A Peterson perspective on 2005

By Craig Hammond – Marketing Executive

Since day one, human beings have had a fixation with doing things for themselves. Being forced to bring in the experts is seen as failure – much like needing to ask for directions or reading an instruction manual. The recent barrage of reality TV programs on backyard makeovers and house renovations is testament to our love of DIY (do-it-yourself).

It is from this love of DIY that the portable sawmill industry was birthed continues to thrive. The invention of portable sawmills revolutionized the industry by putting the power back into the hands of property- and log-owners, as well as by reducing many of the associated freight and operator costs involved with using the big mills. Individuals can now complete this entire process on site using their own equipment.

Many new manufacturers are producing portable sawmills as designers continue to develop and expand the concept. The number of products now available now makes choosing the right equipment for the job an unenviable and daunting task for the first time buyer.

We have found that the portable sawmill appeals so strongly to this DIY generation that we are often selling equipment to clients who have never operated this type of machinery before. Because of this our industry faces a unique range of challenges when looking into the future.

  • The need for research and development should never be underestimated as the quest continues for better-quality products and improved safety features, while increasing emphasis is placed on production and recovery ratios. Industry leaders must place a high priority on investment in ongoing technological advances.
  • The ability for manufacturers to provide consultations and sound business advice in all areas of portable sawmilling is essential to the success of the sawmill buyer. Many times we are building the foundation of a business – assisting clients with marketing, advising which product will best suit their needs and educating them on how to add value to their lumber are services crucial to both their success and ours.
  • In the rush to grab their share of the market, it can be tempting for sawmill manufacturers to short-cut important areas such as adequate training. Not only for safety reasons but also for the benefit of their business future, every new portable sawmill owner needs access to these important facilities.
  • “Distributors” or “agents” have so many products to sell that they can lose touch with the real users. An agent is often tied up in too many different products to become highly skilled in any one and mark-ups become exhorbitant. The process can become an impersonal and rushed “sell,” rather than an enjoyable and consultative “service.”

Peterson is only too aware of these and many other issues facing portable sawmill manufacturers. The people who know Peterson know we’ve got one of the world’s best products. Our challenge, however, has been to find an effective way to provide our service overseas and help millers find the best equipment for their needs.

Consequently, 2005 will be committed to the expansion of an ideal solution to the challenges faced when selling this type of equipment. The term “Regional Centre” is now a Peterson buzz-word for the US. An State Rep is a Peterson owner who started out as the ultimate DIYer and by learning over time has become an excellent operator. They are chosen to promote and service an area covering two to four surrounding states, stocking high-turnover spare parts, and providing one-on-one demonstrations and training. What makes the State Rep system work so well is that it strikes a perfect balance between selling factory-direct to the consumer, while avoiding agent mark-ups and providing great after-sales support.

A good knowledge of the industry and the range of products available gives the State Rep an ability to provide good advice on each product’s suitability to an individual’s application. Our State Rep’s also provide comprehensive group-training for the new container-drop owners, which is an excellent way for owners to network and share milling techniques and experiences with like-minded people.

And those manuals that DIYers never read? Well, if you don’t get the one-on-one training from an State Rep, and choose to have your mill delivered to your door instead, that’s still OK. While your mill is on its way, we’ve been proactive and airmailed the manual and training video. You’re eagerly awaiting your mill, chomping at the bit for your new “toy”, but in the meantime you just can’t help yourself and pick up that manual for a “sneak preview”!

From all the Peterson team in New Zealand and the U.S., it is a pleasure to serve these DIY warriors and we would like to say thank you for your continued support.

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