Outdoor Power Equipment

August 2017

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.

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Page 25 of 51

FEATURE STORY | Trends 26 AUGUST 2017 OUTDOOR POWER EQUIPMENT www.outdoorpowerequipment.com WE ARE SEEING AN INCREAS- ING number of landscape profes- sionals choosing ride-on equipment — especially aerators and spread- ers/sprayers — as a way to increase productivity. Not only are lawn care companies accomplishing more this way, but they're seeing enhanced profit potential and ROI, as well. With a stand-on aerator, a contrac- tor can easily aerate 10 to 15 lawns or more a day than they can with a walk-behind unit. – Denis Bedard, vice president of sales, Schiller Grounds Care PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS CONTINUE to focus on productiv- ity, as labor shortages remain a key issue. The Toro Company is con- tinually striving to offer increased product innovation to meet the productivity demands and needs of the pro consumers. – Chris Vogtman, marketing man- ager for landscape contractor equip- ment, Toro; and Ross Hawley, senior marketing manager, residential and landscape contractor equipment, Toro THE OVERALL MARKET is healthy and growing, and the housing mar- ket is strong. Landscape professionals are always getting more sophisticated in terms of running their operations efficiently, and they are looking for- ward to technology advancements such as fleet monitoring and telematics to reduce downtime and monitor efficiency to im- prove overall profitability. Because gas prices are low right now, efficiency and quality of cut are the two main purchase drivers for landscape customers. In addition, commercial customers are looking for durability and performance. – Rajesh Joshi, Kubota product marketing director, turf/RTV WE CONTINUE TO FOCUS on fuel efficiency in gasoline-powered products, as well as improving overall ergonomics, including re- duced vibration and power-to-weight ratios in all product seg- ments for user comfort. Ultimately, our growth will be driven by the evolving needs and demands of our customer base. One of the biggest industry trends is the influx of battery- powered products among the professional landscaping market, particularly for pros within municipalities requiring low-to-no exhaust, lower noise and even indoor projects. We plan continued improvement and growth in alterna- tives to petroleum-based fuels, such as Lithium-ion battery technology with our Stihl Light- ning Battery System. On the technology side, the ma- chines we produce today parallel the automobile industry in that they have all gone to more advanced elec- tronic engine management systems that require more tech-savvy tech- nicians. In this area, I believe Stihl is on the cusp of significant industry breakthroughs, and will continue to develop advanced technology. – Steve Meriam, director of sales at Stihl Inc. OUTDOOR POWER PRODUCTS with reliable performance and min- imal downtime are the key to the professional landscape market. Oth- er product trends that have stayed constant for landscape managers and lawn care companies are effi- ciency, ease of operation, and return on investment. With all this in mind, Honda produces dependable tools that not only help get the job done, but also consistently perform well through the life of the product. The professional landscape market also is benefiting from increased tech- nological innovation. Honda believes, as battery life continues to increase, that battery electric products will be- come more prevalent in the industry. Honda has a distinct advantage for this trend with the research and develop- ment other parts of the company have invested in the technology. – Mark DiPietro, assistant vice president of Honda Power Equipment EFFICIENCY SEEMS TO BE a driving factor. And that doesn't just mean fast. It means fast and high quality. It's all about getting the job done right and moving on to the next one. – Ron Scheffler, product manager, Bob-Cat Mowers WE'VE SEEN PRODUCT SPECIALIZATION become more prominent. There are more and more products available that serve one purpose, and they do that job very effectively. With the Steiner 450 tractor with all of its attachments, we satisfy the other side of the coin with a highly versatile product that can do it all. That being said, we have heard that many of our customers use our tractors because they handle slopes better than any other machine. – Matt Donohue, business manager, Steiner Tractors AN ADVANCING TREND in professional landscape/lawn care equipment is efficiency. Time is money, and the more efficiently a PHOTO COURTESY OF JOHN DEERE CONSTRUCTION AND FORESTRY DIVISION PHOTO COURTESY OF KIOTI TRACTOR

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