With the stocking crisis
by Service Dealer Editor, Steve Gibbs
Steve Gibbs

That's what a dealer told us this week in a panel discussion which covered the supply situation, how the cost of living crisis is impacting their dealerships and the future for shows.


Service Dealer held one of our regular video conference calls with a selection of dealers from around the country on Wednesday this week.


A mixture of domestic, commercial and agricultural machinery specialists joined us for a frank and open discussion covering topical issues faced in their dealerships - and we thank them all for their time and their candour.


Stock problems persist


It will come as no surprise to any dealer reading this today that the subject which is still primary in the thoughts of all, is the ongoing problems regarding supply of stock. It's a subject we've discussed many times, but the fact remains it's the single greatest hindrance to the running of businesses that dealers of all sizes and specialisms are facing right now - and unfortunately it doesn't appear to be reaching a resolution any time soon.


We were told that dealers are "fed up to the back teeth" with the whole situation. It is frustrating, time consuming and quite simply bad for business. We heard that whilst many customers are resigned to waiting, some orders are being cancelled. There were worries that the season would be over before kit that has been on order for months (since last year in some cases) arrives in store.


There's no doubt there's customer demand out there, with dealers having plenty of orders on file. Some we're told, had their largest ledger of orders they've ever seen - however the absolute bugbear, is turning those orders into invoices.


Some dealers told us they felt the situation had improved a little, with trickles of machinery coming through, but it was in no way ideal and definitely inadequate to meet the level of demand seen in store. We heard that sometimes when orders do arrive, they will be incomplete. Garden tractors without a deck for example. Chargers but no batteries. That kind of thing.


As ever, there's a clear understanding in the network as to why these problems are persisting, however when explaining to customers either face-to-face or over the phone, it is not getting any easier to keep them happy.


There seemed to be a genuine resignation amongst the dealers we spoke to that these problems will continue throughout next year. They felt they are going to be dealing with delays, and keeping up with rapid pricing changes, for some serious time to come.


Also as discussed before, communications from manufacturers and suppliers is seen as key to helping dealers through this tough time. And as also discussed before, some appear to be much better at keeping their network up-to-date than others. There were frustrations voiced at some suppliers for sending letters essentially saying 'we don't know when you'll receive anything' - which is not the same as a constant dialogue to make sure dealers are as informed as possible and able to update their customers.


Fixing the situation that appears to have been exacerbated by years of reliance on the 'just in time' production philosophy, is of course an ambition beyond the means of dealers. A suggestion that was floated though, to help avoid a similar situation in the future, was that government needs to aid UK manufacturing to enable the country to be less reliant on parts and components from abroad. If we as a nation were more self-sufficient in producing parts to keep machinery running, it was felt this would greatly help the situation.


Combating the crisis


The discussion turned to the hot topic of the moment, the cost of living crisis - and specifically if the dealers on the call were making any changes to their businesses in order to help combat its effects?


We heard talk of the continuation of digital marketing techniques that had been picked up throughout lockdown (don't forget you can access tips and advice along these lines in the Dealer Digital Toolkit) and of trying to go as paperless as possible in the dealership.


One dealer talked of how they had until now absorbed collection and delivery costs to their customers, but what with the increases in fuel prices this was something they could no longer continue. A surcharge was being added to cover these higher costs.


Also we heard of the adoption of more aggressive pricing policies. Dealers were not feeling the need to give discounts and were not being swayed in their decisions by what the online-only retailers are offering. As stock is not readily available anywhere, dealers believed that customers are learning it's worth their while to pay a premium for a premium service.


Conversely we were also told, that as business had been so crazy busy these past few months, being able to take a step back and look at where savings could potentially be made in the dealership, had not been a luxury that some had been able to afford. It was felt that if circumstances did slow down, perhaps through customers feeling the pinch not interacting with the business quite so much, this would then be a task worth spending some time on.


Future for shows


Finally, following mixed reports coming out of the recent LAMMA exhibition in terms of how valuable big national shows might be, a conversation around the future of trade exhibitions was held.


Whilst it was felt that it was important for major brands that dealers represent to be present at the large, national shows (companies are always more conspicuous by their absence than their attendance), what sounded of greater importance to our dealer panel was the desire for local county or agricultural shows to prosper.


Dealers on the whole still wanted to have a presence at these, both to perhaps sell goods, or more importantly to others, to raise their own brand profile locally. Flying the flag for the dealership at these events, was still seen as great PR. Also another key consideration was the offering of valuable support. Without dealerships championing them, there was a fear that these shows and societies could die off. 


An interesting point raised was that there could be considerable pent-up enthusiasm from the general public to attend a local show this year due to their absence during the pandemic. It was perhaps felt this could lead to the showgrounds being absolutely swamped with potential customers this summer. So maybe this was a key year for dealers to attend? Although having stock to display and sell could be a real issue of course!


A possible way around this problem of having no machinery to publicise it was suggested, could be the holding of demo days at the dealers' own premises. If struggling for stock, machines could be borrowed from loyal customers to show off what hopefully would be back in stock at some point!


Again, Service Dealer would like to thank the dealers who took part in our discussion this week and we look forward to catching up again soon.

Prizes presented at dealer dinner
One of the winning dealerships

In this week's WEB ONLY story a major manufacturer has recognised the efforts of UK and Ireland dealers to support their customers, build their businesses and boost the brand’s sales.


Ukrainian Initiative donation
Project Linus

Following April's fundraising, Service Dealer has contributed a portion of the £4,000 raised to the volunteer organisation that provide a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers.


Following April's Ukrainian Initiative fundraising, Service Dealer has contributed a portion of the collected monies to Project Linus.



The volunteer organisation provides a sense of security and comfort to sick and traumatised babies, children and teenagers through the provision of new, homemade patchwork quilts and knitted blankets.


The organisation's Ani Catt said, "Many thanks for your lovely donation to Project Linus UK Oxfordshire - greatly appreciated!  We provide free patchwork quilts to children 0-19yrs old who are going through a difficult time and need and extra hug or two.


"We are proud to support the Ukrainian families arriving in UK, with quilts for the children and also Welcome Bags for mums, granmas, aunties and single women being hosted in Oxfordshire. Your contribution enables us to continue supporting families throughout Oxfordshire so again - thank you very much!"


More news of donation allocation next week!

Overall Dealer Of The Year
The winner dealership has reacted to their win

Following their most successful year to date, dealership gives their reaction to winning major supplier's top honour.


As reported last week, New Holland has announced the winners of its 2021 UK and Ireland Dealers of the Year.


Angus Doe, managing director of Ernest Doe & Sons


Following their most successful year to date, taking the title of Overall Dealer Of The Year were Ernest Doe & Sons. The dealership have now said how delighted they are to win this accolade in recognition of their dedication and commitment to their customers and the New Holland brand.


Angus Doe, managing director, said, “We are delighted to receive this award which is testament to the hard work and sustained efforts of our team, both customer-facing and behind the scenes. It is vitally important that our customers receive a good experience and our team works hard to continuously improve this through every part of our business."


He continued, “Our relationship with New Holland spans almost 90 years, having first started dealing in Fordson Tractors in the 1930s. Over the years they have led the way as innovative pioneers of the agricultural industry, and we are proud to represent this market leading brand and be able to offer its impressive portfolio of machinery to our customers.”


With 10 New Holland depots, Ernest Doe serves the whole of East Anglia and they say they achieved strong sales performance across New Holland tractors, combines, telehandlers and implements during 2021.


Pat Smith, New Holland business director for the UK and Ireland, said, “The purpose of these awards is to acknowledge and reward the performance and effort that our dealers put into the service they provide to our customers. The past two years have presented a unique challenge, not just in the agricultural machinery sector, but to all of us.


"That 2021 was a very successful year for New Holland and our dealers shows the excellent teamwork across our whole dealer network.”

Latest figures released
April's tractor registrations were up on a year ago

According to data from the AEA, for the first time this year, the number of agricultural tractors registered in April was higher than in the same month last year.


According to data from the AEA, for the first time this year, the number of agricultural tractors registered in April was higher than in the same month last year.


At 1152 machines, the monthly total was 14% higher than in April 2021, although it was close to the average for the time of year in the previous five years. 


Stephen Howarth, agricultural economist at the AEA, said, "Delivery lead times for tractors remain extended due to multiple supply chain challenges and registrations would no doubt have been higher in recent months otherwise.


"The total for the year to date is now less than 2% lower than in the opening four months of last year, at 4,199 machines."


7 extra acres
Expanded outdoor demo area

Organisers say the expansion will allow more exhibitors to feature working demos of their equipment.


Equip Exposition (formerly GIE+EXPO), the international trade show based in Louisville, Kentucky has expanded its Outdoor Demo Yard - adding more than seven acres for outdoor exhibits at this edition.



“Year after year, attendees tell us that the Outdoor Demo Yard is one of the most valuable parts of the show,” said Kris Kiser, president of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which owns and manages Equip Exposition.


“Outdoor booths are always at a premium, and adding this highly visible space inside the main gates will allow longtime indoor exhibitors to move outdoors for the first time.”


Registration is now open for this year’s event, which takes place October 18-21.

Alerting gardeners
Be Hedgehog Aware

Every lawnmower and strimmer coming off their production line will now include a ‘Be Hedgehog Aware’ sticker on it.


Hyundai Power Products have agreed that every lawnmower and strimmer coming off their production line will now include a ‘Be Hedgehog Aware’ sticker on it.



The company are collaborating with teenage hedgehog champion Dylan Allman age 15 from Monmouth, who has been working tirelessly for the last two years raising awareness of the plight of the hedgehog.


Dylan believes that for mower producers just putting a sticker on a box isn’t enough. He says, “People don’t keep boxes that equipment comes in, and they need to be reminded to look for hedgehogs every time they’re about to strim or mow. A sticker on the actual piece of equipment reminds the gardener to check for hedgehogs first, which means they are much less likely to be injured if they’re discovered before strimming or mowing begins."


Many hedgehogs suffer injuries each year from gardening equipment because people forget to check before they start to strim and mow, so when Dylan contacted Roland Llewellin, md of Genpower Ltd, a UK distributor of Hyundai Power Products to tell them about his campaign and ambitious plans for the stickers, Roland says he couldn’t help but be impressed. “We are delighted for Hyundai Power Products to be working with Dylan and his ‘Hedgehog Aware’ campaign," he explained. "It’s a very worthwhile cause and also very inspiring to see someone of Dylan’s age driving this forward.


"The first batch of machines with the stickers on have just come off the production line, and we can’t wait to get those out to the UK’s gardeners and start making a difference to helping reduce the number of hedgehogs injured in gardens.”


Grace Johnson, hedgehog officer for Hedgehog Street (a joint campaign between wildlife charities People’s Trust for Endangered Species and The British Hedgehog Preservation Society) added, “Dylan is a fantastic hedgehog champion who is really making a difference for hedgehogs. We are thrilled that Hyundai Power Products are supporting Dylan, and we hope many other organisations follow suit and ensure that anyone using their products are ‘hedgehog aware’ when out gardening.” 

Expanding product lineup
Some of the Cornthwaite team

Dealership's sales and service team have undertaken training on the range and say they are looking forward to getting them out to customers.


Opico Ltd has announced the expansion of its partnership with Cornthwaite Group, who have added the German engineered Strautmann range of forage and feeding wagons to their product lineup.


The Cornthwaite Group sales team with (left to right in foreground) Stuart Cornthwaite, Charles Bedforth (Opico Ltd) and David Lawson (Cornthwaite Group)


Cornthwaite Group is already an Opico dealer, selling and servicing the Maschio Gaspardo range. The dealership operates throughout the north-west and into south-west Scotland, with depots in Nantwich, Bispham Green, Kendal, Carlisle and Dumfries.
Commenting, Charles Bedforth, Opico sales director said, “We couldn’t be more delighted that Strautmann will be represented by the Cornthwaite Group and we are confident that all our customers will continue to receive excellent support.”
Stuart Cornthwaite, managing director of Cornthwaite Group, added, “The Strautmann range of forage and feeding wagons are a valuable addition to our machinery portfolio. Our sales and service team have already undertaken comprehensive training on the range and are looking forward to getting the machines out to our customers for demonstrations in the upcoming season.”

Takes on new range
Lister Wilder have taken on a new range

Move means dealer broadens their line-up within the western part of their territory.


Lister Wilder have announced a new partnership with Atlas Copco Power Technique to supply its range of mobile construction products with immediate effect.


The Kubota dealer holds the main franchise for Kubota products inclusive of the construction range. This new addition of products will enable the dealer to extend its offering to customers within this industry in the specified area.

The product range available from Lister Wilder will consist of air compressors, e-air electric compressors, pneumatic, hydraulic and petrol driven handheld products, generators, pumps, and lighting towers.


The dealership has been awarded the areas of Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and Wiltshire, with salesman Richard North representing the company.

Charlie King, managing director at Lister Wilder, said, “We are really excited to be partnering with Atlas as we broaden our construction line-up.” .

Gayle Palmer, business line manager at Atlas Copco said, “We’re very excited to be entering this new agreement with Lister Wilder. As a family-owned company we really appreciate and align with the values that they have at the heart of their business; to provide excellent service to their customers for all machinery and equipment needs in not only construction, but also agriculture, groundcare and arboriculture. And with dedicated teams for these specific market sectors, we really believe that Lister Wilder can open doors to customers that may not already be familiar with our products. We look forward to working together and building on the early successes that we’ve already seen.”

At awards ceremony
Professor Jane Rickson

Three IAgrE members have received awards for their outstanding contribution to the land-based sector at a ceremony held at the Claas UK hq.


Three IAgrE members, who are experts in their own field, have received awards for their outstanding contribution to the land-based sector at a ceremony held at the Claas UK headquarters in Little Saxham, Suffolk.



Professor Jane Rickson was made an Honorary Fellow of IAgrE for her work which focuses on understanding soil functions and their role in the delivery of ecosystems goods and services, including water regulation, agricultural production and carbon storage.


Professor Rickson was President of the Institution from 2018 to 2020, which coincided with an important government focus on reform of agricultural policy with the concept of farm subsidies being linked to ‘public good.’


“Jane has been committed to supporting IAgrE in its work to promote the wider agricultural engineering discipline, as it relates to food security. Her passion for the topic was undoubtedly influential in shaping government thinking and public awareness of soil and the need for protection,” said Charlie Nicklin CEO of IAgrE.



Dr David Lewellyn who is a Fellow of IAgrE received an award for his contribution to the land-based sector. “Dr Llewellyn has made a huge contribution to work in the land-based sector, which was recognised when it was announced in the 2022 New Year Honours list that he was to be made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his service to higher education, agriculture and rural industries,” said Mr Nicklin. “During his leadership Harper Adams University has become regarded in the UK as the leading provider of higher education for the land-based sector,” Charlie added.



Director of Tillett and Hague Technology Ltd, Dr Nick Tillett received an Award of Merit for his work relating to in-field guidance and the control of systems for plant scale husbandry.    


Dr Tillett joined Silsoe Research Institute as a research engineer in 1984 where he worked on a range of projects including those concerned with robotic milking and the automated harvesting of cauliflowers. Following the closure of Silsoe Research he formed Tillett and Hague Technology with Tony Hague in 2005 to continue the successful line of research using computer vision to guide field machinery. Their idea of using a synchronised rotating blade in regularly spaced crops to remove weeds between crop plants  in the row was developed collaboratively and the first commercial in-row weeding machines were sold in 2008.


The awards were made by the new President of IAgrE Steve Constable.

Red Dot design prize

The award is determined by an international design jury who, this year, evaluated a record number of international entries.


Steyr, a regional agricultural brand of CNH Industrial has been awarded the 2022 Red Dot Design Award for its Terrus CVT Tractor.



The award is determined by an international design jury who, this year, evaluated a record number of international entries.


As a winner in the Product Design category, the Terrus CVT will feature in the next edition of the Red Dot Design Yearbook and will be present in the winners’ area of www.red-dot.org.


The new Terrus CVT tractor is described by the company as ".. blending a bold and rugged exterior design with a premium interior focused on operator comfort and ergonomics. In the cab, a passenger seat can also serve as an office table and the all-new Multicontroller III armrest is customisable to user preference or application requirements, making operation more intuitive, more enjoyable, and ultimately more productive."

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