Wisconsin-based Briggs & Stratton have recently launched a new standby generator, moving out of their comfort zone to deliver larger engines.
Product Manager Brian Northway spoke to Decentralized Energy about their hopes for the new release.
The new lines mentioned are for the 80kW1 – 200kW1 standby generator space. The company’s strength to now has been smaller engines, up to 60Kw and can fulfill the needs of a variety of clients, whether office complexes, gas stations and even large scale residences.
“We launched this line in late December so we’re relatively new to the market space. We are really focused in on driving our business into this space and have taken a lot based on the last six months of sales and information we are getting back from our dealer base. It’s an adventure for us,” says Northway.
The decision to go with a larger engine has been driven in the main by the company’s loyal dealership base, who confident in the company’s service qualities, challenged them to see what could be achieved with bigger equipment.
“For many years our dealers that have been using us up to the 60kW level have been very happy with our customer service and the way we build our generators and the quality but they were having to go to other manufacturers that manufacture these larger pieces of equipment because we didn’t have them. This was a project based on demand from our customer dealer base. They wanted us to get in this space because they love doing business with Briggs and Stratton.”
“Really, it was a team effort between us and our customers to get up to the 200 KW level.”
It’s a natural development for the company who had initially started out with smaller residential brand up to the 20Kw mark, before growing engine size to accommodate larger generators. The company specializes in air cooled engines so partnered with different engine manufacturers to make those larger engines.
Customer service is seen as a real lever of strength, and it’s a strength Northway says Briggs & Stratton are focused on continuing to play to, in growing awareness about their new offerings.
“First and foremost we see an advantage in our ability to service our dealership or their customer with them – that’s our main push.”
“Yes, it’s got to be a quality product with one of the best warranties in the industry but the main thing we see is the service and serviceability of the equipment to the point where we have not only developed a new school for technicians to take; we are also developing a tool right now that we launch in July. It’s an internet based service tool which we call Linear Logic.”
A 360 troubleshooting tool, Linear Logic provides dealers with a step by step guide that aids their confidence when dealing with customer issues.
“If something were to happen to the piece of equipment we realise that time is of the essence in getting it back up and running – and the guide facilitates the dealer in getting the machine up and running rapidly. So if it’s not something they are working on in terms of the 200Kw every day, which can be quite common, it gives them the knowledge and confidence to go out there a service that piece of equipment with the factory knowledge.”
The company has, instead of a book manual format, opted for question-based tool, which drills down to where the failure is based. It provides an educational aspect for the dealer as well as solving the problem. The resource was a year in development and involved bringing in an infographic specialist.
“It is an extra piece of competence that they don’t have from anyone else to go out there and service equipment and minimize costly interruptions to power.”
Marketing Manager Christin Wam, says the company is keen to show that the reputation Briggs has in the small engine space is equally valid for its newer larger offerings.
“Our biggest challenge is establishing our credibility within that new channel so we are working really hard to make sure that potential customers out in the field understand what our value proposition is and see us as just as reliable in the 80kw to200kw space as we are in the up to 60kw category.”
“It takes a lot to capture influencers and direct purchasers to make sure that they are aware that we are now available. We have significant brand recognition and are excited about potentially growing our platform and credibility in this new commercial space.”