STIHL Power Products has won the award for Service Provider of the Year at a ceremony held by the Outdoor Power Product Association of South Africa (OPPASA). These were the sixth annual OPPASA awards, and the fifth time that STIHL has scooped this coveted prize.
"OPPASA would like to congratulate STIHL for winning Best Supplier for the fifth time in six years. This really is an impressive achievement," said Barend Venter, owner of Gauteng's Honeydew Lawnmowers and chairman of OPPASA.
Hayden Hutton, MD of STIHL South Africa, said he was very pleased with the recognition, but insisted that the award was "not just about us". "I must share this award with our outstanding network of dealers countrywide. It is their dedication and passion that helps us to reach our customers and meet their needs – and in this way to deliver on the promises of our organisation," Hutton said.
The award ceremony was held at Ekudeni Lodge in Muldersdrift recently and formed part of the AGM of OPPASA. OPPASA was formerly the Lawnmower Association of South Africa (LMA).
OPPASA's Best Service Provider Award is unique, and highly regarded, because the winner is voted for by the power products dealers themselves. Voting forms are sent out to dealers nationwide, and the categories that dealers are asked to consider include:
• Promotion and support given to dealership
• Sufficient stockholding
• Problem solving, including efficient warranty claims
• Frontline staff competency
• Training offered to dealer
• Customer awareness of brand
• Efficiency of communication
• Promptness of product delivery
An independent firm of auditors collates the data.
It is now two years since the LMA took the decision to rename itself OPPASA. "We changed the name to reflect the broader scope of our members, who were selling far more than only lawnmowers," says Venter.
OPPASA's mission is to promote the participation and interaction of all role players in the outdoor and garden equipment market. The organisation offers a wealth of benefits to members as well the public, not the least being that each member must sign the Code of Ethics, which holds members to the highest standards of professionalism, ethical conduct and social interaction between themselves and suppliers, fellow members and customers.
STIHL's renowned German-engineered equipment has been available in South Africa since 1956. Following the first democratic election, STIHL showed its faith in the South African market, opening its local subsidiary in 1996. Today STIHL has a network of over 140 dedicated dealers nationwide.
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