Matt Hanson (L), the forestry division manager of Roland Machinery, and Bruce Entsrom, vice president of sales of Norco Equipment, pose in front of a new Puma 409 4-wheeled forwarder on site at the Roland Machinery Branch in?Escanaba, Mich.
Norco Equipment announced that two distributors of forestry machinery agreed recently to represent Norco in their regions.
Mark Hollister, Norco’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, reported that Roland Machinery Co. will be his firm’s authorized distributor in the Great Lakes Region, while The Oliver Stores becomes the authorized Norco Equipment distributor in the New England states.
Matt Hanson, the forestry division manager of Roland Machinery, said the arrival of Norco Equipment signals the welcome return of a locally based equipment manufacturer in his region.
“There are lots of well-respected OEMs building equipment, but we have to ask whether they are the right fit for the specific needs of our customers. Norco people and Norco machines give us the right fit for our producers. Norco is based in the Lake States, for the Lake States industry.”
At The Oliver Stores, President Scott Morrison echoed Hanson’s welcome of Norco products. Norco offers producers a range of machines especially suited to the region’s cut-to-length operations.
“We try to offer our customers a ’stump to chip’ solution for their business, similar to Norco’s product strategy. About 30 percent of our producers are in cut-to-length, and we had gaps in our line-up. Norco will help to fill the gaps in that area.”
Product Offering Now Complete
Both distributors highlight the Puma 220 track harvester as a key addition to their offering. The Puma 220 is a 50,000 lb. machine that offers the transportability and the light footprint necessary for today’s cut-to-length business. With the Puma 220, Norco also has introduced a slide-out cab that provides clear, easy access for cleaning and routine service points.
Matt Roland, president of Roland Machinery, said the launch of the Norco Harvester is a timely development for local producers.
“The 50,000 lb. harvesters were the largest category in our territory until they no longer were being manufactured. The Puma 220 harvester fills a real void in the industry.”
Norco’s Puma line-up also offers a series of forwarders in the 9- and 12-ton (8 and 11 t) range.
“Norco puts us back into the 4-wheel forwarder business. Years ago, we represented the Iron Mule forwarders, which were a very popular machine that’s no longer available. The Puma 409 forwarder fills that gap and also gives our customers a choice of 4-wheel, 6-wheel and 8-wheel models.”
Meeting The Needs Of Biomass Producers
Morrison noted that the latest models of the Dynamic chippers and grinders from Norco should also be attractive to producers in his region.
“We have about 14 biomass plants in the area and another half-dozen pellet plants. We worked with the conehead chipper when the idea was first being introduced, and we could see it was a valid concept.”
Norco has since developed a larger Dynamic 585 conehead model in the 600 to 800 hp range, and the 1,000 hp model 885 is ready to launch. With these, Morrison sees the right production capacity for the conehead concept to suit his market.
Matt Roland sees this specialization in Norco products as a key to the company’s future success.
“Norco takes a ’rifle shot’ approach to the market; they are a focused manufacturer, selecting its markets and targeting products for them. This makes them more attentive to the customers too.”
“We are a retail minded company,” Roland continued, “and it’s easier to work with a company whose people have a retail base. Our connection with Bruce [Sparky] Enstrom, vice president sales, Norco Equipment, goes back more than 30 years. We’re very keen on him as part of the Norco family. Having the Norco factory in our backyard will extend a valued arm of our support to customers.”
“The dealer focus at Norco was a big plus for us,” said Morrison. “[Norco Chairman] Bill VanSant is well known as a man to be respected in the industry. And with Regional Manager Mike Taranovich located right in our territory with his family business experience, that’s a huge benefit to us.”
According to Hanson, Norco reflects its close connection to producers in the design of its equipment.
“Our customers are independent producers who work very long hours; they’re very dedicated; they make all the decisions for the business and they also do their own repairs. Norco’s simple design and their use of North American components make it easier for producers to do their servicing in the field, without having to rely on factory technicians.”
Simplicity gives Norco machines a cost advantage, too, said Roland.
“Bells and whistles just add costs to equipment,” he said, “while our goal is to help customers control their costs.”
The appointment of Roland Machinery and The Oliver Stores gives Norco Equipment a foothold in two of America’s most productive forestry regions.
“Our company was created by people who have personal experience on the distributor side of the desk,” said Hollister. “We do understand what it takes to make the business relationship work for both sides, and I believe our success with these two top distributors shows that.”
The Oliver Stores will support Norco in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Roland Machinery will service Norco customers in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois as well parts of Indiana and Missouri.