Focused on the future

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Although conditions in the agricultural machinery sector continued to be difficult, the family-owned Austrian firm of Pöttinger has managed to increase sales by 2 percent to EUR 308 million in the last financial year.

In the 2016/17 business year, prices for agricultural produce – in particular milk and grain – remained relatively low equating to stagnant income levels for most farmers. This was reflected in cautious level of investment. However, thanks to an innovative product portfolio and the steady expansion of its international activities, Pöttinger was able to offset this general market development.

With 58 percent, grassland is the most important sales sector, followed by tillage and seed drill technology at around 27 percent. Compared to last year Pöttinger achieved an increase of 5 percent in the grassland sector. In tillage and seed drill technology, on the other hand, market conditions were very difficult: grain prices were under severe pressure throughout the whole year. This affected machinery sales which recorded a slight fall. Compared to the year before, the original spare parts business made a positive contribution (plus 5 percent), with the new spare parts logistics centre accounting for a significant share.

Some markets felt the difficult market conditions more strongly while others developed positively: the top 5 countries where sales increased – in terms of absolute figures for machinery sales compared to the year before – are the export markets Ukraine, Great Britain, Sweden, Australia and the Czech Republic. In terms of sales growth as a percentage, on the other hand, the export markets Sweden, Belarus, Denmark, Ukraine and Australia recorded above average increases.

To keep pace with the expansion of international sales markets and the constantly growing demands made on agricultural machinery, Pöttinger has invested vast sums in its facilities in recent years. The seed drill plant in Bernburg (DE) and the machinery plant in Vodnany (CZ) have both expanded and updated to the very latest standards and administration offices have been built at the company’s headquarters, setting a new course for the future. With investment costs of EUR 25 million the production layout has been reorganised, adding 12,000 sqm of space for manufacturing and logistics designed to support future growth.

Besides machinery, the prompt supply of spare parts is central to the success of farmers and contractors and Pottinger see an efficient logistics concept is a key factor to providing the best possible customer service. It is for this reason that Pöttinger invested EUR 14 million in a new, hypermodern logistics centre for spare parts in Taufkirchen (AT) last year. The logistics centre guarantees availability for approximately 50,000 spare and wear parts stored there. Every day, up to 800 customer orders are processed, and 3.5 million items of various kinds are shipped worldwide every year.

“When we develop products we think in our customers’ dimensions,” says management spokesman Heinz Pöttinger. “A high level of crop and ground protection, out-standing working results, operational safety and cost-effectiveness. Because our focus is always on the customer we have become international specialists in the forage harvesting, tillage, seed bed preparation and seed drill technology sectors whose products are not restricted to just one tractor brand.” He goes on: “With our investment in our production facilities and technology we are fit for the future and will continue to pursue our successful strategy in cooperation with our customers and sales partners.”

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