The success of John Deere Africa Middle East in this region is the culmination of the hard work and expertise of countless individuals who, like the inner workings of a machine, slots into their individual places to contribute towards the effective and smooth functioning of the company’s operation as a whole. The Aftermarket Support and Dealership Network plays a pivotal role in customer satisfaction and  service delivery – one of the key attributes of successful businesses.

Therefore, the most important key players in the Agricultural and Construction Sectors were invited to partake in the glamorous and prestigious annual Awards Ceremony hosted by John Deere Africa Middle East hosted at Kievits Kroon on 10 November 2023.

One of the highlights of the evening is the Award for Parts Expert of the year. In an industry that has the amount of collective knowledge, experience and expertise that is shared between the John Deere Aftermarket Support and Dealerships, it is no small feat to be crowned the overall winner in this category – and even more so when the honour befalls you for the second time in a row.

Mornè Cloete from AFGRI Polokwane was yet again the overall winner of this category that entailed rigorous theoretical and practical testing of the participants’ skills and knowledge, as well as their overall conduct and retail performance. 230 Participants completed round 1 and 42 participants moved on to the next round for further testing. From the second round a further 10 participants were chosen and from this group, the top 5 were invited to the awards ceremony where the Winner, runner up and second runner up was announced. Abraham Mouton was the runner up and Magda Wallace took third place in this category.

Says Cloete, “To walk away with the award for a second time in a row is firstly a great honour and secondly, something I did not expect – and it gives me a feeling of pride because it indicates that there is something small that I might be doing right or different. We compete against men and women with excellent skills and who do their jobs with passion and who also do it with the responsibility that our profession requires. I am grateful for the opportunity and it inspires me, but in the same sense I also want to encourage everyone who is competing every year to keep going and keep trying to reach the top positions. It is something that anyone can achieve and the opportunity must be tackled as a learning process, an experience and a challenge.”

In an industry with ever-evolving technology, it takes one’s A game to stay in front of the race.“At the beginning of each new working day you are exposed to new problems many of the problems are the kind you have had little or no experience with. The way in which you approach it, is what makes you better at the work you do, especially when your attitude is one of needing to fi nd a solution – with no excuses. The technology we have available today is what makes this possible.

Part Expert of the Year- Mornè Cloete; AFGRI Polokwane

One of the challenges that Mornè also poses to himself is to memorize all the parts codes, what the part looks like, where the part works and most importantly, what the exact function of each part is.

“My biggest focus is also that when a customer contacts me and explains what he or she is looking for, that I will already have a part code in mind.” This ensures that he is able to immediately compare the part code with the customer’s machine serial, and then – should the part not match the customer’s machine, he immediately knows exactly where and what to look for. “Time is of the utmost importance. Thus, whenever and as much as possible, get to know and memorize your parts and their codes.”

To continuously learn and always try to better his knowledge and skill is definitely one of the attributes that may contribute to Mornè’s success thus far. “I feel that I have not yet reached my full potential in my profession. There is a lot that I know, but there is still much more that I need and want to learn and I see everyday as a learning opportunity. I enjoy learning new things – it’s exciting and fun – and I believe that it will benefit me if there are bigger opportunities waiting for me in the future.”

It was not only individuals that were acknowledged and awarded for their excellence service and skills on the evening. The Parts Sales Branch of the Year Award was presented to the top performing branch in the region with numerous criteria being taken into account. Firstly, the overall growth in sales – net sales as well as growth in alternative parts sales – were the main contributing factors. The level of training of employees of the branch as well as the overall customer value offered, i.e. parts availability and the manner in which stock is planned for, also played a big role. The branch’s ability to retain customers over the full life cycle of a sale, which pertains to the range of choices they are able to offer to the customer (specifically alternative parts for older generation machines) was also taken into account. Lastly the overall neatness of the branch facilities and effective displays in the branch was evaluated and scored.

The winner of this Award was the AFGRI Lydenburg branch, which given its size, is quite an achievement. “We are immensely proud of this achievement,” said Frikkie Roos, the general manager of the branch. “Small branches like our one in Lydenburg don’t often get the opportunities and are often overshadowed by bigger dealerships. The amount of work that goes into being the top achiever is immense, and it is individuals like our Parts Manager in Lydenburg that took ownership from day one, that really makes a big difference.” Frikkie also thanked John Deere for the opportunities and support that they provide in order for the Dealerships to perform. “The seasonal programs such as the TS programs, oils and filters etc. that we are able to offer at competitive prices, boosts our sales. The Alternative parts range has also resulted in us getting support from the more price sensitive customers in the area. We also have a permanent mechanic in the area who has also contributed greatly to our growth.”

It was yet again a night to remember, with the top achievers, individuals as well as teams, getting the recognition they deserve.

Parts Sales Branch of the Year- AFGRI Lydenburg