GIFT AUSTRALIA’S #1 RATED BRAND THIS CHRISTMAS^ ƒ AUSTRALIA’S #1 BRAND FOR GARDEN POWER TOOLS^ ^Claim based on BIS Oxford Report 2023. Print Post Approved PP 100002231 www.power-equipment.com.au INSIDE Review Preview Robotics Fast and Furious Volume 44 No. 6 November - December 2023
REGULAR FEATURES COVER GIFT AUSTRALIA’S #1 RATED BRAND THIS CHRISTMAS^ ƒ AUSTRALIA’S #1 BRAND FOR GARDEN POWER TOOLS^ ^Claim based on BIS Oxford Report 2023. Print Post Approved PP100002231 www.power-equipment.com.au INSIDE Review Preview Robotics Fast and Furious Volume 44 No. 6 November - December 2023 STIHL are proud to have been rated Australia’s #1 brand in garden power tools in the 2023 BIS Oxford research project on the Garden Power Market in Australia. Charged with over 97 years of German engineering excellence, your local STIHL Dealer is the #1 destination for all of your gifting and gardening needs this Christmas. JAK Max your OPE parts specialists TOLL FREE email@example.com P: 1800 604 281 www.jakmax.com.au F: 1800 199 758 Bar Blades Swing Back Blades Bolt Sets Belts Spindles Pulleys PTO Clutches Brushcutter Heads Brushcutter Parts Carby Parts Spark Plugs Air Filters Oil Nylon Line Fuel Cans Safety Equipment Genuine SANLI Parts Genuine Kohler Parts Genuine Briggs & Stratton Parts SPECIAL FEATURES Editor’s Column...................................................4 News........................................................................ 5 Research & Development.................................31 Dealer Profile......................................................24 Maintenance........................................................ 28 New Products......................................................32 Diary Dates..........................................................34 Review Preview.....................................................9 Artificial Intelligence: A Present Reality.......20 Robotics................................................................ 22 Diversity............................................................... 25 NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 3
Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia are pleased to provide the articles contained in this publication to keep its subscribers up to date on issues which may be relevant to their businesses. This publication is supplied strictly on the condition that Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants are not responsible for any deficiency, error, omission or mistake contained in this publication, and Glenvale Publications and Power Equipment Australasia, its employees, agents, authors, editors and consultants hereby expressly disclaim all liability of whatsoever nature to any person who may rely on the contents of this publication in whole or part. Published by GLENVALE PUBLICATIONS A.B.N. 31 218 591 688 11 Rushdale St, Knoxfield VIC 3180 PO Box 50, Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 9544 2233 Fax: (03) 9543 1150 Editor: Elaine Sharman Phone: 0411 550 808 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sub Editor: Jackie Joy Journalists: Jackie Joy John Power Gary Fooks ADVERTISING Alastair Bryers Email: email@example.com Mobile: 0498 555 085 Elaine Sharman Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile: 0411 550 808 ACCOUNTS Melissa Graydon Email: email@example.com SUBSCRIPTIONS Melissa Graydon $60.50 – 6 issues firstname.lastname@example.org ART, PRODUCTION AND ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS Justin Carroll Phone: (03) 9544 2233 PRINTING Southern Impact Pty Ltd 181 Forster Road,Mount Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: (03) 8796 7000 EDITOR’S COLUMN As we delve into the heart of the Australian Outdoor Power Equipment (AOPE) industry, it's impossible to ignore the transformative influence of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics on our field. Gary Fook’s column introduces the history of how we got here in the first of a two-part series on pages 20-21. In recent years, these technological advancements have reshaped the landscape of outdoor power equipment, offering unprecedented precision, efficiency, and reliability. From smart lawnmowers that autonomously navigate intricate landscapes to robotic trimmers programmed for optimal pruning, AI and robotics have not only streamlined operations but have elevated the standards of performance in the sector. As we navigate this era of innovation, it is crucial for our readers to stay abreast of these developments, understanding not only the opportunities they present but also the challenges and ethical considerations that come with integrating AI into our daily outdoor power equipment practices. On pages 22 -23 John Power presents the latest innovations in robotics. Shifting our focus from the technological realm to the natural forces at play, the looming spectre of El Niño casts a shadow over the Australian landscape. As we brace ourselves for the impact of this weather phenomenon, it is imperative for outdoor power equipment professionals to prepare for the impending bushfire season. The risk of wildfires demands heightened vigilance and readiness. In this edition, we bring you insights on how to fortify your equipment. On pages 28-29, Aussie Pumps have kindly shared maintenance information to ensure your pumps are fire ready. Our commitment to the safety and sustainability of the Australian outdoors remains unwavering, and in the face of environmental challenges, we must stand united in our responsibility to protect and preserve our beloved landscapes. It's that time of the year again when our media partners share their product launches, wins and future direction in Review Preview from pages 10-19. In line with the theme of this issue, read how the latest technology allows EVs to charge as fast as it takes to fill a tank with gasoline on page 31 and the closing of the loop between AI and Robotics on page 30. Thought leader Dr Wesley Payne McClendon has shared with us his opinion on the outcomes of the ‘No’ vote on our recent referendum on pages 26-27. For this edition’s Dealer Profile, we head to Ringwood, Vic where the team at Morton’s Machinery is leading the way with their exceptional customer service and stellar product range. Read more about them on pages 24-25. In this last issue for 2023, I would like to thank our media partners for their ongoing loyal support, which allows us to continue to share all the latest news, views and products in the OPE space. We are grateful as without you, we would not have P.E.A. Thank you Jackie Joy and Justin for your dedication and professionalism to present P.E.A at the high standard we set ourselves. Thank you, John Power and Gary Fooks for your contributions. Dr Wesley Payne McClendon, we are truly honoured to have you on board for the ‘Diversity’ series. Thank you so much for your generosity. Please take care and stay safe during the holidays. We, at Glenvale Publishing, wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous, joyful 2024! All the best for now. Elaine Sharman Editor
NEW CSIRO HANDBOOK TO GUIDE BUSINESSES TOWARDS NATURE POSITIVE FUTURE A new handbook released by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, aims to guide businesses – including farmers, forest growers, mining companies and non-governmental organisations – on how to report and account for their natural assets to better protect the environment. Much of the value and growth from the economy is drawn from natural resources as a variety of industries depend on, and profit, from them. However, that growth has coincided with a catastrophic decline in our natural systems; a decline that includes a 70 per cent reduction in the average species population size since 1970. Natural capital accounting is gaining momentum as a way to quantify and integrate the value of nature into decision-making processes, fostering more sustainable and responsible practices to promote long-term environmental and economic well-being. The Natural Capital Handbook delivers practical step-by-step guidelines on how to measure and incorporate natural assets such as clean air, water, soil and living things into their operations. Lead author and CSIRO scientist Dr Greg Smith said the failure to account for nature in decision-making has led to environmental decline over time and is increasingly recognised as a material risk to business. “While nature underpins our economic growth, the value of nature is excluded in dominant financial analysis tools and not always factored into decision-making by businesses,” Dr Smith said. “This is now being recognised as a critical component in helping to reverse environment decline, and in future, is expected to become a mandatory requirement for businesses globally.” The handbook harmonises resources, frameworks, and indicators to help Australian businesses across all sectors measure, track and manage their natural capital assets, enabling them to make informed decisions on nature-related risks and invest in opportunities to help reverse ongoing environmental declines. DISCOVERY OF FRESHWATER PLANT AND ALGAE WITH METHANEREDUCING PROPERTIES A mix of algae scooped out of a Victorian waterway and a species of amphibious grass plucked from a stream have both been found to reduce methane production by up to 24 per cent, in world-first research by a team led by Deakin University’s Centre for Regional and Rural Futures and funded by AgriFutures Australia. Methane from the digestive process of ruminant livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats accounts for the majority of Australia’s agricultural emissions. Aquatic ecologist Professor Rebecca Lester said the project was prompted by a landholder who asked about ways to limit their on-farm emissions having heard about the success of the red seaweed Asparagopsis taxiformis, a macroalgae which can reduce methane emissions in cattle by more than 90 per cent. Professor Lester and a team that included chemists, biochemists, and animal nutrition experts, assisted by the expertise in measuring methane emissions at University of Western Australia, set about finding if there were freshwater alternatives, and started by collecting samples from waterways in Victoria’s Barwon River catchment. “We were looking for species that were already widespread, native and not likely to be toxic or become environmental weeds – we don’t want to create more problems than we solve,” Professor Lester said. The team collected two different samples, a natural mix of algae, as it does not grow in a monoculture in the wild, and the amphibious grass Montia australasica. When fermented by rumen microbes in vitro, testing showed the algal mix reduced methane production by 24 per cent at a 20 per cent dose, and Montia australasica reduced OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… STIHL are proud to have been rated Australia’s #1 brand in garden power tools in the 2023 BIS Oxford research project on the Garden Power Market in Australia. Charged with over 97 years of German engineering excellence, your local STIHL Dealer is the #1 destination for all of your gifting and gardening needs this Christmas with their wide range of battery and petrol powered garden power tools and genuine STIHL accessories. There are over 600 stores nationally, all equipped with the tools, knowledge and advice you need to make the most of your time in the garden and enjoy getting the job done easily, and efficiently. To find your nearest store, visit stihldealers.com.au. MORE INFORMATION STIHL Australia stihl.com.au GIFT AUSTRALIA’S #1 RATED BRAND THIS CHRISTMAS^ ƒ AUSTRALIA’S #1 BRAND FOR GARDEN POWER TOOLS^ ^Claim based on BIS Oxford Report 2023. Print Post Approved PP 100002231 www.power-equipment.com.au INSIDE Review Preview Robotics Fast and Furious Volume 44 No. 6 November - December 2023 OUR FRONT COVER SHOWS… NEWS Deakin University researcher, Mariah Sampson. NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 5
methane production by 21 per cent, at a 50 per cent dose. “This opens the door to saying well maybe we can optimise how we grow them,” Prof Lester said. “We just collected that little Montia plant from the side of a stream. If you grew it under particular conditions, then you might have a much bigger impact.” “We now have multiple species that have potential to be used as a feed additive to reduce methane production in livestock and are likely to be suitable for individual farmers to grow and feed, reducing the complexities of supply associated with marine alternatives. “There’s lots of other benefits associated with water quality, erosion control and reduction of nutrients going into waterways. The next step would be to seek funding to assess whether Montia australasica is a safe feed for cattle, research that could take as little as six to 12 months. “It could be something in practice in the next couple of years,” she said. STUDY SHOWS CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR CHEAPER SOIL CARBON TESTING Researchers from the University of Sydney have found the use of satellite imagery, combined with proximal sensing on the ground, is the best method to reduce the cost of soil organic carbon testing and improve certainty. Soil scientist Dr Mario Fajardo, who led the research, said it is critical to reduce the uncertainty of the measurement itself to create a methodology that is both cheaper and scientifically sound. “For carbon markets to work effectively, we need a soil carbon auditing method that maximises grower profitability and gives purchasers confidence that credits translate to actual carbon sequestration on the ground,” Dr Fajardo said. The research team used three farms managed by the University of Sydney, ranging in area from 70ha to about 2,000ha, to test three methodologies: traditional laboratory-tested soil samples; proximal sensing, which typically involves equipment coming into direct contact with the soil to produce a reading on-site; and a hybrid approach that combined proximal sensing and remote sensing (satellite imagery). At $120 a sample, the laboratory approach was four times the cost of the other two methods, which were both about $30. “In the community there is this idea of just using satellite imagery because it’s almost free, it gives you 100 per cent coverage and you can see the distribution of whatever you are measuring such as where the trees are growing,” Dr Fajardo said. “But it doesn’t give you an exact idea of what’s inside the soil. Soil is very difficult to assess which is why you need to dig a hole and it’s why we’re using proximal sensing as a complement to remote sensing. It’s cheaper and faster than the lab test as you get the results right away.” Dr Fajardo said the team developed a sampling program on the farms, along with an algorithm that combined the proximal and remote sensing data, to provide a level of certainty equivalent to laboratory testing. “It’s also scalable because in Australia you have farms that can be six thousand hectares and can have similar soil types,” Dr Fajardo said. “Sampling strategies depend on the variability of soils. So, the opportunity for Australia is that with these methods you can potentially save a lot of money.” CULTIVATING A CHICKEN MEAT WORKFORCE To meet the needs of a growing population of chicken meat lovers, with the average Australian now consuming 1kg of chicken a week, the new AgriFutures Cultivate Traineeship Program aims to build the poultry workforce one student at a time. AgriFutures has partnered with the chicken meat industry to launch the traineeship, which provides an unparalleled opportunity to launch a career in a thriving sector for people in their early career who are interested in animal welfare, innovation and sustainability. Along with a Cert III in Poultry Production, successful participants will be guaranteed a full-time role in the industry, engage in professional development and mentoring and complete the program alongside a passionate network of peers. Executive General Operations Manager at Inghams, Susy Klein said Inghams were proud to back the initiative. “We are delighted to partner with AgriFutures on this program. It is an important collaboration that provides the industry with a new way of growing our workforce capacity,” Ms Klein said. “There are diverse career options in the chicken meat industry as it has a vastly different structure compared to other agricultural industries. “Chicken companies directly provide farmers with one-day old chicks, feed, veterinary expertise and farm management support, which creates an industry rich in opportunities to progress.” Managing Director of AgriFutures Australia, John Harvey said the Cultivate Program is a unique pathway into the agricultural workforce that aims to catch the attention of those who may not have considered a career in the chicken meat industry before. “With a new focus on strengthening the agricultural workforce, at AgriFutures we recognise that young people have a key part to play as future workers and leaders of the agricultural industry. We need to support them, listen to them and invest in their development,” Mr Harvey said. For more information, log on to www.agrifutures.com.au/cultivate OMBUDSMAN FINDS VICTORIA’S ELECTRIC AND PLUG-IN HYBRID VEHICLE CHARGES ADMINISTERED UNFAIRLY Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass NEWS Dr Mario Fajardo 6 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023
has tabled her investigation into the Department of Transport and Planning’s implementation of the zero and low-emission vehicle charge. The report details a range of failures in the State Government’s implementation of the road-user charge for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (ZLEVs) under the Zero and Low Emission Vehicles Act 2021 (Vic). The Ombudsman received more than 30 complaints about the application of the ZLEV Act. These complaints concerned two main issues – whether the charges were unreasonably applied, considering how owners used their vehicles, and whether additional charges imposed after submitting a late odometer declaration were wrong. One driver of a plug-in electric hybrid, a vehicle that can use either fuel or electric power, reported travelling thousands of kilometres in remote parts of Australia using fuel, as there were no charging stations. Despite the driver paying fuel excise on those kilometres, the Department did not waive the additional hundreds of dollars payable under the ZLEV charge. “We found an unreasonable lack of policy guidance to those administering the legislation, inflexible handling of complaints, and an unwillingness to exercise discretion. It is also wrong to charge penalties not provided for in legislation, and the money collected under this ‘penalty’ should be repaid.” Ms Glass said. Drivers must generally provide photographic evidence of kilometres travelled at the start and end of each registration period. One case in the report highlighted the unfairness faced by a driver who was late providing the required photo of their vehicle’s odometer because they were overseas. Instead of responding flexibly, the Department cancelled her registration. If an odometer declaration becomes overdue, the Department estimated a charge based on the ‘average travel’ of Victorian vehicles. This occurred even where people told the Department this estimate exceeded the distance the ZLEV had travelled in its lifetime, as a ‘penalty’ charge. In five complaints made to the Ombudsman, the Department initially refused to amend invoices where the estimated kilometres exceeded the total distance the vehicle had travelled, describing it as a 'penalty' for lateness. There is no provision in the ZLEV Act for the Department to impose a penalty charge. “As the Robodebt inquiry showed us, there are dangers in making assumptions and using average calculations to charge people. Assumptions have been made about how people will use their electric vehicles, which plainly disadvantage people with older vehicles or those who have less access to charging stations. “And while this report focuses on the actions of the Department of Transport and Planning, there are broader lessons for the public sector about the dangers of making policy on the run (or not making it at all), and the importance of exercising discretion.” Ms Glass said. RURAL TECH ENTREPRENEUR BAGS 2023 AGRIFUTURES RURAL WOMEN’S NATIONAL AWARD Glenmore-based flower farmer, tech entrepreneur and co-founder of Grown Not Flown, Nikki Davey has officially been named the 2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner for her work in creating a digital platform and app connecting flower farmers and consumers, globally. NSW resident and artistic director Michelle Leonard was awarded the National Runner Up title, for her work in creating and founding regional choir, Moorambilla Voices, Ms Davey and Ms Leonard were joined by their fellow national finalists, who were recognised for their outstanding contribution to rural communities and industries during a recent ceremony. Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Murray Watt, made the announcement during a black-tie gala dinner at Canberra’s Parliament House recently in front of over 500 government officials, industry representatives, members of the award’s alumni, other state finalists and their families. The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s leading award in acknowledging and supporting the critical role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities. With the ongoing support of sponsors, Westpac Agribusiness, the program provides opportunities to showcase and inspire the next generation of female leaders across Australia. In addition to the $15,000 Westpac grant already awarded to the seven state and territory winners, Ms Davey and Ms Leonard will receive a further $20,000 and $15,000 respectively to progress the development of their winning projects. FARM RELIEF TOOL TO CONNECT FARMERS WITH GOVERNMENT HELP Australian Government farm business lender, Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) has launched the Farm Relief Tool, a new directory to connect farmers affected by drought, natural disaster or biosecurity events with Australian Government financial and mental health support. A collaboration between RIC, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF), and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the Farm Relief Tool provides important resources for farmers seeking to prepare and recover when faced with challenging times. RIC Chief Executive Officer John Howard said the Farm Relief Tool has been developed in response to agriculture industry calls for simple and easily accessible resources and RIC is pleased to collaborate with DAFF and NEMA to produce it. “Just like other useful tools farmers have in their shed, the Farm Relief Tool is a simple directory for farmers hit by NEWS NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | 7
drought, natural disasters and biosecurity events to quickly and easily find Australian Government options available to support them in tough times and help them to get back on their feet,” said Mr Howard. “We’ve heard from the agriculture industry when farmers know where to find help, they feel more confident, and they have a better outlook on their ability to recover. We know from our own recent customer survey that nine out of ten RIC customers agree their RIC loan has made drought, natural disasters, or external disruption recovery easier,” he said. Australian Pump Industries 02 8865 3500 aussiepumps.com.au Distributor enquiries welcome The online Farm Relief Tool is available online at www.ric. gov.au/farm-relief-tool, and in person through the Rural Financial Counselling Service, or from RIC, NEMA and DAFF information stands at community agriculture events. RIC loans are available to eligible Australian farmers to recover from drought and natural disasters, biosecurity events and prepare for future events through its Drought Loan and Farm Investment Loan. Up to $2 million can be borrowed over 10 years with the first five years’ interest only followed by principal and interest for the remaining five years. The current variable interest rate is 4.52 per cent and reviewed every six months. For more on RIC loans visit www.ric.gov.au/loans. TRANSITION TO NET ZERO NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL New research from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute has painted a clear picture of how Australia’s Net Zero by 2050 transition will impact regions and industries and recommended how to harness and mitigate the human cost. Dr Melinda Hildebrandt used modelling completed by VU’s Centre of Policy Studies in 2021 to examine features of the most affected regions and industries, and some of the current transition initiatives already underway. “We interviewed people engaged in work on local transition programs, mostly in the Hunter and LaTrobe valleys – this presented an accurate picture of the human cost and the significant need for urgent and targeted responses,” Dr Hildebrandt said. In early May 2023, the Federal Government established a National Net Zero Authority to support Australia’s transition by supporting workers, coordinate programs and policies and help investors and companies. “The National Net Zero Authority is welcomed but to ensure the authority is effective, we recommend a nuanced approach taking into account the unique features of each region and industry – it can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach,” she said. The recommendations are: • C oordinate resources across different levels of government and organisation so that the support is provided where and when it is needed. • I dentify best practice and fund support to affected regions/ employees so that regions can learn from each other. • C onduct further research so that policy makers are informed about the changing impacts of the transition to net zero economy at an industry and regional level. VU’s Centre of Policy Studies’ Professor Philip Adams said the work provided the evidence needed to challenge perceptions of transitioning to net zero would be an economic disaster. The team also identified the nine regions and ten industries most affected by a transition to net zero. “The modelling shows all regions in Australia will continue to grow in a post-fossil fuel era – in fact, industries you’d think would suffer like coal mining, will continue to be sizable employers,” Professor Adams said. The research team has submitted their final report to Jobs and Skills Australia for consideration. NEWS RIC CEO John Howard. 8 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023
REVIEW PREVIEW Review Preview 2023 As we cast our gaze back upon the year 2023, the Australian outdoor power equipment industry, vital for maintaining and enhancing the country's vast outdoor spaces, has emerged as a resilient and dynamic sector that has not only weathered the challenges of an ever-changing world but has also adapted and thrived. From the ongoing impact of the global pandemic to significant environmental concerns and socio-political changes, the OPE industry has shown remarkable resilience and innovation in the face of a shifting global landscape. One of the defining aspects of 2023 was the industry’s continued commitment to environmental responsibility. As environmental concerns grow globally, Australian consumers and businesses alike are placing importance on sustainable practices. Manufacturers and dealers are responding by producing and promoting eco-friendly equipment, embracing cleaner technologies and adhering to stricter emissions regulations. Advancements in technology continues to transform the outdoor power equipment industry. Automation, precision engineering, and the integration of smart technology found their way into a range of products, enhancing both performance and user experience. Features like GPS-guided mowing and remote monitoring of equipment became more commonplace, making the management of outdoor spaces more efficient. The year, however, was not without its challenges. Like many industries, the OPE sector faced supply chain disruptions due to global factors, including the ongoing global pandemic and geopolitical tensions. These disruptions led to occasional shortages and delays, impacting manufacturers, dealers, and consumers alike. However, the industry showed remarkable adaptability, with many businesses finding innovative solutions to navigate these challenges. The P.E.A editions this year have truly captured the trends and issues that have dominated the OPE industry. 2023 saw the addition of several new models to STIHL’s growing range of battery garden power tools. Our coverage of the new launches this past year shows how the brand has cemented its position as leaders in battery innovation. As the market changes, brands are evolving too, and as Sumec’s Sales Director Robbie Raymer informs that the battery power station market is growing rapidly around the world, demanding quiet, efficient power supply for camping and backup power in emergency situations. “Over the coming months, you will see further growth into battery riders, other battery programs for the house as we build the G-Force brand as a must-have in store for all quality specialist stores,” he shares in the edition. Also leading the global transformation in battery-powered lawn and garden commercial maintenance equipment is Kress. With a diverse product range, the brand has a strong roadmap of future releases in the coming year as well. Speaking of milestones, Aussie Pumps celebrated three decades of excellence this year. A company that started out as a “hobby” has become a major force, not just in Australia’s agricultural industry but in export markets globally. JAK Max too focused on development and innovation this year. The company introduced several new products to their ever-growing GREENWORKS range and even expanded its market reach domestically and internationally through strategic partnerships. Speaking of winning formulas, Biscount Software took the lead once again with a successful innings this year. Despite inflation and rising interest rates impacting businesses and consumers, the brand increased its market share and forged stronger relationships with both dealers and suppliers alike in 2023. Flexibility in service, support delivery and new program functionality, shares Steve Fairbrother, are all part of their winning mantra. Join us, dear reader, as we embark on this retrospective expedition, capturing the essence of the year that was while also looking at the year ahead in our Review Preview pages that follow. Happy reading and here’s wishing for a brighter, stronger and powered 2024 for all!
Despite inflation and rising interest rates impacting businesses and consumers across both Australia and New Zealand, Biscount seamlessly increased its market share and forged even stronger relationships amongst both dealers and suppliers alike throughout 2023 by remaining flexible in terms of service and support delivery and including new program functionality. The first major piece of work delivered in 2023 was providing their dealers with a further revised workshop module and Point of Sale stock search screen, adding additional functionality to already powerful yet simple to use program modules. Providing integration to the new stock and data search options has allowed for a more streamlined workshop job book-in process and way to find parts across all areas of Biscount in an instant. Additionally, changing the look and feel of screens within all areas of the program to a more uniform colour palette has provided consistency and a modernised product offering to both new and existing dealers who rely on Biscount to manage their dealerships. According to Steve Fairbrother, Marketing and Sales Manager at Biscount, implementing such change was fundamental in making Biscount a more robust and attractive business package. “What has been most helpful, is the feedback received from our dealers throughout the rollout process delivered through program updates. Similar to making integration between Biscount and Xero accounting package available, the new workshop book-in process and new stock searching capabilities has been praised by our dealers for the modernised look, added functionality and time saving benefits they have provided. Further refinements suggested by those who use it most - our dealers have and continue to further strengthen the end user experience,” Mr Fairbrother said. WHAT'S ON THE CARDS FOR 2024? Based on feedback received from dealers throughout the year, there will be a continued emphasis on functionality that improves both efficiency and accuracy whilst ensuring increased profitability for the dealer. Such efforts will include: Release of revised unit and equipment list register In keeping with the push to modernise and add functionality regarding the editing of serial numbered units in stock including unique identifiers such as VIN, HIN and engine numbers, adding second hand units purchased from customers into stock and managing items on floor-plan terms, a new equipment list will be made available to dealers. Further refinement of workshop job input Additional features within workshop will be added throughout 2024 to further modernise and save dealer time with the job invoicing process. Further increase in the extensive list of suppliers with PDF invoicing support Biscount already imports PDF invoices from over 110 suppliers within the Australian and New Zealand OPE, Motorcycle, Marine, Agricultural and Automotive industries, streamlining the receiving of stock with serial numbers, part numbers & descriptions added automatically, with minimal manual input required. Streamlined sales and workshop follow-up process Whilst Biscount already has tools to assist a dealer in keeping in touch with their customers after the sale of a serial numbered unit or to remind of an upcoming scheduled workshop service, a simplified and more automated approach will be made available, saving even more time for the dealer and further increasing profitability through repeat custom. Electronic warranty registrations for more OPE suppliers Electronic warranty registrations (already available for Honda, Husqvarna, SME and Stihl Products) will be expanded to additional manufacturers in 2024. The feature saves dealers from countless hours of manual warranty registrations, a task that Biscount efficiently handles at the time of a unit sale, using information within the customer and major unit records. Additional interfaces to supplier online ordering systems As made available by suppliers in the industries that Biscount services, additional ordering interfaces will be supported by Biscount, allowing dealers to electronically order parts for their customer orders, workshop jobs and inventory directly from Biscount into a supplier back-end portal. Such interfaces drastically reduce doublehandling of information and make the end-toend ordering process fully electronic. Biscount hopes that the success experienced by dealers throughout the year continues, and that 2024 is a further step in the right direction for dealers and suppliers alike. With works already underway for additional key integrations with the likes of Honda and Stihl to name a few, and additional online e-commerce options available directly out of Biscount within a dealership, the team at Biscount are certain they have the needed ingredients to do their part in making this happen. Biscount was an integral part of the winning formula for dealers and suppliers this year. Biscount REVIEW PREVIEW Biscount’s integration to Xero accounting package saves dealer’s time and inputs a detailed date range of Biscount trading figures into Xero in seconds. 10 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023
Call: 03 9570 1777 Visit: biscount.com.au BISCOUNT Business Management Software ® Point of Sale Accounting Stock Control Marketing SMS Xero and ePayDay Interfaces Workshop/KPI’s Search via part number, description, retail price, location or barcode across all of your stock in seconds Written, supported and Australian owned for over 25 years. Biscount is a registered trademark of Biscount Software Pty. Ltd. Find what you want faster with Biscount’s advanced stock search Our Simple, Intuitive & Smart Business Management Software has become even better Experience a free demo of the new & improved Biscount and drive your business further!
JAK Max kicked off the year by focusing on development and innovation. The company's commitment to staying ahead of the curve in terms of technology and design paid off. JAK Max introduced several new products such as GREENWORKS® Commercial, RATO lithium and Archer lithium battery products and added more to the ever-growing GREENWORKS range. These products captured the market's attention and turned into some highly required sales. JAK Max placed customer satisfaction at the forefront of their operations in 2023 with their dedicated team going above and beyond to ensure that customers' needs were met. This commitment translated into an increase in positive customer feedback and an improvement in overall customer satisfaction. Commitment to putting customers first is one of the main pillars at JAK Max and they will continue to build on this department moving forward. The year also saw JAK Max expanding its market reach domestically and internationally. Through strategic partnerships and effective marketing campaigns, they were successful in penetrating new markets. Strengthening distribution networks and establishing a new warehouse in Brisbane has changed how JAK Max was able to reach a wider range of potential customers with faster and somewhat cheaper freight costs. JAK Max also doubled its Victorian operation and this new additional warehouse is now in full swing. The year in review was a remarkable one for JAK Max. The company's commitment to development, innovation and customer satisfaction led to their success throughout the year, even though it was tough at every turn. Their adaptability, employee engagement and innovative marketing strategies allowed them to overcome obstacles and achieve significant milestones in one of the toughest years since 2018. 2024 will be full of new challenges and products within their existing brand range. The RATO product line will expand into a comprehensive range of stationary engines, both horizontal crankshaft and vertical crankshaft, to suit most applications. New additions to the generator range will give JAK Max a large range of generator from 1200 watts all the way up to 9500 watt units. The 2024 JAK Max parts catalogue is hot off the press and will be out within weeks and a continued focus and effort to source more parts is high on their agenda. Over the next 24 months, the company has plans to expand their range by a further 8,000+ new parts and offer best pricing and range for aftermarket spares. Their parts pricing has come down this year and the company is eager to attack more parts business with dealers! The GREENWORKS range is expanding into new exciting lifestyle products, such as e-bicycles, go karts and a recreational mini-bike. With the commercial range being rolled out now, GREENWORKS offers the best quality, value and run times in the Australian market today and is geared up for the changing market in the years ahead. The company’s expanding workforce will be taking these products and more to every dealer in the coming year and it shows their commitment in serving their dealer network better and more efficiently. Exciting times ahead. If you are interested in becoming a JAK Max dealer, reach out to the team. 2023 was full of challenges for businesses worldwide, yet JAK Max managed to navigate through turbulent waters and achieve remarkable success. JAK Max REVIEW PREVIEW 12 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023
BATTERY PRODUCTS - THE POWER & PERFORMANCE OF PETROL WITHOUT THE NOISE & FUMES. THE NEW ADDITIONAL 2000sqm VICTORIAN WAREHOUSE Rely on Commercial quality generators, pumps, portable power stations, engines & pressure washers. ENQUIRE TODAY 1800 604 281 email@example.com Your complete OPE parts supplier. www.jakmax.com.au
Revolutionising the commercial lawn and garden maintenance industry, Kress has built a longregarded international reputation for its advanced German engineering under the well-established Positec Group. Kress has been recognised for designing and manufacturing electric power products for over 60 years. Starting in 1928, when Christian Kress founded a workshop for car electronics, Kress started designing and manufacturing DC and AC electric motors. Throughout the next 90 years, Kress expanded its production to a wider range of items until the pivotal year of 2017 when Kress joined the Positec group, allowing for the development of battery outdoor power equipment for commercial landscapers and aspirational domestic customers. Today, Kress is leading the global transformation to battery powered lawn and garden commercial maintenance equipment in a platform that will power a full line of Kress commercial outdoor commercial equipment that includes backpack blowers, grass trimmers, edgers, chainsaws, and hedge trimmers, as well as walk-behind mowers, with a strong roadmap of future releases on the horizon. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS Kress is taking on the mission to end the dependence on fossil fuels. 2023 saw the latest major milestone in the brand’s almost centurylong history. Kress launched its 8-minute CyberSystem™, a next-gen battery system that boasts the world’s fastest charging times. With a commitment to a zero-emission future for the commercial landscape maintenance industry, the CyberPack™ battery technology helps make the transition from petrol to battery-powered OPE sustainable, with benefits for the environment, productivity and the users’ profitability as well. SAFETY With the stubborn use of petrol-powered tools still impacting how Australians work, statistics show an hour use of a petrol-powered lawn mower is the equivalent of driving a car for 480km. Not only are petrol-powered products detrimental to the environment, but research shows prolonged exposure to high levels of noise has consequences on both physical and mental health. A BETTER INVESTMENT The battery-powered world has found its obstacles in switching from petrol-powered functioning. Kress has successfully addressed all these challenges through its ground-breaking CyberTank™ System. This innovation not only positions Kress as an environmentally friendly solution but also enhances its economic advantages for business owners, positively impacting their bottom line, as well as increasing productivity with reduced downtime. Each Kress commercial-grade tool is designed and engineered for heavy-duty use with a high-efficiency brushless motor, state-of-the-art features and powerful performance. The Kress batteries last up to 10x current offerings and generate equal or greater power output than fossil fuel. There are no more excuses to keep operating noisy, high-cost petrol equipment, or wasting time with battery tools that won’t get the job done. Transitioning to sustainable landscaping will benefit a business in several ways. Not only do Kress tools rival traditional petrol-operated equipment in terms of power, but they also drastically reduce the carbon footprint and operating costs with its 8-minute fast-charging feature, a market leading number of battery charge cycles, as well as guaranteed ROI for switching to the Kress CyberSystem™ from your existing petrol-powered or traditional battery equipment. This technology comes with market leading commercial warranties of 5 years for tools, and 8 years for CyberPack™ Batteries and the CyberTank™ (with extended warranty). For professional landscapers, reliability and peace of mind is everything. The Kress commercial range certainly delivers on that front. By switching to Kress, landscapers can reduce emissions of toxic pollutants, create a quieter soundscape, save costs on fuel and maintenance, increase productivity with reduced downtime, and ensure better working conditions for their workforce. It’s time to be the change. Visit www.kress.com/en-au/ for more information on how to become a dealer. Kress provides dealer ROI through revolutionary technology Kress REVIEW PREVIEW 14 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023
For large gardens and serious commercial users, STIHL have cemented their position as leaders in battery innovation with the launch of the highly anticipated MSA 300 C-O: the strongest battery chainsaw worldwide, along with the new MSA 220 T arborist chainsaw and the BGA 300, a battery powered backpack blower. For home gardens, STIHL’s AK system welcomed eight new models to the range which now boasts over 15 models and counting, while the AS Battery System which includes the GTA 26, STIHL’s number one selling tool worldwide, now offers three different tools all powered by the one battery after launching the new SEA 20 handheld vacuum cleaner. Let’s take a closer look. AP BATTERY SYSTEM MSA 300 C-O & AP 500 S The MSA 300 C-O sets a new benchmark in performance as the most powerful battery chainsaw in STIHL’s growing battery range. With plenty of torque and a battery capable of delivering 3kW of power, the MSA 300 C-O cuts quickly through large pieces of timber and is comparable in performance to the popular MS 261 C-M. The powerhouse behind the MSA 300 C-O’s worldclass performance is the new AP 500 S battery. It is the first battery in the AP System to use laminated battery cells capable of delivering a significantly higher power output of 3kW and is compatible with every other tool in the AP battery system with around 20 per cent longer working times compared to the AP 300 S. BGA 300 The BGA 300 is the most powerful blower in the STIHL range and has been designed for professionals working over long periods and in noise sensitive areas. Featuring four different power modes and a ‘boost’ mode, users can adjust the blowing force to suit the application. The power level is easily visible and adjustable thanks to the LED display which sits on the trigger handle. There is also the option to activate the cruise control which is a welcome feature for those with a longer job ahead of them. The BGA 300 also features a specially designed noise reduction system which significantly lowers the high-pitched frequencies which are usually associated with battery powered blowers. MSA 220 T The new STIHL MSA 220 T is the most powerful battery top handle chainsaw in the STIHL range and has been designed exclusively for professional use by trained arborists. A fantastic alternative to the MS 201 TC-M petrol chainsaw, the MSA 220 T is more than capable of cutting large branches and making reduction cuts across the tree canopy and features an impressive suite of innovative comfort and safety features. AK BATTERY SYSTEM MSA 60 & MSA 70 These new models are the upgraded versions of the popular MSA 120 C-B and MSA 140 C-B battery-powered chainsaws and include a few handy improvements. A new Ergo lever on the back handle has been added for even greater user comfort, and the trigger system has also improved, meaning you have maximum control over the speed of the chainsaw chain. The MSA 70 offers 25 per cent more cutting performance than the MSA 60. HSA 50 & HSA 60 The HSA 50 is the new compact and lightweight option for hedge care in the AK system and is perfect for tidying hedges around a home garden with its 50cm bar. The HSA 60 is the next step up and can go that little bit further with a 60cm bar. This model boasts an impressive list of innovative features to make light and enjoyable work of hedge trimming including a rotating handle and an anti-jamming system. SHA 56 Another very welcome addition to the STIHL AK battery system and one that has been long awaited is the SHA 56 battery blower vacuum which does exactly what its name implies. Users now have the option to tidy the leaves and debris in their backyard before collecting them up and turning them into mulching them with the one single machine. RLA 240 The RLA 240 is the first scarifier to join the STIHL range. This multi-function tool gives users the option of either scraping their turf for better aeration, or for combing the dead grass and moss from their lawn, also known as dethatching, using the aerator roller. Simply attach the tool you need in a few simple steps, adjust the working depth, and away you go. BGA 70 The compact construction of the new BGA 60 and the well-balanced build with a centre of gravity close to the handle is designed to preserve energy and extend the battery run time. The blowing tube is also adjustable in length so that users can adapt it to suit their height. Not only does this make it even more comfortable to use, but it also avoids loss of blowing power due to excessive ground clearance. AS BATTERY SYSTEM The STIHL SEA 20 is STIHL’s first portable handheld battery vacuum cleaner allowing users to quickly clean small, dry areas efficiently. The removable container is incredibly easy to empty on the go and it comes with a range of different attachments to suit the task at hand making It perfect for keeping your car, workshop, or garage, neat and tidy. All models are available exclusively through local STIHL Dealers. 2023 saw the addition of several new models to STIHL’s growing range of battery garden power tools. STIHL REVIEW PREVIEW 16 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023
THE FUTURE OF BATTERY-POWERED GARDEN TOOLS Innovation starts with STIHL ƒ ^Claim based on BIS Oxford Report 2023. RATED BRAND # AUSTRALIA’S #1 BRAND FOR GARDEN POWER TOOLS^
Our business plans and goals are simple. While others are demanding your business with some unreasonable requests that serves only their needs, we prefer to use older style partnership values, presenting our selected dealers with opportunities to compete and succeed in the market with a product range selected for our conditions; the opportunity to be both profitable and competitive with the big retail giants, the opportunity to have a simple range of products that does not demand huge financial outlay, the opportunity to have a supplier partner who is understanding of the challenges in the market to help you build a successful business. To date, G-Force has been focusing on building both its distribution and range with some success. We have targeted selected dealers - we do not want every retailer in town - who represent what we see as the right business partners to build a strong and sustainable future for both our customers and the G-Force brand. G-Force is owned by Sumec Hardware & Tools who are a large manufacturer of OPE for not only our own brands but also many of the leading brands around the world, including the Australian/New Zealand markets. Sumec is also proud to promote they are a carbon neutral manufacturer that meets all local and global manufacturing standards. Our 2022 range was based on 5 x Petrol mowers powered by both Zongshen & Honda that deliver both competitive retail positions but importantly profitability to our customers. We are using a proven chassis and specification suited to our mowing habits and grass types; we use common parts across the range to reduce your parts inventory making the dealer business profitable across both retail and workshop. We know the market and times are changing, and G-Force is ready for these times. We have started with the introduction of battery power using 21700 Samsung cells on our EVmow series with the same specifications as a petrol-powered mower, but we feature up with a powerful 1500w motor that will give you the performance required for our conditions. With majority of battery mowers under 1000w the G-Force EVmow stands above the pack, and is not available to mass merchant or tools shops. The EVmow series includes a range of skins including a multi-tool trimmer with 2.0mm easy load head, blower, chainsaw and hedge trimmer, all using the 60v 5Ah Samsung battery pack. Also now arriving into our Australia range as part of our new market products is the 800m2 Robotic mower that retailers with a strong profit margin to the dealer at $999 as a full DIY kit. This will allow our dealer partners to not only compete but compete aggressively against the mass merchants entering this market space with superior specification and pricing. We will also be launching 300w, 1000w and 2000w battery power stations in Australia using high quality battery cells. The battery power station market is growing rapidly around the world for quiet, efficient power supply for camping and backup power in emergency situations. The battery power station market presents dealers a great opportunity for increased business that is not dependent on grass growth and is all year around. Over the coming months you will see further growth into battery riders, other battery programs for the house as we build the G-Force brand and a must have in store for all quality specialist stores. If you are interested in becoming a G-Force partner, please visit our website at www.gforcetools.com.au and send us your enquiries. The market and times are changing, and G-Force is ready for these times writes Sumec’s Sales Director Robbie Raymer. G-Force REVIEW PREVIEW 18 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2023