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BUSINESS MOVING FORWARD - JOHN DEERE AND ASTARTA CONCLUDE ONE OF THE LARGEST AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY AGREEMENTS IN EUROPE IN 2020
31 John Deere 345 hp tractors and 21 units of grain and beet seeders were purchased by Astarta in Ukraine
Deere and Astarta are members of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC)
The Astarta Company [one of the largest agribusinesses in Ukraine] purchased 31 John Deere 345 hp tractors and 21 units of grain and beet seeders prior to the start of spring sowing as part of the implementation of the first phase of a five-year investment program to upgrade agricultural technology.
According to John Deere Ukraine director Peter Sachse, this agreement is certainly one of the largest in Europe in 2020, and for John Deere Ukraine, this agreement is a remarkable milestone, thanks to Astarta and their trust in the brand.
[John Deere and Astarta are long-time members of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC), Washington, D.C. www.USUBC.org.]
“First of all, on behalf of the entire John Deere Company, we would like to express our gratitude to Astarta for its trust in our products, our dealer network and our range of services.
For John Deere Ukraine it is one of the biggest deals since 2014, and we could only achieve this thanks to the coordinated work of the company team and dealers.
It is worth to mention that Astarta is now on the path to becoming the largest owner of John Deere equipment in Ukraine. But in fact we are more interested in being satisfied with all aspects of delivery: product quality, service, parts delivery, and financing . We like when our customers challenge us because it motivates us to constantly improve, ” says Peter Sachse.
The company Astarta noted that the decision regarding the choice of the manufacturer of equipment was not easy, because when the agricultural holding company entered the market with the request for the need for such a number of tractors with the specified level of energy efficiency and power, proposals were received from all manufacturers of equipment, which are represented in Ukraine. This process began in November 2019 and was finally decided by the end of February 2020.
“From the very beginning, we have decided on the characteristics that tractors must have to meet our needs - power, energy efficiency, the presence of parallel driving systems and, of course, the most important for us is the availability of quality, qualified, highly professional service in the vicinity of our businesses.
"Therefore, there were so many concomitant conditions not only regarding the purchase but also the further service. Several bidding rounds took place, with three brands of equipment remaining in the finals, one of them being John Deere,”says Vadym Skrypnyk, Director of the agricultural production department of Astarta.
Before making the decision, the company held several stages of negotiations not only with manufacturers of equipment, but also with dealer companies.
Agroholding had mandatory requirements for service companies to be no more than 100 km from the Astarta production companies, so that in the event of a tractor failure, they would be able to react and repair equipment very quickly.
“We have considered buying multiple brands, but it is logical to buy one model line in order to have a single parts list and service principles. Now we are convinced that to buy tractors from one manufacturer was the right solution.
We have very carefully studied the cost of one hour, the service support, we have thoroughly and thoroughly approached these processes and, in the end, it was economically justified to make the decision to purchase tractors of the John Deere brand ”, - says Vadym Skrypnyk.
According to him, the important factors in choosing a supplier of equipment were: two years of warranty service on the main units of equipment, favorable payment conditions, availability of machines and timely delivery of them before the start of spring field work, as well as the opportunity to choose the service companies that will serve the company .
Astarta has selected four John Deere dealerships that are closest to the production units of the agroholding company: Agristar in Poltava region, Jupiter 9 Agroservice in Chernihiv region, RDO Ukraine in Cherkasy and Vinnytsia regions and Agrosem in Khmelnytskyi.
PETER SACHSE, COUNTRY MANAGER UKRAINE, JOHN DEERE
According to Peter Sachse, over the past four years, the John Deere Ukraine dealer network has evolved significantly due to the increasing amount of equipment and the company's focus on providing better customer service.
For example, the number of service engineers at dealers has more than doubled, and the number of outlets and service points has increased to 35 across the country and continues to grow.
“We provide training annually to provide service engineers with the necessary knowledge and skills to support our customers. Dealers can use a number of innovative tools based on our JDLink telematics solution to provide the best customer service.
These tools (remote diagnostics through Service Advisor Remote and Remote Display Access) provide remote support, diagnostics and programming. Dealer specialists can monitor the condition and operation of the machine, provide technical and optimization solutions.
Other available tools, such as Expert Alert and Machine Dashboard, help dealers plan maintenance activities and even anticipate technical problems and, accordingly, proactively prevent downtime, ”says Peter Sachse.
According to him, another factor is the presence of spare parts. John Deere dealers in Ukraine ship to EPDC (European John Deere Parts Distribution Center) on a weekly basis.
Pre-season dealerships can also offer farmers a pre-season Expert Check inspection to ensure that all machines are working properly and ready for field work. As a result, every customer in the region receives the highest level of customer service and support in accordance with John Deere standards.
In addition to these factors, for Astarta in favor of John Deere also played the fact that the company already has about 40 self-propelled sprayers of this brand and energy efficient tractors with a capacity of 500-600 hp.
"The company started buying them back in 2010, and today a very effective and reliable base of relationships with service companies representing John Deere has been established," Vadym Skrypnyk adds.
He says that the company made the final decision at the end of February, and as of March 20, at the beginning of field work, tractors were at the enterprises. The last tractor came already when the quarantine regime was in force in Ukraine, but this did not prevent John Deere from fulfilling its obligations and delivering the equipment in a timely manner.
According to Peter Sachse, there were no difficulties in the process of negotiations, signing of the agreement and delivery of equipment.
“It is more accurate to say that we were faced with a situation that was more complicated than usual, but this is normal for such large deals. This was used by all parties, so it was easy enough to find a common language. That is why I would like to take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude to Sergii Gryaznov and the entire team of RDO Ukraine. No manufacturer can succeed without such competent dealers.
"I would also like to thank Trade Finance Manager and Strategic Accounts Coordinator Natalia Gritsishyn, who has done a great job managing all the parties involved in this transaction; tractor and equipment sales specialist Oleg Lashchenko, who once again demonstrated his high expertise, and Anna Movchanyuk, who is responsible for business processes and provided the best possible delivery conditions even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Indeed, for me, the key to this agreement is the strong spirit and professionalism with which we all - Astarta, RDO Ukraine and John Deere Ukraine - have come to the cause as one team, ”said Peter Sachse.
In general, the five-year investment program for upgrading Astarta agricultural technology covers three types of equipment: tractors, sprayers and seeders.
“We felt the need for quality new seeders and took some to the test. Before the spring sowing, 21 seeders were purchased from different manufacturers - John Deere, Horsch Maestro, Pöttinger Terrasem, Kinze, Monopil, Amity Technology.
The bulk of the seed drills we have Kinze, but they are mechanical, so this year they have acquired pneumatic. Now the company is provided with seed drills, and in the coming year this issue will be irrelevant, the only thing we will work on is the conversion to pneumatic seeding systems and precision planting », - says Vadym Skrypnyk.
In the future, Astarta will focus on updating tractors and sprayers. Also, it is planned to buy several units of grain planers at the agricultural enterprises where the wheat is grown. And it will be decided to replace the tillage equipment - plows, discs, cultivators, harrows.