The global population is expected to total more than 9 billion by 2050 and farmers will need to double their agricultural output while using the same amount of land, water and other resources. This challenge is one that General Manager of Hutcheon and Pearce, Arron Hutcheon, is ready to play a part in.
Since 1953 Hutcheon and Pearce, a family owned and operated business, has been supplying agricultural and farm machinery including the John Deere brand across South West NSW. Arron Hutcheon joined the service department of the business when he finished high school and two years ago took over the business from his parents. Together with his management team and branch managers, Arron drives the business strategy.
“I have a clear vision of where I want to take Hutcheon and Pearce, but when I came on board as General Manager I wanted advice in optimising how to leverage the expertise and knowledge of my team”, recalls Arron.
“Recent good seasons have protected the industry to a certain extent from the general economic impact of the financial crisis. This year, tractor and harvester sales have been strong and Hutcheon and Pearce is on track to record it’s biggest ever turnover”, says Arron. Even though the climate is favourable at present, Arron recognises the need to plan for the future, both in the short and long term. In the long term, Arron wants to actively pursue strategic growth plans that adopt and integrate new farming technology available in the market. “Since the drought has broken in rural NSW, there are opportunities to expand and grow the business and that is why I contacted RSM”, adds Arron.
Working with RSM
With rapid developments in technology, Hutcheon and Pearce sees significant opportunity in the agricultural machinery sector especially with respect to the way the business sells, sources and services the equipment.
“The new technology is exciting; where there is change, there is opportunity. RSM has assisted us in developing strategies that help branch managers and clients embrace change and take a positive outlook on the future”, says Arron.
RSM director Andy Graham has helped Hutcheon and Pearce refine the group’s structure and set up a more specialised management team including integrated solutions (technology), human resources and after-sales service.
“RSM has a breadth of knowledge across industries. Their ability to offer creative solutions that are based on strategies from unrelated industries will continue to bring out the best in my team as we implement our plans for growth. They are also personally really good to work with”, adds Arron.
Recognising that business planning was not the only area important to growth of the business, Arron is pleased to be working with Andy Graham from a business mentoring aspect.
“Andy has really helped me improve the way I manage my team and adapt to changing market conditions”, says Arron. On taking over the family business, Arron observes that “it went somewhat to plan and I am grateful to my parents’ foresight in enabling the younger generation to have a go.”
RSM certainly shares Arron’s opinion that succession planning is vital and needs to be managed properly. Challenges that Arron sees for the future relate largely to the need for industry consolidation: “we are fortunate to have the support of the worldwide John Deere franchise, but to grow stronger dealers and specialised personnel to increase customer support, RSM’s advice will be critical”.
Arron sees a positive future for Hutcheon and Pearce and RSM will continue as one of the company’s trusted external advisors: “I am continually surprised by RSM’s depth of industry knowledge, understanding and experience. Having this underpin my own business plans gives me great confidence. They are always available to bounce ideas off and have a chat.”