With an ever changing climate, and higher stakes in the farming industry than ever before, Australian farmers can not afford down time due to machinery maintenance requirements. That’s why Kubota Tractor Australia (KTA) is focused on leading the way in providing an exceptional spare parts service to its dealer network Australia wide.
After a recent move in 2008 to a new Head Office and distribution centre in Melbourne, Kubota’s parts department has benefited from increased storage capacity, improved pick and pack systems and enhanced logistics procedures.
KTA’s General Manager for Product Support, Mr. Paul Watt spoke about the importance of the Parts Department at Kubota and the positive flow on affects that new efficiencies have created throughout Kubota dealerships in Australia.
“We sell many high quality products, so we also need to provide a high level of support to those products through supplying parts to the market. To ensure this happens, we’re in constant contact with our dealers and customers in order to understand what they need and what they expect from Kubota Tractor Australia in order to maintain machines as effectively as possible” said Watt.
During June 2009, two representatives from the Kubota Parts Department in Japan visited Kubota Tractor Australia and worked with staff and dealerships to build on the relationship between Australia and Japan and to look at ways of further improving the Kubota parts network in the Australian market.
“One of the benefits of being a large multinational company is the ability to draw information from our allied companies in the global network. Gathering effective processes from these companies helps provide us with some good ideas on how we can continue to improve on our systems in Australia.
The recent visit from their Japanese representatives brought with it a new train of thought in the form of ‘Kaizen’, which is both a mind-set and a range of techniques to review and evaluate work processes” said Watt.
While it is one thing to develop improvements in parts supply, it’s equally important that Kubota dealerships and in turn customers benefit from these improvements.
Daniel Jenkins, Parts Manager at Kubota’s Prestons dealership, Australia Hammer Supply said “Since moving into the new distribution centre, Kubota has allowed us (Australian Hammer Supplies) to maintain one of the highest fill rates in the industry. Kubota Tractor Australia are constantly liaising with their dealer network which provides us with continuous support and a high level of after sales care to our customers.
Working closely with Kubota Tractor Australia along with our own recent move to a new purpose built dealership site, has improved our stockholding and minimised machine downtime for our customers”.
In Melbourne, Kubota Tractor Australia occupies a state of the art facility where 18000 square metres is devoted to storage of whole goods and spare parts in the one location; 4000 square metres is realised for spare parts alone. There is sixteen dedicated staff within spare parts, covering; customer care, parts purchasing and parts operations. There are 165,433 line items currently in stock and access is available to another 200,000 plus items from Japan and the USA.
Kubota Tractor Australia receive three airfreights and one container shipment every week from various suppliers. A pneumatic conveying system makes the despatching of parts faster and a new bar-coding system improves control of stock levels.
“This has and will continue to improve how efficient we are in monitoring and despatching parts from the warehouse” said Watt.
“We also are constantly updating our ordering system to make it as user friendly as possible. The system is web based, meaning our dealers can log onto the system via the web to see what we have in stock and order it right away. This is an excellent tool for dealer service representatives as they could be visiting a customer on site, connect to our on-line parts ordering system with their laptop, so anything that is required can be ordered there on the spot, in theory”.
“We do not want to become complacent. While it is easy to make some fast changes to improve on something that is average, it is the constant improvement on smaller things that makes something already good, become exceptional. This is the mind-set at Kubota” concluded Paul.