about efficiency and about time and energy-saving technology, and that’s where our focus is.”
As well as Jeremy in the fruit specialist role, the Haynes Agricultural sales team now includes Sam Down, Ross Leech, Scott Vitler, Nigel Gransden, Quintin Waring and Trevor Slaughter.
“We have also appointed Tom Hubbard as demonstrator, precision land management and arable specialist,” said Andi.
“Tom will be able to offer specialist support to the rest of the sales team when it comes to our PLM offer and our larger arable machinery. As the technology gets more complex and machines get bigger, it is important to be able to demonstrate them properly, and it’s just not realistic to expect every member of the sales team to have the time to do this.
“Tom is also available to help customers set up machinery properly so that they can be confident that the new machine will deliver the results they were promised. It’s one thing to invest in new technology but it’s another to get it working at its best.
“We believe that if we want farmers to invest in technology that will save them time and money, we need to invest in the staff to make sure that technology is right for them and is working as it should.”
Andi pledged that the new sales team would have an unshakeable focus on good customer service and building rapport with farmers, adding: “In this business, relationships sell machinery.”
That focus on customer care extends to the service department, which is headed up by Rob Beddoe, who joined Haynes Agricultural from another dealership to become group service manager a year ago.
Having worked in the industry all his life and run his own business as an independent technician, Rob has a broad range of experience covering farm machinery of all kinds.
“We have charged Rob with continuing to develop a team that is capable of fixing modern machinery that needs as much expertise with a laptop as it does skill in handling a wrench,” explained Adrian Woods.
Rob will be supported by service controllers Nick Wright at Great Chart, James Singleton at Wrotham and Steve Flint at Uckfield, together with a strong back up team of 18 fully qualified, well-trained engineers and technicians.
“Service is key to success in this business,” commented Adrian. “The sales team can do a great job selling a customer the first piece of machinery, but without first-class backup and speedy repairs in the workshop, they won’t sell a second one.
“And it’s not just the technicians’ skills but the availability of parts too, that is important to our customers. That’s why we continue to invest in training, equipment and a first-rate parts service.”
With technology changing almost daily, Haynes Agricultural knows that a strong future depends on continuing to recruit talented new technicians, which is why it has been working closely with the two agricultural colleges at Hadlow and Plumpton for a number of years.
The company supports the college at open evenings and at other events and has developed very strong links with the lecturers and students, but while it’s good for the colleges Adrian is upfront about the motive.
“We want to be the first company that comes into the lecturers’ minds when they have a particularly good, A-grade student who is looking for a placement,” he commented. “We make no secret of the fact that we want first refusal of their best youngsters because we know that’s the only way we can stay ahead of the game.
“The future – and having the right staff in place to take us there – is always at the forefront of our mind, and it drives everything we do.”
As well as supporting careers evenings and running demonstration days, Haynes Agricultural has taken groups of youngsters to the New Holland factory. “Colleges can’t afford to buy the latest kit just to show students how it works,” Adrian explained.
“We are in a whole different game now, with technicians needing a new set of skills, particularly around IT. There is a shortage of top quality talent in the field and so we want to make sure who is available and can make a bid for the best students,” Adrian said. “It’s a partnership everyone does well out of.”
Haynes Agricultural takes students on as ‘improvers’ at the age of 18, essentially because, as Adrian explained, “after two years at college they are at the stage where we can take over to ensure they receive the manufacturer-based training that suits their chosen area of specialisation.”
The company is also working closely with Plumpton College on plans to set up a new ‘trailblazer’ apprenticeship in engineering, following November’s successful launch of a similar qualification in butchery.
“We are very lucky to have two local colleges to work and we want to take advantage of that by helping to train top technicians who will be great for the industry as a whole and Haynes Agricultural in particular,” Adrian said.
“We are committed to young people entering the industry, we are committed to our customers and we are committed to the future.”
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