"My hope for Agrovista Amenity is that the industry welcomes what it's trying to be - a science-based company offering real solutions to customers and adding value wherever possible."
John Marland has been integral in the development of the newly formed Agrovista Amenity. With more than 25 years' experience in the industry, John claims that the launch of the new company is his proudest moment yet. In this exclusive Q&A, John explains what Agrovista Amenity truly represents and why the industry should start getting excited.
Now Agrovista Amenity has officially launched, how do you think it's going so far?
We're right in the depths of integration now, and that always presents a challenge, but it's going as well as we expected. There's a great team within the Agrovista business, and this isn't the first integration project that they've worked on - they're well versed in integrating businesses into our internal system.
We've had a fantastic reception from both customers and suppliers - people really understand why we did it and what we are trying to do. It's not about buying another business, it's about finding the right business that helps you to create what you're trying to achieve in the industry - a business that can service all the marketplace whether it's online, by telephone or by face-to-face.
What does the new organisation look like?
As you can imagine, there were two existing structures that needed to come together, and we've certainly made progress. It may well be early days, but the thing that excites me is that we have a national sales team that rivals any in the market. As we start to turn the strategy into reality there will be a whole new level of customer support, whether that be internet support, field sales or telephone support.
What does this mean for customers?
Customers come first and that's the primary motivation - not just for Agrovista Amenity, but for Agrovista as a whole. There's no need for us to radically hike prices just because two businesses have come together - that's not a consequence or a motivation. The industry regulates the industry and we are part of that. We hope that our uplift, if you like, will be increased by efficiencies and bigger critical mass. We're not expecting the customer to finance us - it will just be a case of being better at what we do.
The teams came together at the launch of Agrovista Amenity
What are your hopes for the Agrovista Amenity business and in turn, your role?
My hope for Agrovista Amenity is that the industry welcomes what it's trying to be - a science-based company offering real solutions to customers and adding value wherever possible. Inevitably there will be changes within my role, but I just want to see this group of people maximise their potential and help them to become all they can be.
What do you think are the current industry challenges?
It's a lack of solutions for challenges. I think soil-borne pests are becoming a real issue. We're really starting to witness the effects of a lack of chemistry and an expediential rise in issues caused by the likes of leatherjackets and chafer grubs.
Also, I think we still face the same challenges that arise due to a lack of investment in green spaces, or government provided green spaces. I would love to see this market come together and try and approach government to increase standards in local-level sports facilities. I have coached youth football for nearly ten years now, and I've seen that although people work hard, the standards just aren't good enough because there isn't enough money there.
I think that we need to work harder as an industry to raise our profile and the value of what we do. However, as I sit here today, the weather is top of the agenda. I'm very conscious that the greenkeepers and the grounds people of the industry are adept at facing challenges from weather, but the constant wetness is becoming unbearable.
Do you see any potential growth areas?
I think there needs to be an acknowledgement of the fact that amenity has a lot of markets within it, and we see fit to grow in all of them because we just need to be better than everybody else out there.
Is the development of Agrovista Amenity a career highlight?
I've been in the industry for more than 25 years but seeing Agrovista Amenity launch to the team and the market must be one of my biggest career highlights. This is because of the size, scale and magnitude of the business that we now have.
Also, in terms of highlights, I take huge pleasure in seeing how far some of the younger members of the team have progressed. Seeing people succeed within the business that we have is really a highlight. I don't think you can take too much value in personal achievement. It's more about what we have achieved collectively over the time we have been in the marketplace.