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Celebration and innovation for Pellenc’s 15 years

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.

Fraser says the percentage of Pellenc’s business in export markets has grown exponentially and today, more than 60% of the company’s turnover is generated outside of its headquarters in Pertius, France. While French remains the common language of the group, English is widely understood and spoken and operating and maintenance manuals are systematically produced in a range of languages. Communication, Fraser says, is vastly easier than in the past.

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. A lot of importance is placed on training to ensure the customer gets the best out of their investment with minimal downtime. Pellenc’s training courses have been developed in conjunction with the Registered Training Organisation and cover machinery operation and maintenance, including classroom-based components and in-field training.

“There is a strong emphasis on safety, which we approach in an analytical rather than prescriptive fashion. Trainees are encouraged to assess risks on the basis of four categories of hazard – environmental and vineyard conditions, mechanical, human and human interaction with the machinery.

Assessment is competency-based and certificates are only issued to those who have demonstrated the skills and understanding required to satisfy the criteria. Further training or supervised in-fi eld work is planned for those who are unsuccessful in the assessment,” Fraser said.

Fraser remains optimistic about the future of the Australian wine industry, saying it is characterised 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.

“The fact that Australian grapegrowers can be competitive, despite the lack of subsidies which are enjoyed by their international counterparts, is a true credit to their enterprise, effi ciency and perseverance. I know that many are suffering at the moment, but I have confidence in the resiliency of Australian farmers and of the Australian wine industry itself.

“I feel an enormous sense of pride every time I go into a vineyard and see one of Pellenc’s machines working. I think this is what drives the whole Pellenc team, here in Australia and overseas, an overwhelming passion for what we do and an enormous pride, not only in our equipment but in the service we provide our customers.”

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.

To read more about Pellenc’s birthday celebrations, please visit http://www.pellenc.com.au/Portals/12/brochures/Pellenc_feature.pdf

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