Day 2 of the GIE+EXPO brought more product introductions and more educational sessions for attendees.
Chris Davitt, president of Ruppert Landscape, spoke at a seminar about how smaller companies can compete with larger ones. Davitt said smaller companies have to stress to customers that “you are a bigger customer to me” than they would be to a larger company. He said you also have to promote that there are fewer points of contact. Remind customers that when they call the small company, you will get a decision-maker much faster than you would when calling a big company.
Bruce Kemelgor, chairman of the management department at the University of Louisville College of Business and director of the Small Business Institute, spoke at a PGMS education session on how to deal with difficult employees. Kemelgor said it’s important to understand whether the problem is behavioral or work environment related and have open discussions with the employee.
Jim McCutcheon, CEO at HighGrove Partners, Austell, Ga., gave attendees a preview of the 2011 PLANET Crystal Ball Report on innovation in the green industry. He stressed the importance of thinking of your firm not as a landscape company, but as a service company that happens to do landscaping. He highlighted a presentation by author Simon Sinek, who said “People don’t buy what you do. People buy why you do it.”
Lawn & Landscape presented the 2010 Environmental Business Awards to three landscape contractors that represent the core values of the green industry. The winners of the award, sponsored by Case Construction Equipment, were: Roger Grothe, president of Aloha Landscaping; Eric Hansen, president of Competitive Lawn Service, and Peter Salmeron, chairman of Complete Landscaping Systems. Each received a trip for two to the Case Tomahawk Customer Center in Tomahawk, Wis., for a hands-on equipment training/operation experience and a $1,000 Case gift card.
Product updates from the second day of the show include:
• Bayer Environmental Science introduced Specticle 20 WP, a new pre-emergent herbicide for warm season grasses. The new chemistry – registered in 30 states – offers LCOs a lower use rate than traditional products and controls more than 80 broadleaf weeds.
• Generac launched a new line of pressure washers, reentering the market. Six new pressure washers were introduced, three for commercial use and three for residential. The pressure washers include a Generac overhead valve horizontal-shaft engine making the pumps more accessible to hook up hoses.
• SLT announced a new name and brand, transitioning from Super Lawn Trucks to Super Lawn Technologies. The company also launched the newly redesigned SLT Hydra-Ramp system. It was designed to be lighter, stronger, safer and more efficient, reducing operating time from 35 to 10 seconds.
• Cub Cadet introduced the Z-Force S commercial zero-turn rider. Offering Cub Cadet’s Synchro Steer technology, the new commercial Z-Force S replaces lap bars with an easier-to-use steering wheel and offers steerable front wheels for increased stability and control.
• Toro showcased the Z Master commercial series, a new line of zero-turn mowers built on its G3 platform. The line replaces the Z400, and adds on higher-grade feature like a TurboForce deck and seat improvements. The company also introduced a 60-inch GrandStand model.
• Husqvarna introduced the PZT series of zero-turn mowers, offering landscape contractors a commercial-grade mower at a lower price point than the 2009 PZ series.
• Lista now has software that comes with its storage compartments to help contractors get organized. With free Lista Script software, you can customize labels that identify the contents of every single compartment, letting you locate items quickly. You can label compartments by part number or barcode using your own computer instead of sending it out to be made.
• Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics began working on their new tubing five years ago and it’s quite timely right now. The new tubing is compatible with 100 percent ethanol fuel, making the product suitable to handle the EPA’s waiver allowing a fuel blend with 15 percent ethanol to be available at local gas stations. The fuel, which has not been commercialized yet, can degrade fuel lines because of the higher ethanol content.