CLAAS Harvest Centre, Otago has announced the appointment of Daniel Scoles to the role of Dealer Principal as part of a succession plan that will eventually see him take over the family-owned dealership.
Daniel has almost nearly 20 years’ experience in the farm machinery sector, including the past four years as Dealer Principal with Power Farming Otago.
Landpower CEO, Richard Wilson, says the announcement will ensure the continuity of one of the country’s oldest CLAAS dealerships. “Steve and Jo Scoles have built one of Otago’s largest and most successful farm machinery dealerships over the past 27 years,” Richard says. “We are delighted that the business is set to remain in family hands and that Daniel has re-joined the CLAAS Harvest Centre network. Daniel knows the farm machinery business from all angles and has the runs on the board as a Dealer Principal. Steve and Jo will remain actively involved in the business, which is great news for their team and their customers. We see great long-term opportunities for professionally-managed and independently-owned dealerships in the CLAAS Harvest Centre network, such as Otago.”
Daniel joined his family’s business in 2002 after spending a season with a contracting team. He initially worked as workshop and parts administrator before progressing to parts and then sales manager, interspersed with stints at CLAAS UK, Cooke Howlinson Limited and Landpower Southland.
In 2016, he left to become Area Sales Manager with Groeneveld Lubrication Solutions and then Dealer Principal with Power Farming Otago. “I’d been with Landpower and CLAAS Harvest Centre on and off for about 15 years and it was time to get out, learn new things and take on a leadership role on my own,” he says.
Daniel says he is looking forward to returning to the CLAAS Harvest Centre network. “I’ve grown up with this business – it’s been so much of my career and family life,” he says. “I really love the machinery and the people, two things I definitely missed in the roles I have had outside the farm machinery industry.”
Daniel, who has completed a diploma of business, sees plenty of opportunities for growth. “We have the Otago region covered geographically, so the real opportunity is to grow the product while maintaining our current customer base,” he says. “The CLAAS, AMAZONE and JCB ranges have increased significantly over the past 20 years and are continuing to do so. In the meantime, our focus will remain on providing the best service to our customers so they don’t want to go anywhere else.”
His father, Steve Scoles, worked as a farm machinery service technician for 15 years before he established his own business in 1993.
“I started servicing tractors from the back of my ute,” he says. “Within a couple of months, two other mechanics were working with me from a small workshop in Momona. Pretty soon we were selling second-hand machinery and by the end of the first year, we chalked up our first major sale, a CLAAS QUADRANT square baler. We became the first Landpower franchise in New Zealand in 1995 and built our workshop and showroom at Allanton three years later.”
Landpower Otago was rebadged as a CLAAS Harvest Centre in 2010. A second branch was opened in Wanaka in 2013 and then a service hub in Ranfurly followed in 2019.
Steve attributes the growth of the business to having a strong customer focus. “Being local and family-owned means we have a totally different way of doing business and how we treat our customers,” he says. “My customers know that they can call me and that I will either answer their call or get back to them as soon as I can. Jo and I will remain actively involved in the business – just not 70 hours a week!”
More than two thirds of the dealership’s 28 staff are engaged in service roles. “Service has always been the backbone of our business and it’s still as important as ever,” Steve says. “Anyone can sell a machine but if you want to make another sale, then you have to provide service. “A big part of being able to do this is finding quality staff, training them and then keeping them. We are big believers in apprenticeships – we want them to start with us and then stay with us.”