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

Earthmovers & Excavators - - Used Machinery Review - Words and im­ages: Ricky French

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.”

Whole-pack­age ser­vice

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

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