When all of your potential clients live in the narrow Fraser Valley between some of the highest mountains in North America, both good and bad news travels fast...and for West Coast Robotics, that has allowed them to quickly establish a solid reputation for excellent service and happy customers!
In 2008 Erik VanDyk, a retired dairy farmer recognized that, with a good base of well-established dairy farms and labor costs among the highest in Canada, British Columbia was more than ready for robotic milking. After visiting many successful Lely owners in Ontario and Quebec, he partnered with Brian Rodenburg, a technician with 8 years’ experience to form one of the first independent Lely dealerships in the country. From the beginning they recognized that nothing sells like success itself, and with a team of qualified individuals the company focus is on quality service, support, and advice which will ensure the success of Lely Astronaut users in all of British Columbia.
"We support every installation with barn planning advice, management support and extensive T4C training during the first three months and we have found this makes a big contribution to the success of our clients", says company manager Brian Rodenburg. Despite allocating only 24 man hours per week to sales, WCR expects to sell 15 – 25 robotics milking systems per year. "We remain convinced that where dairy farmers are concerned, the best salesmen a company could have are happy customers...and to this point in time, every Lely owner in the Fraser Valley has a good story to tell."
Other areas of B.C. are also eager to adopt robotic milking, and for WCR, the biggest challenge ahead of them will be servicing these smaller pockets of dairy producers in other areas of the province. In 2011 they experienced a successful expansion to Vancouver Island, and in 2012 another expansion to the Okanagan, with other areas to be opened up in the future. In some cases the number of producers in these areas will not support a traditional approach to service, but the WCR team is convinced that with ongoing improvement in Lely technology and some new approaches to technical support, there is a bright future in store for robotic milking wherever the grass grows and wherever dairy cows find a home.