Proudly serving the industry for which it was named for more than 50 years, Outdoor Power Equipment provides dealers who sell and service outdoor power equipment with valuable information to succeed in a competitive market.
Issue link: http://read.uberflip.com/i/800595
24 APRIL 2017 OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT www.outdoorpowerequipment.com FEATURE STORY | Mower Trends Exmark works closely with customers to better understand their needs and priorities. We take the importance our machines play in their success very seriously, so we make it easy for customers to give us their feedback. We travel thousands of miles each year to conduct in- person meetings with customers, and we're constantly talking with customers about their Exmark ownership experience. We're consistently hearing from customers that they're not making much, if any, more money on the properties they maintain, compared to fi ve to 10 years ago. As a result, they need new mowers to be both more productive and more effi cient than the machines they're replacing. Fuel is a major expense for landscape professionals. As a result, Exmark offers an industry-leading number of EFI-gasoline and EFI-propane engine options on our Lazer Z, Vantage and Turf Tracer models. In addition, our exclusive EFI+RED Technology, offered on the Lazer Z X-Series model, can reduce fuel consumption by up to 40 percent compared to an equivalent carbureted engine. The shortage of qualifi ed labor is a consistent challenge we're also hearing about from customers. This underscores the need for increased productivity per worker, and since our customers are consistently hiring, training, and integrating new workers, controls must be intuitive and easy to operate. A good example of an Exmark technology that's resulted from this need is our exclusive Enhanced Control System (ECS) controls. Featured on Exmark walk-behind and stand- on models, ECS controls are easy to learn and intuitive to use. Plus, the improved comfort and ergonomics of the ECS controls reduce employee fatigue, so they're more productive when they get off the mower and move on to other tasks. — Jamie Briggs, Exmark product manager Grasshopper receives continuous feedback from customers and dealers on what they want in their mowing equipment, ranging from how to enhance comfort and productivity to new product suggestions. We take all of that feedback seriously. We look at every customer response we receive — and not just the positive. Our production line is confi gured to incorporate design enhancements throughout the year, not just at the beginning of a product year, which allows for continuous, instead of staggered, improvement. — Mike Simmon, marketing specialist, Grasshopper What we know and hear on a fairly consistent basis from customer feedback is that landscape professionals choose and buy different commercial lawnmower models based on features and benefi ts, fuel economy, durability, reliability, and equipment downtime. Honda also knows that landscape professionals are prone to choosing and buying lawn mowers that offer easy-to- perform minor maintenance and straightforward scheduled services so as to avoid unexpected maintenance expenses. At Honda, we understand that all these attributes translate into long- term value for professional landscapers. Taking all of this into account, Honda works to develop and produce technologically innovative commercial mowers that consumers not only want to buy but come to depend on and make them more successful. — Elisha Lipscomb, Honda Power Equipment, senior marketing strategist, lawn & garden One of our mottos is that our products are designed for landscapers, by landscapers, which means their feedback is incorporated into nearly every step of the design and manufacturing process. This results in user-centric designs that are refl ected in every professional product we offer. During the commercial summits that are held at our global R&D engineering headquarters, we've heard landscapers emphasize they want products that remain durable over long hours of use. We incorporate these types of comments directly into our design process. — Giovanni Crespi, director of regional product management of Husqvarna North America We integrate the feedback we receive from our customers and landscape contractors directly into current and future product development programs. We strive to bring innovative solutions to the market, and the best way to do that is by listening to customers and truly understanding how to meet their needs. — Ruben Pena, product marketing manager, zero-turn mower, John Deere Landscape professionals are looking for durability and performance. Ease of use is very important for landscape companies with larger fl eets, as their operator pool is transient. As more and more landscape professionals are adding Kubota equipment to their fl eets, the feedback we get is that their crew prefers Kubota equipment over competitive equipment. Kubota's product development and validation process allows us to thoroughly test equipment in all terrains and grass types. All of our product improvements are informed by our dealers and customers who are part of the process. Kubota's latest innovation in outdoor power equipment — Aerodynamic Cutting System technology — was a result of insights gained from landscape professionals. This new technology allows for 16 percent less demand on the engine torque and 27 percent better ground speed for enhanced productivity. — Rajesh Joshi, Kubota product marketing director, turf A Steiner is a unique tractor that withstands the test of time. Our professional customers rely on it heavily, and many of them build their businesses around it. Because of that, durability is key. They need it to thrive in all conditions and all seasons. — Craig Rohde, marketing manager for Schiller Grounds Care (Steiner) The feedback we receive the most is typically related to reliabil- ity, performance and specifi c applications. Every landscape profes- sional is faced with unique needs, and wants a mower specifi c to their own tasks. We offer a wide variety of options and continue to expand these options. We also see the desire for low maintenance. Many of our mowers now only require engine oil, fi lter and blade