CLAAS Harvest Centre Waikato Expansion
ONE of Australasia’s largest privately-owned farm machinery distributor, Landpower, has commissioned the construction of a new $10 million sales, service, parts and administration complex adjacent to Hamilton Airport.
Landpower represents some of the world’s leading brands of farm machinery, including CLAAS, AMAZONE and JCB, via a network of 32 company-owned and franchised CLAAS Harvest Centres on both sides of the Tasman.
Located on Airport Road, the three hectare site will become the new home of CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato and a parts, training and demonstration hub for five other dealerships in the North Island.
Landpower CEO, Richard Wilson, says the new complex is a major investment that will underpin increasing demand for high performance farm machinery and after-sales service and support. “Hamilton is our largest dealership in the North Island and has developed a solid business based on forage harvesting technology,” Richard says.
“This expansion will spearhead the continued growth in sales of our extensive range of front-line tractors, material handling and feeding equipment.
“Our mission is to help gear up our customers for success.
“It’s not just about having the best machinery but also providing an unmatched level of after-sales service to keep those machines operating at peak performance throughout the year.
“A large part of that relies on finding and developing quality staff – people who front up, are happy to work together and are willing to go the extra mile for our customers.
“Providing a purpose-built, well-equipped workplace and ongoing training allows quality people to meet that challenge.”
Waikato Branch Manager, Craig Norton, who has worked within the CLAAS Harvest Centre network for more than 30 years, says the new complex will be a welcome upgrade. “We’ve been operating from our current location at Melville for more than 20 years and we’ve certainly outgrown it,” he says.
“Hamilton has grown significantly during that time and accessibility has become a real issue for our customers and staff.
“As well as massively increasing our capacity, this new location will provide significant advantages in being adjacent to the airport and providing ready access to all of the major link roads out of the city.
“Plus, we’re directly opposite the main entrance to the National Fieldays site, which will give us enormous exposure to our customers during one of the biggest events on the farming calendar.”
Stage One includes construction of a six-bay service workshop, a 1000 square metre parts warehouse and a 700 square metre showroom, administration and training centre. Outside will be a 6500 square metre ‘hard stand’ comprising landscaped concrete, asphalt and gravel areas and a one hectare product demonstration and training area.
Riverside Studios Director and architectural designer, Mark Enderwick, says the state-of-the-art complex has been purpose-designed to showcase Landpower’s commitment to after-sales service. “Landpower didn’t want a concrete shed with an office attached but rather something that shows how they approach things differently,” Mark says.
“Their brief was driven by quality, service and transparency.
“They want their customers to have complete confidence that their machines are not just the best in class, but are fully supported with the utmost professionalism and care.”
Visitors will enter the complex via a large, glass-fronted showroom with polished concrete and a sharp black ceiling. A glass bay overlooking the service bay will enable visitors to see their machines being serviced, as well as a remote diagnostics facility that enables technicians to monitor the location, operating performance and potential service requirements of any CLAAS, JCB or AMAZONE machine fitted with telematics in New Zealand. Stage Two of construction will include the addition of two more service bays and further parts storage.
Hamilton-based construction firm, Apollo Projects, has already commenced groundworks and completion is expected by next autumn.
CLAAS Harvest Centre, Waikato traces its roots back to well-known former local business, A.M. Bisley & Co, which was established as a seed, grain and produce store on the corner of Ward and Alexandra Streets in Hamilton in 1920. In time, the company became a significant importer, manufacturer and distributor of farm machinery, including CLAAS, at one stage operating 10 dealerships in the North and South Islands.
In 1987, Bisley’s farm machinery business was acquired by Farmrite, an Invercargill-based farm machinery importer and distributor established by Herby and Pam Whyte in 1975.
In 1995, Farmrite was rebadged as Landpower, which by this stage operated 12 franchises and about 50 independent dealers throughout Australia and New Zealand.
In 2008, the Landpower franchises, including Landpower Waikato, were progressively rebadged as CLAAS Harvest Centres.