Cover Story: Norwood Hire

By: Cameron Officer

Norwood recently debuted its brand-new hire fleet, ensuring that farmers and contractors can access the best and most modern equipment when it’s needed most

While factors such as the weather often affect farmers and contractors in the same way, down at ground level, it’s obvious that no two operation’s machine requirements are exactly the same.

Norwood has long been a New Holland specialist

Greg Moore from Norwood’s new hire division says meeting a wide variety of customer needs with the right solution has always been paramount for the long-established machinery distributor.

Norwood boasts an impressive history in the New Zealand market and has been providing world-leading brands the likes of New Holland, Case IH, Kubota, Kuhn, Horsch, and Vaderstad to generations of users.

Increasingly though, the company has seen a desire among contractor clients with changing portfolios, or land owners with a dependency on achieving high yields from seasonal tasks to be able to hire tractors and other equipment as it is needed.

"We’ve taken a measured approach to establishing the hire side of the business, but almost immediately, we have encountered strong demand," says Greg.

"There are various benefits to our customers in hiring plant, from being able to utilise the latest technologies to get the job done to having reliable machinery on-hand that doesn’t require the bigger financial outlay a traditional purchase agreement might.

"It also broadens our portfolio of services to our customers while giving us the opportunity to showcase the latest-and-greatest to the industry."

Short- and medium-term hire agreements

Norwood says no two hire customers are the same, and they always work with any customer on an individual basis to provide the right equipment

Norwood has rolled out both short- and medium-term hire agreements on an ad-hoc basis with clients since 2016. But Greg says the sheer variety of customers seeking out a good hire-machine solution helped convince the Palmerston North-headquartered company that a more structured approach would be of merit to customers all over the country.

"Part of ensuring we have a good range of tractors and equipment to offer hire customers meant researching exactly what sort of tractors the Norwood hire fleet should consist of," says Greg.

"Our team has spent the last couple of years looking at hire customer requests in order to develop a sound knowledge base of what’s popular and what’s most commonly required.

"The result is a core hire fleet that sits within specific parameters. If someone wants a 150hp tractor and we can offer them a 180hp machine, then that’s a positive solution.

"If it was to be the other way around and we didn’t have a tractor with the right amount of power for the application, then that’s a situation we want to avoid. We’ve had to be systematic about how we’ve built the hire fleet in order to avoid the latter scenario.

"Of course, no two hire customers are the same, so we will always work with any customer on an individual basis to make sure their needs are met," he says.

Benefits for contractors and farmers

The new Norwood hire offering has been identified as especially useful for contractors and farmers seeking to relieve seasonal pressures, without the cost of investing heavily in additional equipment.

Aside from the obvious difference in a hire fee versus a purchase price, the contractor often gets to use a brand-new tractor for their seasonal requirements, giving them the latest advances in machine technology and cab comfort into the bargain.

Then at the end of the season, says Greg, the contractor gets to hand the machine back rather than absorb costs while it sits idle until required again.

The hire option also works well for contractors who might pick up irregular extra short-term work; not enough to justify the spend on an extra machine but too much to tax their existing machine fleet with. Hiring helps bridge the gap in the short term, ensuring they retain happy clients without burdening the bottom line or overcapitalising.

All Norwood hire contracts also include scheduled servicing costs as part of a competitive hourly rate.

Conversion rate

Kubotas also are a part of the fleet

Greg points out that several hire customers have ended up purchasing their tractor rather than continue on a short-term hire contract, such is their enthusiasm for the machine once it has proved its worth on the job.

Norwood’s policy upon conclusion of the hire contract is that any customer can purchase the machine outright, with the opportunity for most of the hiring costs incurred to be deducted from the original new selling price of the machine (subject to terms and conditions).

Showcasing genuine ability is easier when a short-term hire tractor is available to be out to good use for a client in the field

"At the end of the day, we want more people in the machines we’re proud to represent in the Kiwi market," says Greg. "The more people exposed to the sorts of benefits new equipment from leading international manufacturers such as New Holland or Kubota bring to the field, the better as far as we’re concerned.

"Showcasing that sort of ability in genuine day-to-day use isn’t easy to replicate without actually getting out there and completing the hard yards. Having new and existing customers opting to hire means they’re seeing first-hand in their own territories exactly how the machinery we distribute walks the talk.

"We’re very proud of the machinery and people we represent and very proud to have launched the hire division; it really is a great extension to the services Norwood already provides," he says.

Earthwork Solutions' New Holland T9.670

This client in the Gisborne District wanted something unique from Norwood’s range. And he certainly got it.

While the bulk of the Norwood hire fleet is made up of 150hp to 240hp tractors, there are the odd exceptions to the rule.

In fact, the largest New Holland tractor ever imported into the country is part of the Norwood hire fleet, underlining the fact that no two customers’ requirements are the same.
Sitting at an impressive 4.2 metres wide and 7.5 metres long, the New Holland T9.670 is quite simply the biggest New Holland tractor you’ll find on Kiwi soil right now.

Matt Mead from Earthwork Solutions in Gisborne needed a tractor of monumental pulling power to tow a 28 cubic yard K-Tec 1228 scraper for stop-bank work. He certainly got that after Greg Moore from the Norwood hire division sourced the New Holland T9.670 from Australia.

The massive New Holland T9.670 features a 12.9L, six-cylinder turbo diesel engine that delivers 600hp

The Norwood team managed to get the tractor held for Matt until he secured a contract, which ensured that he could deploy it. Matt then flew to Australia and had a chat with a customer who operated the same tractors before settling on the scraper for the New Holland to tow, which he purchased separately.

To ease the load of the capital outlay, Matt decided he would hire the T9.670 from Norwood Hire for the first 12 months of his operation. The tractor is conveniently serviced through the Norwood technical support centre in Matt’s hometown of Gisborne.

The big scraper attachment is filled to the brim with dirt in just 30 seconds

Featuring a 12.9-litre, six-cylinder turbo diesel engine that delivers 600hp to its dual tyres on both the front and back axles, the massive New Holland T9.670 more than fits the bill for Matt. The tractor ensures the big scraper is filled to the brim with dirt in a remarkable 30 seconds.

Despite these working abilities, Matt has reported that the New Holland’s fuel consumption has remained relatively frugal. He says he is managing an average of 37 litres of diesel per hour.

"I have another smaller scraper, a 14 cubic yard (10.7 cubic metres) one, on the job, which is being towed behind a 295hp tractor. The T9.670 is moving twice as much dirt in roughly the same amount of time while using less fuel. The smaller unit is like a teaspoon behind a matchbox toy tractor by comparison," he says.

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