There are numerous aspects to consider when running an agricultural business, from understanding the impact of weather conditions to financing limitations and regulatory requirements. The provision of Probe’s ‘complete power package’ - including a comprehensive and diverse range of auto-electrical and power products as well as aftermarket support - enables farmers and farming cooperatives to stress less about sourcing the right products in order to focus on the business at hand.
With the myriad of demands faced by farmers, it’s crucial that aspects like maintaining durable capital equipment do not become additional time and profit detractors. Probe, South Africa's largest importer of premium, maintenance-free, fit and forget batteries and a leader in rotating electrics, has made it their business to anticipate the needs of agricultural businesses.
According to Probe’s CEO, Frank Rovelli, it’s important to understand what drives farmers towards particular product choices. He says, “For most farmers, there is minimal time and profit margins to expend on replacing equipment such as tractors and trucks, or worrying about the right parts and accessories and support equipment. From tractors to specialist lighting, to high quality air compression, farmers have to keep their eye on multiple balls at once.”
The company has over 50 years of experience in distributing and providing aftermarket support for world-class batteries, alternators, starters and associated spares for American, European and Asian vehicles. Probe is also an appointed distributor and aftermarket support for international premium battery and automotive component brands such as Delco Remy, Prestolite/Leece Neville, C.E. Niehoff and Horton. This ensures product availability for farmers at all times.
Besides these products, Probe’s Vision X lights enhance farming productivity by enabling that all-important after-hours work. By providing specialist LED worklights, farming can continue with “virtual day light” and in all weather. In particular, the IP69 LED work light is used extensively in the mining, marine and 4x4 markets as well.
Another aspect that is crucial to farming is having availability of good quality air compression. This can pose numerous problems for farmers. To this end, Probe will be launching the Stanley range of air compressors and tools later this year, ensuring that the agri-market has access to high quality and durable air compression units and the necessary aftermarket back-up.
Frank says that in terms of farming equipment, they’ve found that there are those farmers who remain loyal to certain premium vehicle brands, which will require availability of specific accessories and parts to ensure optimal performance. But there are also those farmers who operate older heavy-duty vehicles, given that replacing heavy-duty vehicles is a big expense. These farmers will need their particular vehicle to perform well over a number of years, which can be challenging given that older makes of trucks have limited market support. In meeting both these requirements, Probe has a two-fold policy. Frank says, “We supply original equipment, spare parts and complete units, which are ideal for premium vehicle brands that require specific parts in order to deliver optimal performance. But in addition, we also supply Probe branded remanufactured or replacement starters and alternators strictly to manufacturer specifications. This can be a life-saver for farmers who have older vehicle makes and can benefit from a cost saving without compromising on quality.”
Another important aspect for the agricultural industry is having access to auto-electrical products, accessories and aftermarket support when and where they are needed. Frank says, “By necessity, farms are often located in out-of-way areas. We have built up a national dealer network enabling a comprehensive range of services to be widely available, which includes fully equipped workshop facilities for comprehensive electrical repairs.”
Probe is building relationships with some of the major cooperatives that operate in the different farming regions of South Africa. Frank says, “We’re cognisant of the fact that through cooperatives, smaller farmers can have similar levels of access to quality ‘big ticket’ products as well as those smaller products such as cabling, cable ties, fuses and lugs. This ensures that Probe’s complete power packages ensures that all needs are met.”