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Agrimarketing : May 2012
AM: Please provide an overview of Lely's agricultural products business. CH: At the start of the century, brothers Cornelis and Arij van der Lely sat by the fire of their parents' farm with a box of Meccano toys, trying their best to give form to their ideas regarding how to alleviate the hard, physical labor of farming. Lely's history in the agricultural industry began in 1948, when Cornelis and Arij's first innovation was patented, the finger wheel rake. Later inventions, including the Lely fertilizer spreader and the Lely Terra Power Harrow, all of which changed the way farmers worked. The second generation of Lely ownership began with Olaf van der Lely, the second son of Cornelis van der Lely. In 1982, he joined the Lely company and under his leadership, Lely expanded its focus to dairy farmers and enhanced its investments in robotic technology. The introduction of the Lely Astronaut robotic milking system and the beginning of its market development marked a major mile- stone in the company's history, as well as the global dairy industry. Today, Alexander van der Lely, the youngest son of Cornelis van der Lely, serves as Lely's CEO. He joined the Lely Group in 1995, around the same time the Lely Astronaut was commercially introduced. Alexander has continued Lely's dedication to research and development which has played an integral role in Lely's growth. This has ensured Lely will continue to bring cutting edge market innovations that help offer dairy and cattle producers a more sustainable, enjoyable, profitable future in farming. AM: What are Lely's other businesses? CH: In addition to the dairy and beef cattle market serviced by our automated milking and feeding solutions, we offer leading edge forage and turfcare products and solutions for dairy/beef cattle producers, golf courses, sports fields and residential markets. Our forage products are known for their durability and ease of use while our turfcare products are manufactured, sold and serviced in the U.S, and are known worldwide for their accuracy and dependability. AM: What new products are Lely introducing to the ag market? CH: Each new Lely innovation is revealed at a Lely Yellow Revolution event. Customers and prospects are able to "attend" the unveiling live online. On April 24, 2012, the newest Yellow Revolution was unveiled, the Lely Vector. The Vector is an automatic feeding system that provides feed to the herd multiple times a day, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, allowing dairy producers to organize the feed for their herd just once every three days. The consistent feed creates healthier cows, and the higher feed intake of all cows results in better performance of low-ranking cows. Increased fresh feed intake means more efficient, cost effective feed management. AM: How are Lely's sales organization and channel to the marketplace organized? CH: The Lely Group is a worldwide organization, active in more than 60 countries, employing more than 1,500 people worldwide. We have five production facilities, located in Maassluis and Rotterdam the Netherlands, Wolfenbüttel and Waldstetten, Germany, and Pella, IA. Our Pella facility opened in March 2012. The new location will help meet the growing demands for automatic milking products in North America in a more timely fashion, eliminating the need for overseas transport. Lely products are sold through Lely Center Dealers located through- out North America. Automatic milking equipment ordered in North America is assembled at our Pella location, and other products at our various facilities worldwide. A major factor in our sales process is Lely Farm Management Support, a knowledge-based team dedicated to working with farm families and dairy producers who purchase Lely automatic milking systems before their system arrives, available to answer any questions a customer has about their system at any time. AM: What role does marketing communications play at Lely? CH: Our strongest marketing and communications tool comes in the connection of current Lely customers with prospective customers. The quality and performance of our products prove themselves in the operations where they're present by helping create more sustainability, profitability and enjoyment in the farming process. Our current customers become our strongest sales tool, communicating this effectiveness to the prospect with a higher credibility than company-to- prospect communications, and the value that comes from a first-hand on-farm experience. We work to be in those media outlets on which our prospective customers most rely for information, industry publications, both print and digital, and combine advertising and public relations efforts in these outlets. We also use social media to share industry and Lely news on LelyLife.com, Facebook.com/ LelyUSA, and on Twitter @DairyRobot. AM Name: Chad Huyser Title: Director Operations, Lely USA Career: He has served as the Director of Sales/Operations of Lely USA since 2007 where he oversees daily operations of U.S. sales, production and growth at Lely USA. : Lely North America PRODUCTION INNOVATION BRINGS GROWTH 74 Agri Marketing May 2012