Press Releases October 29, 2020
The Z factor drives competitive edge for Melbourne contractor
Crestmead, Queensland (29 October 2020) – COMMERCIAL contract mowing is a competitive business and finding solutions to meet the unique needs of clients is often just as important as cutting and maintaining grass.
So, when Citywide Operations Supervisor, Scott Adams, recently secured a new high-profile portfolio of parks and kindergartens with exacting requirements, he knew he needed reliable mowing equipment that could not only yield the best mowing results but would be versatile enough to perform under a range of operating conditions. The new client, and portfolio of sites, required a first-class finish and equipment that could manoeuvre tight spots.
"When tendering for the contract, it became clear there were some unique requirements and that quality was going to be paramount," Scott said.
"We needed to ensure we could deliver to a very high standard, which meant not only good equipment, but professional operators too. It could only take one quick turn and a small rip, and I predicted the client would be on the phone asking what was going on. The bar was set high, but we were keen to meet the challenge.
"In addition to an impeccable finish, we also needed equipment that could get into the back of kindergartens, where there was only tight access."
The right tool for the job
Citywide is a Melbourne-based services company which prides itself on turning parks into paradises and transforming suburbs into communities, by managing and maintaining civic assets and infrastructure.
At the time of bringing the new portfolio on board, Scott was running a predominately John Deere fleet and had 20 machines under his management, including a 1570 TerrainCut™ Front Mower, a 1580 TerrainCut Front Mower, and a 6110M Tractor with cutting implements. But, for this new job, he needed a more compact machine.
The ZTrak™ Z994R Zero-Turn Mower was the ideal solution given its size and manoeuvrability, which allowed Scott's team to access the new client's sites. The Mulch on Demand™ feature was also a drawcard, while the optional MICHELIN® X® Tweel® Turf Airless Radial Tyre came with the promise of significantly reduced downtime.
"Manoeuvrability was key for accessing the kindergarten backyards and the ZTrak Z994R's size and zero-turn capabilities offered that. Anything longer would simply not have fit through the gates we need to fit through," Scott said.
"In saying that, the machine still has the 60 in. (152 cm) deck and can get a lot cut.
"The actual final finish looks much better with a mulch kit than just having a mower with a side chute or a rear throw deck on, where you leave lines of grass. With this one, you don't see any of that as the machine is cutting the grass two or three times so, when you go over it, you wouldn't even know there are clippings there."
While these features ticked all the boxes for this particular job, reducing downtime was not a consideration unique to this client, and Scott was on the lookout for any features that benefited the Citywide operation more broadly. The Tweel tyres were an option that were particularly exciting given their capacity to cut both repair costs and downtime.
The Tweel combines features of both a tyre and a wheel. It is made of a thick tread connected to robust rubber spokes, and is completely airless meaning it is impossible to puncture. It also has a lifespan of up to three times longer than a regular pneumatic tyre.
"The number of regular tyres we typically have repaired each week is incredible, where as it is impossible to puncture a Tweel," Scott said.
"The addition of the Tweel also creates a much smoother ride, and takes a lot of the jar out of the ground.
"The initial financial outlay might be a little bit more, but over the run of the machine and the run of the contract, we're going to save a lot of money and time, because we just aren't going to be getting those punctures," Scott said.
Contracting is a competitive industry
Finding efficiency gains and eliminating unnecessary costs have become critical in a commercial mowing industry which continues to grow in competitiveness.
In this market, finding the balance between offering Citywide's services for a competitive price, and ensuring all costs are covered, is a delicate balance. Scott firmly believes measuring data is key.
"We track each machine via GPS and measure fuel consumption to get a good idea of exactly how each is performing. When we come up to re-tendering, this allows us to know exactly how much to quote to ensure fuel, labour and the cost of machinery is covered," he said.
Information-based decisions are also an important part of Citywide's commitment to sustainable practices, with the company using a market-leading environmental data platform to manage and monitor energy usage and costs across its entire operation.
This data allows Citywide to understand its carbon generation and provides information to evaluate the effectiveness of initiatives implemented to reduce that footprint. Machinery performance is also a key contributor.
"All of our emissions across the business must be dead-on, so efficiency is a high priority when it comes to our machinery," Scott said.
"We think our John Deere equipment, compared to our other machinery, is very economical and fuel efficient."
Citywide achieves another competitive edge through the relationship it shares with its dealer which helps to ensure as little downtime as possible, with parts and service never more than a call or email away.
"I have a very good relationship with my dealer and if anything does go wrong, they sort it out really quickly. They'll have a mechanic out on the road to come and see me, or I can take it to them, but generally they come out and service on site – which saves me time," Scott said.
A busy Spring ahead
Normally office-based, Scott's day-to-day work predominantly involves coordinating maintenance programs for clients, managing groundskeeping crews and tendering for new business. However, the wet and warm conditions over Winter have laid the groundwork for a busy Spring season for contractors across the East Coast, including Scott who was excited by the opportunity to spend time back in the field and operating alongside his team this year.
"We have maintenance programs to keep running and during the Spring period crews are flat out given cutting can be slower due to the growth. So, this year, I will be out on the tools with the crew as well," Scott said.
While he admitted it is a juggle between the office and outdoors, Scott said nothing beats the feeling of a job well done.
"My favourite part of the job would be the final finished cuts. There is nothing better than when you've got the crew standing around and you can give them a pat on the back and say, ‘well, you know, that looks magnificent, you've done a really good job'."
- The MICHELIN® X® Tweel® Turf Airless Radial Tyre is approved for John Deere ZTrak Z900 B, E, M, or R Series petrol powered zero-turn mowers equipped with 137 cm (54 in.), 152 cm (60 in.) or 182 cm (72 in.) decks. Not recommended for use with Material Collection Systems.
- To learn more contact your local John Deere dealer or click here for further information.
About John Deere:
Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is a world leader in providing advanced products and services and is committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land - those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world's dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter and infrastructure. Since 1837, John Deere has delivered innovative products of superior quality built on a tradition of integrity. For more information, visit John Deere at its worldwide website at JohnDeere.com or in Australia at JohnDeere.com.au.