CNH Industrial's seeding and tillage division is marking its 185th anniversary with a new brand leader and some new products in the wings.
David Gibson is the new brand leader and he's excited about what's ahead for the three brands in the seeding and tillage stable - Horwood Bagshaw, K-Line Ag and Flexi-Coil.
"Horwood Bagshaw is arguably the oldest ongoing ag brand in the country, and we'll celebrate its 185th anniversary in October, and then there's K-Line, which had its 30th anniversary this year, and continues to go from strength to strength, while Flexi-Coil is a quality, world-class product, ideally suited to Australian conditions," he said.
"It's a real honour to be responsible for these brands because they're genuine performers in the seeding and tillage space, and the potential to continue to grow the product offerings, and their market reach, is enormous."
Mr Gibson, who has served in several roles with CNH Industrial across 17 years, has hit the ground running, with he and his team holding a product training event for Case IH and New Holland dealers at Mannum, South Australia, in September, the first seeding and tillage product training in more than three years.
Horwood Bagshaw's manufacturing base is in Mannum, and the training event coincided with the brand's 185th birthday celebrations.
Horwood Bagshaw products, and K-Line Ag's range, are all designed and manufactured in Australia, bucking the trend in Australia of companies relocating their manufacturing off-shore.
"This anniversary milestone of Horwood Bagshaw is something we really wanted to celebrate, because the brand is truly one of the pioneers of agricultural machinery progress and innovation in Australia and we're so proud of the fact that when a customer invests in one of its products, they can know they're supporting an Australian product, that's been designed and made with the needs of Australian farmers front of mind," Mr Gibson said.
"CNH Industrial maintains two large engineering teams at both Mannum and Cowra, NSW - where K-Line Ag's manufacturing plant is based - where they're working consistently on new products and product improvements to help drive innovation in Australian farm machinery.
"It also means our dealers, via our seeding and tillage team, can provide feedback from customers directly to our engineers and potential updates can be implemented, and implemented relatively quickly. It gives us an ability that not a lot of other mainline manufacturers in the ag space in Australia actually have."
Ongoing investment from CNH Industrial has included significant recent upgrades to the Mannum manufacturing plant, with new equipment and increased staffing numbers driving increased productivity, quality improvements and product testing across the Horwood Bagshaw range.
With the challenge of employee recruitment and retention right across the agriculture sector at present, Mr Gibson said the investment in the Mannum site was also an investment in current and future staffing levels.
"Employee satisfaction is really important, and has a big part to play in finding the right staff, and then keeping those staff," he said.
"We want people to be proud of where they work; it's about creating a great culture in a modern and well-equipped workplace that's focused on delivering the highest quality products to the customer and when we do that, our staff feel a lot of pride."
In the coming months, there are a number of new products set to be launched across the seeding and tillage ranges, and the team is focused on continuing to raise the profile of the Horwood Bagshaw, K-Line and Flexi-Coil brands.
"We're looking to push these brands to new levels, showing customers the features they offer and how that can improve productivity and efficiencies in their businesses," Mr Gibson said.
"And, we'll also be engaging more with our dealer network, and through them our customers, on the features and improvements they would like to see in these products.
"The customer experience is our highest priority, so I want to ensure a customer who reaches out to one of our brands gets the best experience they can possibly have, and in turn help them to get the most they can out of their machinery."