playing THE PART
Porter Group has opened a new Melbourne office, expanding its sales, parts and after-market offering to Victoria. Ricky French chats with the team as they open for business
It’s been a busy couple of months for the team at Porter Group’s new Dandenong premises in south-east Melbourne. Moving into a new place means the chance to put your own stamp on the building, but for parts manager Greg Butler and after sales manager Tony Shaw the first two months were spent doing more mundane tasks such as water blasting the walls and stocking up on the essentials any new business needs.
The overall mood is one of excitement and opportunity though, as Porter Group expands its extensive footprint of new and used construction equipment into Victoria. The Dandenong premises is a one-stop shop for their extensive range, and features a showroom, fully-equipped workshop with two over-head cranes, a track-press and wash bay. It’s staffed by a dedicated team of sales, parts and service personal.
“We’re here to provide equipment and services to a wide range of customers, from those doing a bit of landscaping at home through to large-scale quarries and huge infrastructure projects,” says Shaw. “We’re really looking forward to building up a relationship with our loyal customers.”
Strength in success
Getting a foothold in Victoria was a natural move for Porter Group, who now has more than 50 retail locations throughout New Zealand, Australia and the USA. The family-owned company was established back in 1945 in New Zealand and has been in Australia since 2003. It’s gone from largely dealer networks in Australia to setting up stand-alone branches, bringing a streamlined service to customers.
Moving away from the dealer to distributor to factory flow brings many benefits to customers, especially when combined with the extensive knowledge, experience and breadth of parts that Porter Group’s network has access to.
Parts general manager Warren Hill is visiting the new Dandenong premises from New Zealand and says setting up in Victoria
We’re really looking forward to building up a relationship with our loyal customers.
was a logical step for the group. “It’s been on the radar for a while now. There’s a lot of infrastructure projects, a lot of construction, and we’re excited about offering our great range to customers.”
Hill says Porter Group’s size means it can stock a huge amount of parts, but it’s not just stocking the parts that’s important, it’s how you move those parts around. “One of the first things we did when we came to Australia was to link the systems, which means if our Victorian branch needs a specific part for a customer they can jump on the computer, see which branch has it, and create an internal transfer. The part will then be shipped immediately.”
It’s the commitment to service and Porter Group’s ability to solve any problem thrown at them that has impressed customers. “When there’s a problem we look after our customers,” says Hill. “That goes for machinery, parts and service. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel – there are people here who have seen every conceivable issue and who have the experience to fix it without fuss. We can turn things around very quickly.”
A quality product
Porter Group supply a range of quality brands and products including Hyundai excavators (anything from 1.7 to 120 tonnes), wheel loaders, NC site dumpers and Terex articulated dump trucks, Madill feller bunchers and log loaders, and Furukawa drill rigs and rock breakers. Tony Shaw says he’s particularly excited about bringing Hyundai to the Victorian market. “Hyundai is a premium product. One of the best features is the
telematics system that comes standard, the Hyundai Hi-Mate. It allows you to tap into the machine, check all your parameters such as fuel, hours, performance and all your diagnostic information. And you can monitor it all remotely, on your phone.”
The Hyundai range comes with a threeyear, 6,000-hour warranty, and as with all products sold through Porter Group the list of after market extras or custom modifications is almost endless. Greg Butler says the new premises is already well-stocked with after market accessories. “We’ve got rubber tracks, both genuine and after market, tyres, attachments, undercarriage. A big part of what we offer our customers is flexibility and the ability to customise a machine exactly how they want it.”
It goes without saying that not everyone uses the same piece of equipment for the same job. But it’s not always that simple to be able to tailor a solution for your specific requirements. Porter Group has taken that challenge and made it their own. It’s something that can only come through years of building up the people, knowledge and resources. Spare parts don’t grow on trees, either, so it’s a matter of building up not only the inventory but also the ability to move product within that stockpile, to ensure every customer gets what they want, when they need it.
But parts alone are useless without the expertise to back it up, and that’s something Porter Group clearly has in spades. “We have product specialists in each brand,” says Shaw. “It means we’ve got technical experts on hand every day, which really puts us in a great position. If we get a complex problem we’ve got that support right back to the factory. It’s a really slick process and we’re able to solve any issue very fast. It’s something we pride ourselves on.”
“Porter equipment offer an amazing range of equipment, but the best thing are the other tools available to help sell machines, all of which are customer focused,” adds sales territory manager Edan Maksymiw. “We can offer solutions in finance, rental, parts, service and sales that are designed to make our customers more money, which other dealerships/brands simply can’t offer.”
The way forward from here
It might be early days for the team in Dandenong, but it’s clear they’re here for the long haul. They’ll be growing the same way the whole Porter Group has over the last 73 years – building up their reputation one customer at a time. They look forward to welcoming back trade-ins, working on upgrades, and customising every piece of equipment so it’s exactly as it should be for whatever job it needs to perform. The hard work now begins. The Dandenong crew have one message: bring it on.
When there’s a problem we look after our customers.
Far left: After a busy couple of months, Porter Group’s new site is up and runningLeft: Greg Butler and Tony Shaw outside the new Porter Group Dandenong premises
Far Top Left: Service technician’s truck ready to goLeft: Parts General Manager, Warren Hill, visiting from New Zealand