Andy Blandford, CNH Industrial Construction Equipment VP EAMA, on Case growth plans
First publishedin Aggregates Business International
Driving down quarry and heavy construction customers' fuel and operation costs is, says Andy Blandford, a “continual focus” for Case
Andy Blandford has played a key management role in a period of great change at CNH Industrial Construction Equipment – changes that leave the company and its globally popular Case Construction Equipment brand primed for growth. Guy Woodford reports.
After leaving his Central and Eastern Europe Vice President sales role at top US tractor firm AGCO to become CNH Industrial Construction Equipment Vice President Europe, Africa and Middle East in May 2014, Andy Blandford and his fellow senior company executives wasted no time in focusing on creating clear market breathing space between the sector heavyweight’s Case and New Holland brands.
“We’ve taken the decision that for the construction, infrastructure, and waste recycling side of the CNH Industrial business, every model from 1-75tonne will be a Case model. Compact equipment, such as skid steers and mini excavators, is now New Holland branded and sold through the CNH Industrial agricultural tractor dealer network,” explains Blandford.
“This has meant that we’ve had to make a number of changes in our market dealer network. I think we’ve got a good dealer network but we’ve tried to further improve it, to give excellent aftersales service to the Case customer.”
Blandford cites England as an example of how Case has enhanced its dealership reach since spring 2014. “The industry volume there is about 40,000 units. It’s the biggest market in my region and 35% of it was uncovered by us, we didn’t have a dealer in place. Now the UK is 100% covered.
“As we’ve now got absolutely clarity on our strategy and direction, and we’ve got a good team and great products, we’ve been able to persuade a couple of big [UK dealer] players from the industry to join us. It’s making a difference already as we are much more credible with some of the big national waste recycling and rental companies. Aftersales is a differentiator. It’s what matters.”
CNH Industrial’s EAMA Construction business VP believes quarrying and heavy construction customers are now beginning a steady process of fleet renewal, with a big focus on total cost of ownership (TCO).
“There are sales opportunities throughout the entire Europe, Africa and Middle East region. Africa is an industry of around 23,000-25,000 units, and although the continent is absolutely huge, we have to [primarily] focus, to be successful, on sub-Saharan Africa. The biggest market within that is South Africa at about 6,000 units. We have an office in South Africa with a number of people there, as we believe we need people locally in the market in order to be successful.
“The second focus for us is in Africa is the Maghreb region: Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco, in that order, as the second biggest Africa market is Algeria. The market there is today giving us and our competitors some difficulty. Due to the availability of currency, there are some import restrictions in place. The restrictions, though, will come off.
“The African market on a 12 months rolling basis is down about 25%. It doesn’t look that great today, but you have to say that if you look at Case globally, one of the largest growth opportunities we have is Africa. The question is when that growth will happen. The answer is different for all countries within Africa. It depends on things such as infrastructure investment and availability of capital.”
Andy Blandford says Case's F Series wheeled loaders – including the pictured 1021 F – are among the brand's current best-selling models
Of the Middle East market, Blandford says: “The three big markets are Saudi Arabia, which is by far the biggest at around 12,000 units of construction equipment; the United Arab Emirates, which is still getting a lot of investment in infrastructure, in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi; and Qatar. Although Qatar is not that big a country, there’s a lot of investment going on for lots of different reasons. One reason would be the [2022 Football] World Cup creating a need for construction. If you can be successful in these three markets, sales in the other smaller markets like Kuwait and Bahrain will come automatically.”
Blandford says a “continual mission” to upgrade infrastructure such as roads, ports, trains, and housing makes the Middle East a very attractive long-term growth region for leading OEMs such as Case. He adds: “The UAE and Qatar market is up about 45% over the last year – despite Saudi Arabia being a little bit flat. These countries have capital and this level of growth is sustainable.”
Within Europe, the major sales markets of UK, France and Germany are a key focus for Case CE, according to Blandford.
Of Case’s current best-selling models in the quarrying and heavy construction sectors, Blandford says: “We have many models that suit this sector well. Key are our renowned D series crawler excavators and our best in class F series wheeled loaders.
“Our D series crawler excavators have outstanding performance and productivity with world-class fuel efficiency. Our F series wheeled loaders lead the competition in terms of visibility, productivity and TCO.
Andy Blandford’s CV
May 2014 – Present – Switzerland
Vice President CNH Industrial Construction Equipment Europe, Africa & Middle East
January 2012 – April 2014 - Switzerland
Vice President Sales, Central and Eastern Europe
February 2009 – December 2011 - Switzerland
Vice President Sales and Marketing, Eastern Europe and Asia
May 2006 – January 2009
Vice President Operations, North America
Director/General Manager - JCB Compact Products Ltd.
May 2004 – May 2006 - UK
Director/General Manager - JCB Cab Systems Ltd.
May 1999 – February 2004 - UK“Evaluation of new products like these with key customers is critical to maintaining this leadership. Case’s engineering and manufacturing site in Lecce, Italy is the centre of competence for all wheeled Case products including the F series wheeled loader.”
Blandford says that driving down its quarry and heavy construction customers’ fuel and operation costs is a “continual focus” of the brand. “Although we are best in class today we are always looking to improve,” he stresses. “Case has a strong focus on TCO and, as well as best in class operating costs, Case also offers industry leading maintenance contract, warranty and financial solutions.”
Despite having offices in Italy and Switzerland, the vast geographical area coming under his remit at CNH Industrial Construction Equipment means Blandford is pretty much constantly travelling from country to country for meetings with customers and dealers or to attend key industry exhibitions and conferences.
So what keeps Blandford working within the construction equipment sector? “I’m an engineering graduate. I’m a product guy and always worked with capital plant of some type, whether it be excavators, combine harvesters, tractors or wheeled loaders. For me, it’s good to be associated with a product which is actually used by people to do something worthwhile.
“I like the products and the people in our industry, but we also have a cause and a purpose. These machines are building houses, commercial units, hospitals and roads. All this is adding value and you can identify with what you’re doing. I would have difficulty working outside this industry as the people and equipment within it are very interesting.”