Toowoomba-based Stahmann Farms Enterprises is one of the unsung achievers of Australian agri-business, but recent ownership changes have put this Linde customer’s story of success on an even stronger footing.
With 700 hectares of trees on the Gwydir River near Moree in northern New South Wales, Stahmann Farms Enterprises operates Australia’s largest pecan orchard.
At its Toowoomba processing plant on Queensland’s Darling Downs, it shells and packs Pecans, Macadamias and Walnuts for global manufacturing and retail distribution under its own Riverside brand and through a range of retailer house brands.
The company was established by industry pioneer American Deane Stahmann in 1968 and long serving local executives Matthew Durack and Jeff Dodd purchased the business in 2008.
The Stahmann material handling equipment fleet comprises primarily of Linde E16C and E20P counterbalanced electric forklifts, as well as R20DD reach trucks.
Since all work is in a food processing and packaging facility, they are fitted with white non-marking tyres.
Because of their versatility the Linde E16C forklifts take on a workhorse role which sees them operate within the majority of the confines of the Toowoomba facility.
The R20DDs reach trucks are used in a specialised warehouse area, where their small footprint and manoeuvrability have allowed increased storage density to be achieved.
“We’ve used Linde forklifts and reach trucks for many years, originally in company with other brands, but in the last few years we made the decision to switch to Linde exclusively,” General Manager, Processing, Ross Burling said.
“Linde are well supported in Toowoomba and the skill of their service support weighed equally with the quality of the equipment when it came to purchasing decisions.
“At the time we decided to switch exclusively to Linde, we had a very old fleet of Linde forklifts that were up to 15 years old and we’ve been progressively replacing those 14 or 15 pieces of equipment.”
In fact the question of the fleet size being either 14 or 15 was a very recent issue and one where Linde’s knowledge of its customer’s business proved key to the outcome.
“We wanted two forklifts,” Ross Burling said. “But actually we needed just one reach truck.”
That emerged after a review by Stahmann Farms managers in consultation with Linde and it demonstrated the value of a close relationship between supplier and customer.
Even since its decision to purchase only Linde equipment, Stahmann Farms has not always elected to acquire new trucks however. Instead it has relied on its lengthy experience with the brand and sometimes put its faith in Linde refurbished equipment.
“That’s something which has worked out extremely well for us,” Ross Burling said. “We are particularly happy with our refurbished Linde equipment.
“We run a 24 hour operation here at Toowoomba and because we don’t have spares we rely on Linde to keep our forklifts and reach trucks ready to work whenever we need them.
“Linde’s technician has built up a great understanding of our equipment’s roles and we heavily rely on him to manage its maintenance. That has been a very successful arrangement.”
Stahmann Farms experience with its Linde electric powered equipment has also been extremely positive, the AC technology long incorporated into Linde’s equipment has Linde equipment has met the output requirements of Stahmann Farms’ multiple-shift duty cycles.
Ross Burling also commented that as good business practice, the company regularly looked at what else is available in the market and that these periodic reviews had continued to favour Linde.
“Our experience over a long relationship with Linde has been that the equipment is designed to meet our productive output and the operator’s needs, additionaly its support in terms of repairs, maintenance and replacement parts is excellent.”
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"We run a 24 hour operation here at Toowoomba and because we don’t have spares we rely on Linde to keep our forklifts and reach trucks ready to work whenever we need them."
General Manager, Processing, Stahmann Farms