Back in early 2019 after an internal reshuffle, at Hundegger Australasia Pty Ltd we made a conscious decision to expand our Technical Service Department and to decentralise the long-standing “Melbourne-centric” nature of our support. The previous model of “fly-in, fly-out” with personnel to interstate and New Zealand destinations was no longer meeting either our or our customer expectations about product support. It was time for a change. We had previously had a full time Service Technician in Queensland, but illness had unfortunately necessitated an interruption to this role. It had however demonstrated the advantages of regional support. We committed to a strategy to offer a higher level of Service to our customers in the Australasian region, and we were determined to get it right. We set out a timeline and embarked on a program aimed to increase skill levels, personnel numbers and create some specialist roles.
With a rapidly expanding customer base in New Zealand, this was the logical place to start. After a rigorous search, by July 2019 we had located a great candidate and by September 2019, we had our first NZ based Hundegger Service Technician – Ben. Looking to expand the Australian support into NSW as well, by late October 2019 we had located a candidate who was based in Germany and wanted to migrate to Australia. But with family ties and the onset of Corona, this fell through.
Meanwhile, the situation in New Zealand with Ben was working well, but the workload was increasing with our machine base there doubling and nearly tripling with new sales and installations. The next step in our plan had been to place someone in NSW, but as we could no longer travel to NZ from Australia to support Ben, but still had restricted travel in Australia, we again decided to expand further the New Zealand support base. Embarking on another recruitment process, by August 2020, we welcomed Dylan to the Hundegger Team as another New Zealand based Service Technician.
By early 2021, we were again finally able to travel in Australia reasonably freely and could focus again on expanding our Australian support. We have recruited and are now training a NSW based Service Technician. Shankar will cover the important NSW market for Hundegger. In April 2021, we are now ahead of where we planned in NZ and almost a year behind in our plans in Australia, but the final piece of the strategic growth plan will commence shortly, with the search for a QLD based Service Technician.
There is no doubt that the Covid-19 Pandemic has disrupted the roll-out of the plan and at the same time clearly demonstrated the importance of regional Technical Support. Moving forward, we are now in a position where we had previously had a Technical Support team of four Technicians and a Service Manager in Melbourne, and now have a Service Manager, Service Coordinator and seven Technicians and the next expansion into Queensland will make it a team of ten. Having dedicated personnel in the major regions enables us to allocate resources as required for additional support during installations from the Melbourne base, and continue to offer remote support and cover illness, and training or annual leave.
We are looking forward to consolidating the decentralised structure and identifying new ways to expand that further as challenges arise.
L-R: Jay, Dylan, Andres, Ben, Shankar, Karen, Naem, Abdullah.