In the beginning…
A young man stares up at the towering giant redwood in front of him, a sharp stone tied to a stick in his hands and nothing but a loincloth to cover his sensitive bits. He sighs because he knows it is going to take a couple of days, or maybe even weeks to take down this monster of a tree. In the back of his mind a little seed is planted: “isn’t there an easier way?”
Now, as improbable as the scene above may be, we have to this day, still implanted the same seed in the back of our minds. The thought of finding an easier way drives innovation and technology in all spheres, and even though something works fine, there is always room for improvement. The sharp stone on the stick evolved to become the chainsaw we have today.
Introductions, let’s get them out of the way.
Seeing that this is my first blog post, let me introduce myself and give you a quick rundown of my history in this business. My name is Theo Kraamwinkel (Jnr.), My dad, Theo Kraamwinkel (Snr.) started Lynnmowers in 1972 and has ever since been involved in the chainsaw business. It is something that I grew up with, and now at 36-years-old I find myself in the same trade with my dad and close friend and colleague, Marius Taljard, who is undoubtedly one of the best chainsaw operators and instructors this country has ever seen. But I’m digressing. Let me get back to the subject at hand.
The more things change, the more they stay the same, or do they really?
The outdoor power tool industry has, on the surface, not changed much over the last 30 years or so. This, for the most part, is true, certain principles still apply, 2-stroke engines still work on the same principle, a chainsaw has retained the same basic shape, cutting chains still get dull if you cut into the soil, any chainsaw, brush cutter, trimmer and blower will seize up if it runs without oil and they are still not fond of dust intake.
So you are asking yourself, what has changed? Everything has changed, from how we interact with each other, our expectations in terms of service and quality of products, how we view the world around us, and the choices we have. Today we have more choices than ever before, all of them at our fingertips thanks to the internet. It is the age of the customer, where it is the customer’s wants and needs that dictate terms and no longer the other way around. The rise of e-commerce has changed the retail landscape forever, and the power that you carry in your pocket – the smart phone.
As far as product technology goes in our industry, and specifically in the STIHL camp, we are seeing electronically controlled carburettors, which require a computer to set the carburettor (this was like science fiction to my dad), fuel injection on a handheld cut-off saw, 2-stroke machines that are becoming more fuel efficient and kinder to the environment, and my favourite, the rise of the battery-powered machine! But inside the average chainsaw and lawnmower shop, time has largely stood still. Yes, we use email and online B2B ordering, but the way we communicate with our customers has not yet evolved, we are still stuck in 1972 for that matter.
But why are we standing still?
This part I am still trying to figure out myself, but I know that there must be a change in the way things are done, if we don’t evolve, we will surely be left behind. Thankfully, there is an influx of young blood into the industry that I think will get the ball rolling with a new way of thinking and approaching challenges. Please also keep in mind that these are my own thoughts and there is a likelihood that I am completely off the mark with my analysis of the matter.
When the penny drops
I realized that this evolution must happen sooner rather than later, and hence I am writing this blog and publishing it on our website. Our website will in time become a very useful tool for us to engage with you, share information, process orders and book machine services. It is our duty to stand upon the shoulders of those who came before us and take this industry forward into the future, utilising the technology that we have at our disposal today.
So just like the young man in his loincloth and primitive axe, the seed in the back of my mind is germinating and taking root. ISN’T THERE AN AN EASIER WAY?
Thanks for taking the time to read this post, and I would love to get your comments on the subject.
Until next time.