OTTAWA, Kansas -- Calling 2013 a year of growth when "preparation meets opportunity," Ottawa Trucks told its annual gathering of North American dealers in January that new products, marketing initiatives and sales tools are in the pipeline to further strengthen the company's position as a leading manufacturer of terminal tractors in North America and the world.
In the keynote address to 80 dealer representatives at the Jan. 15-17 meeting in Naples, Fla., David Wood, North American director of Cargotec USA/Ottawa Trucks, said a comprehensive strategy is in place to help dealers sell even more of the industry's "legendary" yard tractors and continue to provide the highest level of service to customers.
"Ottawa Trucks has spent two years carefully assessing their capabilities and opportunities to reinvent itself as all companies, especially established industry leaders, continually must," Wood told dealers. "The result is a comprehensive plan for taking Ottawa to the next level of customer value in a market that's growing, but also becoming more competitive."
Noting that "success comes when preparation meets opportunity," Wood said Ottawa Trucks is ready to seize the moment.
"Based on the results from our self-assessment, we've written ourselves a demanding to-do list for 2013," Wood said. "We're working on a number of exciting new programs and projects focused on further strengthening our market position, helping to make our sales forces more productive, freshening our product offerings and increasing the effectiveness of our customer support after the sale."
Wood told dealers that Ottawa Trucks remains the number one selling terminal tractor brand in North America because of its products and customer support, but said that value is enhanced when the company and its dealer partners commit to constant improvement and renewal.
"There's no doubt that Ottawa is the market leader," he stated. "We offer the highest overall value to our customers through our ‘best-in-class’ product quality, after-sale support, resale value and undoubtedly the finest and largest terminal tractor dealer network. To maintain our dominance, we are helping our dealers stay engaged and focused on selling, supporting and renting Ottawa tractors to the maximum potential of their individual markets," he continued.
New sales tools, products
Part of that strategy involves a new iPad app called "Ottawa Advantage." The digital sales tool offers presentation graphics, visuals, and text to show how the company’s tractors stack up against the competition.
"You'll be able to walk into a customer's office, call this up on any mobile tablet or computer, and be able to point out dozens of advantages that in comparison to the competition says 'advantage Ottawa,'” Wood explained. "All of the hot-button issues that concern prospective customers are addressed in a 'here's ours, here's theirs' format. It will be a great tool for helping new salespeople learn more quickly, customers to understand the product better, and to cut through any confusion."
Dealers at the event also learned about new software to specify, price and order Ottawa tractors. Officials say the company’s new Quotemaster VIP software is the product of an Ottawa dealer task force initiative that explored, recommended and tested improvements to software functionality.
Ottawa Trucks is also unveiling a new national advertising program. Marketing and dealer operations manager Bob McTernan explained that an expanded print and digital media campaign “will emphasize Ottawa Trucks' superior products, brand dominance, market leadership and powerful name.”
"The Ottawa brand name is as established and well-known in our markets as many common, category-leading brands are in the consumer market. It's so well-known that it's become a generic term for a yard tractor," he told dealers.
Another new initiative, Ottawa On-Demand, allows customers to rent Ottawa tractors “on very favorable terms.” McTernan said the new program is “a way to help dealers help customers meet seasonal demands without committing to long-term leases or purchases.”
Ottawa Trucks’ Web site has also undergone several improvements, including more manuals, specifications, service information and dealer information, all regularly updated on the site.
Officials at the event also noted that Ottawa’s tractor product will be enhanced and improved, with details on significant product upgrades and branding are expected in coming months.
In the meantime, Woods noted, the company’s “customer-driven product development” continues, with new options including: optional higher capacity dual air compressors designed to improve productivity by reducing trailer charging times by up to 60%; availability of Hendrickson HN Series rear tandem suspensions for 6x4 applications; and the new optional higher cab roof called "SkyCab," designed to improve visibility, ergonomics and driver comfort.
Continuing an annual tradition, Ottawa Trucks also recognized top-performing dealers at the meeting. Premier Partner Awards were given to dealers who showed outstanding performance on a range of criteria. The sole Canadian dealer earning the honour was MasonLift of Delta, B.C.