OPERATOR TRAINING ADDS VALUE TO DEALER SERVICE
By Ian Jones
West Midlands-based groundcare dealer Parks & Grounds Machinery Limited has built a strong reputation over the years by providing a professional and friendly service. However, within such a competitive marketplace, it is vital to keep up-to-date with the changing requirements of a more sophisticated client base and then plan ahead to constantly improve the level of customer service.
In many segments of the agricultural and garden machinery market, offering a full range of equipment, world class after sales service and competitive retail finance options is no longer sufficient. Many customers, particularly those working in the public sector, are demanding that little bit extra; professional operator training which fulfils increasingly stringent legal obligations.
In response to this situation - and with the encouragement of BAGMA - this well known John Deere dealership embarked upon an ambitious programme to develop an in-house training service. Three years later and David Tullett, Parks & Grounds director, is thought to be the only fully qualified professional groundcare operator assessor in the area. Picture shows Parks & Grounds director David Tullett (second from right) overseeing an operator training course for Bromsgrove Council's Contract Service Division.
"We initially identified the need to provide a complete 'turnkey' service, encompassing supply, training and maintenance, principally aimed at local authority employees and their contractors," says David.
"These customers face a unique set of challenges, as it is often unrealistic to exclude members of the public from the worksite. In these circumstances, there is a particular duty of care on employers to ensure that the operators of equipment - such as heavy duty professional mowers - are trained to the appropriate standard.
"With the support of BAGMA - and working closely with LANTRA as the awarding body - we embarked upon a development programme to enable Parks & Grounds Machinery to deliver approved operator training courses.
"However, we also recognised the need to take this strategy one step further, to allow us to professionally assess the competency of the candidates, using an industry approved testing procedure. This allows us to offer a true 'one stop machinery shop' to those customers who invest heavily in preventative health and safety measures."
BAGMA's director general, Ian Jones, adds: "In many ways, what this innovative dealer has achieved could be used as a benchmark for the rest of our industry. After identifying an opportunity to add value to their business, the appropriate external assistance was sought and an ambitious investment plan was developed and then successfully implemented.
"There can be no doubt that this is an investment in the future, not only for the benefit of Parks & Grounds, but also for their customers and ultimately the local community. We must never forget that safety starts before you turn the key."
For further details please contact Ian Jones at BAGMA on tel: 0870 205 2834