John Deere showcases construction, forestry equipment for sub-Saharan Africa

Agricultural equipment giant John Deere has introduced its range of construction and forestry equipment to the sub-Saharan African market.

Customers across the region can now benefit from the size and scale of the John Deere construction and forestry equipment line-up, including its motor grader line, which features industry-exclusive technology and innovation backed by the John Deere brand and dealer network.

The 622G model included in its motor grader range is suitable for use by contractors, roadbuilders and municipalities looking for a cost-effective machine that still retains features of its larger siblings, including a cooling package that offers 10% fuel savings over large models.

Selected models in the range will also include John Deere Connected Support, leveraging the power of telematics to deliver higher levels of uptime and reduced operating costs.

Further, the JDLink Dashboard, as the user interface for the telematics system, gathers and organises a variety of machine information, empowering customers to better manage their fleet.

Dealers can connect to machines remotely to trouble shoot issues and upgrade control software, which reduces the need for site visits to conduct maintenance.

Discussing the rationale behind John Deere expanding its construction equipment offering to the sub-Saharan African region, John Deere Middle East and Africa construction and marketing sales manager Jaco Beyers says massive opportunities are presenting themselves in the infrastructure space, mining and forestry.

This comes on the back of government stimulus packages focused on rebuilding economies in the wake of Covid-19.

He believes John Deere has a competitive edge for its construction equipment in that the company can leverage much of the same technology and expertise it has spent decades building up in the agriculture industry.

Beyers mentions that 65% of components are common between agricultural and construction equipment, which means the majority of technical team capability is already established across the continent through John Deere’s dealer network.

John Deere Africa construction and forestry sales manager Griffiths Makgate says Southern African countries already have a full line-up of forestry equipment available to buy, while a full product line for construction will be ready by the end of the year.

Beyers says after-service is a key focus for John Deere. “We keep farmers up and running 24/7 and we will bring the same approach with construction customers. We are proud in bringing world-class dealers to our construction network, including Tata Group.”

As with its agricultural equipment, John Deere will stick to its strategy of performance, uptime and low cost of ownership for construction equipment.

John Deere aftermarket and customer support director Janalize van Buuren remarks that the company has dedicated forestry and construction technicians, and more than 520 parts dealers that can cater to the sub-Saharan African region to service customers.  

Discussing the macroeconomic environment that looms amid John Deere’s construction offering expansion, economist Dr Azar Jammine says the global picture looks positive for recovery as a result of vaccine development and returns to normal economic conditions sooner than anticipated.

“World-leading governments and central banks have embarked on the biggest stimulus the world has ever seen, which feeds into demand for commodities and resultant surging prices.

“With sub-Saharan Africa being dependent on commodity production for their wellbeing, it is starting to see the benefits,” he explains.

Economist Roelof Botha says economic recovery has been evident in, for example, the 510 000 jobs that were created mostly in the formal sector of South Africa since the second quarter of last year, with March alone seeing the creation of 152 000 jobs.

“Jobs will continue to come as government removes more obstacles to growth and doing business.”

Botha adds that a lot of the real economic recovery South Africans are waiting for will be dependent on how successful government can change the calibre of management within the public sector and keep to its word with regard to policy changes to enable investor confidence.

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