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Hitachi Construction Machinery - North America

Celebrating Orange

October 21, 2019

Shane Kropp and his family pick up a new Hitachi Forester

An orange Hitachi ZX210F-FE-6 sat gloriously in the Deere-Hitachi Specialty Products (DHSP) factory in Langley, British Columbia. A factory-installed Waratah HTH622C 4x4 was already hanging on the Hitachi, and a congratulatory banner hung in front of the machine. The stage, or rather the factory floor, was set for a Gold Key event – a celebration of a customer receiving the keys to his machine. And Shane Kropp, owner of SK Trucking Ltd., was that happy customer.

Relying on Hitachi

Shane is no stranger to the Hitachi brand. As the owner of two ZX350LC-6 excavators, one ZX290LC-5 excavator and two ZX210F-FE-6 processors, Shane has relied on Hitachi to grow his stump-to-dump logging business in Slave Lake, Alberta.

“I enjoy the machine. The durability of the machine is excellent, and I’ve had really good luck in the past, so I decided to keep with Hitachi,” Shane said.

Shane began trucking when he was 20 years old. That soon turned into buying trucks. What started as one truck soon became six trucks and a loader. As Shane began to load logs and haul wood, he decided it was time to start his own logging business after previously working to haul logs for his father. That was 2014, and Shane said he hasn’t looked back.

And it doesn’t seem the business will stop with Shane’s generation. Shane brought his father Dennis and his two sons, Seth and Skylar, to the Gold Key event.

“My kids are eager to learn how to log, and the oldest one’s going to start logging this summer running processors, and he’s very excited,” Shane said. “I think it’s neat having three generations at the event. Dad coming and the kids – I thought that was pretty awesome.”

In fact, Shane’s son Seth had the honor of starting the ZX210F-FE-6 for the first time and then lifted the boom to break the banner.

“He enjoyed that,” Shane said. “I could tell he was very excited. He may not have acted it, but he was very excited.”

Roaring for orange

The Brandt Group of Companies was named a Hitachi forestry products dealer recently – one of three dealers that now support Hitachi forestry customers in Canada. Shane’s new ZX210F-FE-6 was the first Hitachi machine Brandt ordered and sold. This means Brandt, who has been a John Deere dealer since 1992, is now enjoying seeing orange Hitachi machines complement its existing full-line offering.

“It’s an important milestone,” said Rod Bowes, Vice President of Sales, Forestry and Road Positioning Technology, Brandt Group of Companies. “It’s an important opportunity for Brandt to become a Hitachi dealer. We have a very dedicated focus in forestry. We spend a tremendous amount of time helping support our customers in their businesses and the addition of Hitachi to our product line allows us to reach out to new customers and provide them with the same level of premier support we provide to every Brandt customer.”

For Shane, it’s an addition to his strong network of dealer support.

“Brandt’s service is excellent including their parts,” Shane said. “I’ve bought lots of parts from them. They have a good selection and good pricing.”

Combining that level of service with Hitachi’s quality was something Brandt team members were notably excited about.

“The internal announcement of Brandt becoming a Hitachi dealer was done at a sales meeting, and the crowd of sales people were extremely excited to say the least. There was a roar in the crowd when the announcement was made,” Rod said. “It’s a big deal for Brandt. We’re proud to have the opportunity to represent a brand like Hitachi, further it in the market and bring their customer satisfaction to the next level.”

An appreciation for Hitachi

Through a joint venture established in 1988, DHSP manufactures Hitachi and John Deere forestry swing machines ranging from 26- to 46-ton models. The factory’s Gold Key event was a true celebration for not only the customer but also for Brandt as a Hitachi dealer.

“This was a significant event in terms of it being the first Hitachi machine that was sold by the Brandt Group of Companies,” said Jarvis de Groot, Product Marketing Manager at DHSP. “It was the first Hitachi machine ordered by Brandt as well.”

The event also meant DHSP team members could meet the customer who bought the machine they built.

“The Gold Key event is significant to the factory employees because it’s an opportunity for them to see the other end of the machine life,” Jarvis said. “The factory employees typically don’t see the machine once it leaves the factory doors; it’s complete and it’s gone. But now this gives them an opportunity to see the customer who uses the machine, and it’s just a really good experience. It ties the two ends together – the manufacturing and the end customer.”

Jarvis said he enjoys hearing from customers as they experience the efficiency, reliability and durability of Hitachi machines.

“What we hear from our customers in general is that they really like our products, including our ability to integrate the Waratah head as a factory install,” Jarvis said. “Our products are a quality product when they leave the factory. DHSP machines are just very effective out in the field and very fuel efficient with low downtime. So, it’s really good to hear from the customers that way.”

For Shane, the Isuzu engine makes the difference as to why he chooses Hitachi. He plans to use his ZX210F-FE-6 nearly 24 hours a day until next spring. He estimates the new machine will have 10,000-12,000 hours on it within four years. He’s confident the machine will handle the heavy workload.

“I really like the Isuzu engine,” Shane said. “It works very well. The fuel economy is great, which really helps your bottom line. You’ve got to watch every dollar. Every move counts. With a new machine, there is less downtime and more productivity. Hitachi builds a good product. They’re solid.”

SK Trucking Ltd. is serviced by Brandt Tractor Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta.