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Success through innovation sees Pellenc mark another milestone
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The 15 staff and 120 friends of viticultural machinery developer, manufacturer and supplier, Pellenc Australia celebrated 15 years of successful operations in November 2006. Pellenc Australia was established in 1991, the same year as the Spanish subsidiary of the group, now boasting 10 international offices including premises in Chile which opened in early 2006. The Pellenc group began in 1979 when Roger Pellenc designed and built viticultural equipment in his grandfather’s shed in the small town of Pertuis in Provence, France. Modern versions of the belt-driven cutters and range of hydraulic secateurs Pellenc developed are in use today.
A culture of innovation is the driving force behind the group worldwide, which managing director Louise Fraser says is “enthusiastically cultivated by Roger Pellenc himself”. The company annually invests 10% of its turnover into research and development, and maintains an active program in fostering student and graduate engineers looking to pursue careers in the sector. Pellenc aims to produce a new product every one to two years on average, in addition to continually developing long-standing products. The ‘Ekinda’, Pellenc’s new shoot thinning machine developed wholly in Australia by Frank O’Riley, manager of technical services and R&D, has been a great success. This machine is a direct result of a customer request for a mechanised solution to an expensive and labour-intensive task.
“For us in Australia, as for the whole group, our future success depends on our ability to understand and respond to the changing needs of viticulturists, by developing innovative products backed by outstanding service and support.
“We have always engaged extensive customer consultation to ensure that our offer remains relevant and the future projects resolve the current or future challenges faced by Australian grapegrowers,” Fraser said.
Over the past six years, Pellenc Australia has conducted four annual customer functions around the country, allowing the team to hear directly from the machinery users about their experiences, their plans and needs.
“We also conduct an annual survey of our harvester owners, to ensure that we have an objective view of our products and services. I am delighted to report that our average accumulated score in these surveys is around nine out of 10. We won’t rest until that average is a perfect 10!” Fraser said.
Technical service and support is paramount to the Pellenc group, and eight people are employed in the Australian office to be able to answer the telephone every hour and every day of the year.
According to Fraser, maintaining good machinery operation helps vineyard managers to maximise returns and she finds customers appreciate the service being available.
”There is a mutual respect of the needs of the machinery owners and those of our staff and their families and people do not ring us at crazy hours for trivial things,” she said. “We find that our efforts to respond immediately to customers’ requests for assistance result in maximum efficiency the satisfaction for both parties.”
Fraser remains optimistic about the future of the Australian wine industry, saying it is charcterised by a desire to embrace new technology and practices, a willingness to work together for the common good and an enthusiasm and drive to succeed.
Pellenc’s offices are located at Magill in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs with a service and training centre in the neighbouring suburb of Glynde. Further information can be obtained from the website http://www.pellenc.com.au or by telephone on (08) 8333 1177.