An Interview with Chris Greenwood & Karin Otsmann (CG Machinery Ltd)

Chris Greenwood set up CG Machinery LTD in 2013 as a small, one-man organisation that capitalised on his extensive experience as an agricultural engineer. Having established a reputation of buying and selling high-quality second-hand machines – from tractors to mowers and spreaders, Chris continued to invest in the business, with supportive partner Karin Otsmann joining as Director in 2015 to focus on the company’s social media presence.

With both Chris and Karin’s hard work and dedication, CG Machinery has grown to where it is today, supplying customers in not just their local area of Earby but around the UK and beyond. A call-out breakdown service has additionally been introduced, and maintenance is carried out by in-house experts who are professional, reliable and above all, highly knowledgeable. We spoke to the pair to find out more about the company’s roots, its success in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its hopes for the future.

What inspired you to get into the agricultural industry?

Chris (CG): I have always been involved with the industry from a very young age, growing up on a farm and then working for a reputed dealer in the local area as a mechanic and selling additional items to customers on the road. You could say it was inevitable that I would end up in the industry. However, working on such a variety of agricultural machines will always be something that excites me.

Can you tell us about your background in the sector and how this experience helps in your current role at CG Machinery?

CG: Having worked in the industry most of my life, I’ve always had exposure to the agricultural sector. I worked my way up from a mechanic, where I learnt to diagnose and fix many mechanical problems, to managing a team and then learning how to sell these machines. My role at CG Machinery encompasses all of these aspects, regularly calling on my experience in the sector to help drive our success.

What are the most important things to consider when investing in new agricultural machinery?

CG: If you are looking for new machinery, then first I would say make sure that whatever you’re buying can fit your needs now and has the potential to still fulfill those needs in a year or two. The other is, when you find a machine, do your due diligence. Is the machine priced correctly? Is the supplier reputable? If you’re buying private, always get a deal in writing. Everything from the tyres to the attachments; if you expect that in the deal, specify it and get it in writing. Always remember if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Karin (KO): My advice would be not to leave it too late. Prices are going up for machinery now, and this shows no signs of changing. If you have an urgent need, don’t wait – talk to your suppliers and see what finance options may be available.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your business and the sector as a whole?

CG: Made up of key workers, the agricultural sector was open throughout the pandemic, and CG Machinery Ltd has been open throughout, supporting those working in the industry at large. The biggest issue (as with every sector I would imagine) is supply, with many common parts struggling to be kept in stock.

KO: As we enter what is, hopefully, the final stages of the pandemic, we are still facing supply issues on things such as steel, and even paint. With this said the uncertainty in the market at the moment further makes dealing in the medium and long term somewhat difficult.

How do you ensure the highest standards of repair and maintenance for farmers whose livelihoods rely on the smooth running of equipment?

CG: With the experience of myself and our team, we are aware that if a tractor presents one issue that can cause others further in the system. Every tractor that comes in is thoroughly tested, checked over by our mechanics, and we repair those faults in the most logical and thorough manner. We manage our workload carefully to avoid rushing anything and communicate this to our customers. We’re also now at a stage where we can run our own call-out breakdown service for the local area, which has been a lifeline for customers who’ve found themselves in trouble and unable to recover their machine, saving enormous amounts of money on transport and recovery costs for the customer.

What does the future hold for CG Machinery?

CG: Exciting things! We have now moved to a much larger premises nearby to where we are now, staying local to Earby. This will allow us more room to work on tractors simultaneously while also providing even higher quality re-sprays and cosmetic work with the new facilities. We’re also extending our capacity so that we can securely store all of our machines and provide a better environment for advertising and to showcase our stock to customers.

KO: We’ve been working very hard to grow our online presence, and we will soon be launching a brand-new parts shop that will allow customers from around the UK and all over the world to order parts for their machinery at competitive prices. Everything from spare engines to windscreen wiper blades will be available. Along with this will come some exciting new features to make our website even more user-friendly.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

CG: Many sectors right now are struggling, and it’s through tenacity, hard work and dedication, that not only will CG Machinery prosper, but so will our customers and the nation at large. We want to take this opportunity to thank our team members at CG Machinery Ltd for their hard work, and our customers who have remained loyal for many years and often work with us to facilitate their requirements. We are a small, family-run business, and we hope to continue to see the growth at CG Machinery with the help of our staff members and customers. On behalf of myself and Karin, we would like to say a huge thank you for your continued support.

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