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Future-driven Wacker Neuson opens its first Training Academy on the African continent

Wacker Neuson, a leading global light and compact equipment manufacturer, proudly announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art Training Academy and Telematics Centre during an auspicious open day on June 3rd 2022 that also celebrated the South African subsidiary’s 40th anniversary on African soil.

The Training Academy, which officially opens on 1st July 2022, can accommodate up to 80 delegates and will offer both theoretical and practical training to Wacker Neuson dealers as well as to key customers. Training certificates will be awarded to successful delegates. An external demonstration area adjacent to the Academy offers a unique opportunity for delegates to get a hands-on feel by putting a Wacker Neuson skid-steer, excavator, wheel loader and dump truck through their paces. The Training Academy is also equipped with a canteen and is available for rental.

Wacker Neuson also unveiled its telematics solution EquipCare to customers and dealers during the open day. This smart system monitors the health of Wacker Neuson compact equipment on a daily basis, enabling Wacker Neuson to proactively advise customers when machine service is due. EquipCare also identifies potential issues such as overheating and high idling that cause unnecessary wear and tear and even premature breakdowns.

When Dennis Vietze took over the reins as Managing Director for Wacker Neuson Sub-Saharan Africa in June 2017, he recognised that, given the region’s massive geographical footprint, a direct sales approach was simply not conducive to good business growth. Subsequently, a new strategy was needed. Vietze subsequently started the journey of an indirect sales approach through the establishment of an extensive dealer network as an effective route to market. He explains that the dealers’ strategic location across the territory situates them close to customers. “Our dealers are able to rapidly get products and services to customers, even in remote locations, limiting downtime. This aligns perfectly with Wacker Neuson’s customer-oriented ethos.”

“We identified as potential dealers, small- to medium-sized entrepreneurs who shared our passion in the construction equipment space, focussing on the construction, agriculture and forestry sectors,” continues Vietze. “Our strategy is to assist smaller companies to grow into multi-million plus operations, through the right support in terms of Wacker Neuson products, training, guidance and advice.” Wacker Neuson’s current dealership network includes 46 dealers in South Africa as well as in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, with a dealer in Tanzania soon to come on board.

Traditionally Wacker Neuson South Africa’s focus has been 80% construction and 20% agriculture. Having successfully forged a solid dealer representation in the construction sector, Wacker Neuson is now turning its attention to the local agricultural industry. “While we have enjoyed some success in this industry with our range of highly suited equipment and attachments, we want to expand our light and compact equipment footprint in this sector, effectively increasing our focus to 80% in this space. Our new agri-dealer, who is a prominent retailer of leading global agricultural, golf and turf equipment and construction brands in Africa and Australia, will help us to step up our foothold in Southern Africa’s agricultural industry.”

The flexibility of Wacker Neuson’s compact, high quality, robust carriers is further enhanced by the wide range of attachments that are available. Vietze reveals a recent partnership signed with Austrian and Italian companies for the supply of attachments. This application is relevant to both the agricultural and forestry sectors.

Vietze astutely used the protracted lockdown period during the Covid-19 pandemic to invest in stock, the Training Academy as well as in machines and equipment. “It was not an easy time for us,” admits Vietze. “We came up with some creative ways of doing business but we still felt the effects of the subsequent economic downturn and we had our fair share of challenges. I wish to give a shout-out to my team for their unwavering commitment, dedication and hard work. At times it felt like trying to steer a ship weathering a heavy storm but through good planning by the Wacker Neuson ‘crew’, we navigated smartly. When we reached smooth seas we were ready to cruise full steam ahead as we have everything in place!”

First up, and in step with the company’s forward-thinking approach, is the current field-testing of a 1.7 ton battery-driven excavator in Kathu, Northern Cape. “The local market can look forward to the imminent introduction of our fully electric zero emission machines, which include dumpers and wheel loaders,” adds Vietze.

The Wacker Neuson comprehensive compact equipment range, which is also available on a lease-to-rent basis, includes skid-steers, excavators, wheel loaders, telehandlers and dumpers. Pedestrian and walk-behind rollers, light towers, vibratory rammers and plates, concrete vibrators and vibratory screeds make up the company’s extensive light equipment offering. The company’s 360° approach – sales, rental, service and parts – are fundamental to the company’s solid 42 year reputation as an esteemed and trusted compact and light equipment supplier to customers across Sub-Sahara Africa.

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Staff Writer

The African Agribusiness is a source of insightful information on agriculture, markets and developments in Africa.