PMC Harvesters Ltd, formerly FMC Technologies Ltd, has been producing pea and bean harvesters in Fakenham since 1970.
These specialised machines have been developed to increasing levels of capacity, reliability and efficiency and are highly regarded by growers and processors across the globe. No wonder that PMC is the market leaders of harvesting machinery in the world.
Its reputation in the international pea and bean growing market means that PMC’s customers often come to them, however there is still competition across the globe and the company needs to constantly deliver superb products and service to stay ahead and remain cost-effective, so says Customer Services Manager Morris Holl.
“New business comes from several areas. Existing clients often expand to new regions – and our relationship means they take us with them. We also set up agents and distributors in the areas where we have a strong customer base – such as Serbia, Croatia, Spain, Italy and South Africa. This means we have excellent representation overseas and any potential sales can be maximised.
“We are now also looking at breaking into India, which is a very new market for us. But we do have such a good name globally that starting the conversation with new customers is never too hard.
“We have a sales team, but they mainly focus on after sales support. Whenever we ship out a new machine, we send a team as well to train the customer on how to use it and get them going. It’s a very important part of the total service package we offer.”
PMC uses the Norfolk Chamber on an ongoing basis for its EUR1 documents. “The Chamber export team is very experienced and efficient and provides us with excellent support. Accurate paperwork is a huge part of ensuring the process runs smoothly.”
With overseas trade there are often frustrations with culture, language or varying methods of working. What challenges does Morris faces? “It’s mostly red tape and bureaucracy – they can test one’s patience. This is especially in Turkey, where they have recently started investing in mobile harvesters rather than static ones. The key is to stay calm, be patient and just accept that things have to go through certain processes.”
Shipping the harvesters safely and quickly to destinations around the world is no mean feat. “These are big, heavy machines, and they don’t come in a small package,” explains Morris. “We ship by sea, as it really is the only method open to us. It’s expensive, too - it costs around £20k to ship a harvester to New Zealand.
“I have learned many lessons over the years about exporting successfully; be patient, deliver excellent customer service at all times, and pay great attention to detail – there are a lot of factors to consider and many things can potentially be overlooked.”