NAB senior leaders take a closer look at Australia’s trade and export sector – providing all-important insights into how regional and agribusinesses can best respond to today’s challenges and opportunities.
A reactive ownership team prepared to make quick decisions on growth opportunities is creating an agricultural equipment regional powerhouse.
Knowing when to act fast – and being able to do so – lies at the heart of agricultural machinery dealers Kenway and Clark’s success.
The dealership has been selling and servicing agricultural machinery in Moree, NSW, for over six decades. But recent years have been some of the busiest – it now employs around 100 staff and has expanded to seven locations across the region.
This growth, and a sustained standard of excellence and customer care during drought, floods and pandemic, saw the company win the Case IH Australian Dealer of the Year Award in 2022, and the same award in the Service category.
CFO Gemille Hayes says that managing the boom-bust cycle of agriculture and being ready to act on opportunity are key to growing sustainably.
“We haven’t expanded rapidly, but when the opportunities have cropped up we’ve had to react rapidly,” she explains.
“We are very agile because all three business partners work within the business. We’re never far away from each other; we can make decisions very quickly and we can react very quickly.”
A diversified line of products and services helps build resilience into the business. The dealership is best known for its extensive line of Case harvesters, sprayers and tractors. But drought years, with fewer harvester hours, tend to see Kenway and Clark’s customers shift their attention to land improvements and other on-farm activities. That means more interest in the dealership’s earthmoving and construction equipment, haymakers and Isuzu trucks.
Kenway and Clark also operates a parts and servicing business, employing experienced after-sales service mechanics plus around 10 apprentices annually. On the servicing side of things, too, the company is well-regarded for its speed of response.
“For farmers, time is money,” Gemille says. “If your combine harvester breaks down and there’s a storm coming in, that can be the difference between getting your crop off, or losing it. It can mean millions of dollars to a producer.”
“If something does go wrong, we need to get the farmer up and running reliably, as fast as we can. I think that’s what our customers look for, and that’s why we’ve been successful.”
This ability to respond quickly and expertly is mirrored in Kenway and Clark’s relationship with NAB.
“The depth in NAB’s resources and the depths of Kenway and Clark’s management team have helped minimise or mitigate the impact of seasonal downturns, or other issues like COVID and supply chain issues,” explains NAB Agribusiness Manager Luke Bell.
NAB also supports the business with funding lines for machinery, inventory and fleet finance, on top of day-to-day transactional services. It’s a relationship Kenway and Clark values.
“NAB has been an important part of what we’ve done, particularly with our Gunnedah acquisition,” Gemille says. “Luke was instrumental in making that happen as it did.”
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