BUSINESS MOVING FORWARD - TITAN MACHINERY MOVING THE BUSINESS FORWARD THROUGH THIS DIFFICULT TIME
Titan Machinery is one of the largest American dealers of agricultural and construction equipment.
Titan Machinery Inc., founded in 1980 and headquartered in West Fargo, North Dakota, owns and operates a network of full service agricultural and construction equipment dealer locations in North America and Europe.
The network consists of US locations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico and European locations in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Ukraine, and Germany.
The Titan Machinery locations represent one or more of the CNH Industrial Brands, including Case IH, New Holland Agriculture, Case Construction, New Holland Construction, and CNH Industrial Capital.
Titan Machinery Ukraine Managing Director, Vitalii Huziievatyi succeeded Yuriy Alatortsev as the new Managing Director of Titan Machinery Ukraine.
Vitalii a mechanical engineer, received a bachelor's degree in Kharkiv National Technical University of Agriculture Petra Vasilenka and a master's degree in business administration in the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine.
Vitalii Huziievatyi has more than 12 years of experience in agriculture, of which 8 years on senior positions. For 4 years Vitalii led the engineering service at the agricultural holding “Agrokultura” (later “West Agro MHP”), before he worked as an engineer at the management company of the agricultural holding Harmelia (now Agro Generation).
Vitalii is well acquainted with the business of Titan Machinery in Ukraine, since 2016 he led the company service department. During this time, he created a strong team, 7 service centers were opened, and sales of the department was increased.
“The management of the company has high hopes for Vitalii Huziievatyi as an energetic, ambitious, and systemic leader. Vitalii is the best candidate for future challenges. His strong managerial skills, experience and ability to find a common language with both colleagues and clients will be the key to our success,” said Manfred Spendier, Regional Director of Romania & Ukraine.
Vitalii took charge for the company at the beginning of crisis. When news of COVID-19 spread, organizations began considering how it would affect supply chain access, product launches, employee well-being and business continuity. But many failed to consider the importance of a resilient business model.
We met with Vitalii in a cozy virtual room to discuss how he will lead Titan Machinery Ukraine forward through this difficult time.
How did the crisis affect Titan Machinery business in Ukraine?
Let's start at the top: keeping our team & our customers safe - this is Titan Machinery motto in this difficult time. Around the world, that’s everyone’s first duty—to themselves, their loved ones, their friends and neighbors. For millions of brave healthcare workers and others, it means caring directly for those who are sick.
If you’re a CEO, taking care of people also means taking care of your employees and customers. This crisis brings into sharp relief that it's the efforts of employees and the loyalty of customers that will see a company through these extraordinary times.
Titan Machinery remains committed to providing our customers with the equipment, parts, and service support they need through this especially challenging spring season. And we are taking every responsible precaution to keep our customers, our employees, and our communities safe from coronavirus (COVID-19).
When the crisis started I was a bit confused, how we would work online. But, now I am surprised how it works well. We started with online meetings and now most of all operations are done online, of course, I am visiting the office for paperwork.
We have 17 regional representatives and all of them are working on a daily basis to help our customers with planting season. I will not be true with myself if I say we didn’t have any challenges. We faced problems in the delivery chain, especially from our Italian factories, factories are located in the northern part of Italy, right in the heart of the pandemic. Same problems we had with supplies from the USA and China. But now, all things work fine.
COVID-19 affected our marketing activates, we can’t invite all our customers in one place to show them a new technique.
We used to celebrate “Field Days” during this season, but this year it is impossible so far. We would like to invite all our customers but unfortunately, we can’t.
Like all other businesses, we revised costs. We feel our team’s support, everybody understands the current situation. Our sales operations decreased as well, I hope at the end of 2020 we will be on the same level we were before the crisis.
How do your customers face the crisis?
We are in constant communication with our customers and we do our best to meet their request. Of course, sometimes we ask for their help as well, this is a normal situation. Some customers postponed purchasing a new agricultural technique but most of them purchased new techniques before the crisis starts.
Let’s move from crisis topic to land market. The President signed the law on the circulation of agricultural land. Does it affect your business?
Last autumn, when the land question started to circulate in the media we were very optimistic about that. We understood that if the land market would be opened in 2020 we could have a decrease in sales, but strategically opening of a land market is a major asset, we expect purchasing power will increase, affordable loans will appear on the market, in total agricultural market will grow significantly.
I wish the land market law was adopted 20 years ago. It’s a good sign the law was signed but the adopted law content does not affect us in any way. From July 1, 2021, individual Ukrainian citizens will be allowed to purchase agricultural land in Ukraine, up to a limit of 100 hectares.
This limit will stay in place until January 1, 2024. Since that time we will see the second phase of land reform launched – companies will be able to purchase agricultural land. Restrictions on land sizes will be moved from 100 hectares to 10,000 hectares.
Big agricultural players are not talking about that yet. Individuals with less than 100 hectares are a small segment on the market. Of course, we are interested in a small segment market as well but we are concentrating on bigger players, who is able to buy our machines – I will say roughly our customer operates more than 600 ha.
Who are your biggest competitors on the market?
We have two types of competitors - internal and external. Internal – we sell technique mostly CNH Industrial, such brands like CASE IH
CNH Industrial produces global agricultural brands, Case IH, STEYR and New Holland Agriculture. CASE IH and New Holland are competing as well. For us as a CASE IH our external main competitor is John Deere.
What are your recommendations to businesses in this difficult time?
I do remember a few crises and what was the result on the Ukraine economy. We successfully went through difficult times in the past and I am sure we will be stronger after COVID-19. The most important thing to do is not to panic.
We work in a very important sphere of economy so companies need to leverage a systematic approach to strengthen the resilience of their current business models to ensure their ongoing operation during COVID-19. Everything goes by and this too shall pass.