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One of our branches specialises in the supply and repair of gardening and landscaping equipment for both the professional and domestic user. Seddons Garden Machinery is based in Shirley, Solihull, and is headed up by Anthony Cole, who joined the company 12 months ago, and in that time Anthony has been particularly successful in securing more commercial work, with a particular emphasis on workshop repairs.
Anthony has worked in the groundcare market since leaving school, securing an Apprenticeship and then progressing on to become a Workshop Technician. He managed the workshops at Turner Groundcare in Birmingham, a John Deere dealership, and Global Sales, a Kubota dealership and leading arboricultural and groundcare equipment distributor covering the Central and West Midlands, before joining the team at Solihull.
The Solihull team comprises Sales Advisor Paul Meakin, who has worked at the branch for four years and is the team’s longest serving member of staff. Lee Kay has accumulated two and a half years’ service and is the Sales Assistant with responsibility for Workshop Parts and Parts for customers. Phil Bibb, a qualified Tree Surgeon, joined the Solihull team as Sales Assistant 12 months ago and also has driving responsibilities.
In the workshop, Dean Wren is the Service Technician and joined the branch some five months ago. Ashley Dandy is the Apprentice Technician and has completed an Apprenticeship Programme in Land Based Service Engineering at South Worcestershire College, a national centre for grounds maintenance engineering. A relative newcomer to the team is Jessica Toole who assists with administration duties.
Anthony told us: “Our workshop side has become more efficient than ever before in terms of booking machines in, assessing them quicker and notifying customers that their machines are ready for collection. Repairs are typically completed within just five days.”
As part of Anthony’s efforts to secure more commercial work, he has helped secure two large contracts with Mitie and OCS. Mitie provides facilities, property and energy management for a wide range of public and private sector businesses and the contract that Anthony and Area Salesman Simon Brough have secured not only impacts on the Solihull branch, it also brings in the complete Seddons Plant & Engineers Ltd network as it involves workshop repairs, machinery breakdowns and the supply of replacement parts on a national basis.
Anthony said: “I’ve dealt with my contact at Mitie for some 15 years now and it’s great news that we’ve won the work. We’re making every effort to provide an exceptional level of service on a national basis. I’m in the process of looking for another Workshop Technician to service the Mitie contract. OCS also provides facilities management services and the work involves repairs, parts supply and machinery sales. At the moment, this work just involves our branch, but there is huge potential for rolling it out company-wide.”
On the equipment sales side, the Solihull team has been proactively working with the Marketing team. A run of adverts is appearing in the local Solihull Observer newspaper until November and a massive Garden Machinery Clearance Sale was held over seven days at the end of August.
“When we kicked off the sale week, it really brought people through the door and the phone was ringing constantly. We’ve been able to get rid of excess stock and non-current models, so every single Mower we offer is now up-to-date. During the sale week, we sold around 15-20 large machines which dated back to 2013, including a Mower worth £10,000 which we sold to a contractor. So we certainly achieved what we set out to do,” Anthony continued.
A great deal of work is also being carried out to raise the profile of Seddon Garden Machinery locally. For instance, the branch has become an official sponsor of Solihull Neighbourhoods in Bloom, an annual competition designed to celebrate the many green-fingered residents or local businesses of Solihull who keep the borough looking blooming great. Residents or businesses can enter themselves or nominate neighbours or fellow businesses in a wide range of categories, from front gardens to hanging baskets.
Organised by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in conjunction with partner organisations, Solihull Neighbourhoods in Bloom has taken place for three years now and relies on sponsorship for prizes for residents and the local community. As part of our sponsorship, vouchers have been donated for use at Solihull.