Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler

National Sales and Marketing Manager

Tell us about your role at Conplant.

I’m National Sales and Marketing Manager. I look after Conplant’s sales and marketing functions.

What’s your history at Conplant? What roles have you had?

I’ve been here for four years. I was employed as National Sales Manager, and I had some input in the marketing space, but it was handled in a different way. Since then I’ve actively taken on the marketing side of the role.

What’s your career background?

I’ve been in sales most of my life.

I started off doing an apprenticeship in the UK becoming a qualified draftsman and product manager. I went overseas to South Africa where I worked in product management, and then naturally gravitated to a more sales focused role.

After that, I went to Canada and joined a sales organisation connected to construction and materials handling. From there I was promoted to become a Regional Sales Manager in Dallas, Texas where I covered pretty much the whole of the southern USA. That was a formative role, where I really developed my understanding of sales and worked out my own territory management and sales processes.

I was eventually poached to come to Australia, with a company in the construction/material handling space. I’ve been in this industry ever since, having lived in Australia 20 years.

What are the biggest challenges for your department?

Conplant has very unique and strong customer service values. Our people are responsible for that. That’s the easy part of the job.

The company is also very entrepreneurial – we produce lots of unique and innovative products and industry-related designs.

Our challenge is getting those messages to the marketplace quickly and consistently, so we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

How do you embed innovation and customer service into the culture?

Our dedication to customer service comes from our people – it’s really in our DNA and has always been part of the management philosophy and the Coleman family values.

Innovation has developed into more of a strategic approach. Initially, the ideas might have come from our customers giving us their challenges and asking us to overcome them. ROPS2 and the Remote and Manned Roller system is an example of that.

Since then we’ve realised the value of product innovation, so we’ve made the process more proactive. Now we have a strategic intent to innovate.

We’re currently working on the IICAS (Intelligent Integrated Collision Avoidance System) which is generating an enormous amount of interest throughout the industry and we’ve got customers talking to us about how they can apply that to their fleets, which is really exciting.

What are the big issues affecting your customers today?

Safety is a major component of what our customers face. And it not only relates to making sure that the site is safe for the workers, but it also improves efficiency and productivity and helps to manage costs. If there are incidents or accidents on site it slows down the whole project because it’s necessary to audit all the things that lead to the incident.

That’s why we focus on safety and target innovations and system improvements.

What excites you about the compaction industry?

The excitement for us is that equipment is becoming smarter all the time, which generates a lot of opportunities to apply unique innovations to the machinery. We all become smarter at the same time.

The advancement of products isn’t stopping – in fact it’s really gaining momentum. Not just in compaction, but in the civil construction industry in general. People are spending a lot more time trying to improve the way equipment operates – whether it’s building roads or digging trenches… there’s a real focus on improving products and productivity, efficiency and safety.

What’s special about Conplant?

The real speciality is our people.

We’ve got staff here who have celebrated their five-year anniversary… and some 10, others 20 and 30 years. What’s more these people are relatively new to the industry and will be here for some time giving Conplant great depth of experience within the organisation. People often remain in organisations because of the way they’re treated. These things are driven top-down.

We work hard, and can handle multiple priorities, but it’s also fun to be here. There’s always plenty of healthy banter and good humour throughout Conplant.

What’s the most satisfying thing about your job?

I joined the company four years ago with an idea of how the sales process should operate and how the sales team should look when integrated into the rest of the business. I’m proud to say that’s become history now.

One of the most satisfying things is to see continual growth and to feel you are really making a contribution to the business.

The future of Conplant is bright because we’ve got lots of exciting products and new opportunities for growth. We’re talking to customers all the time about how we can improve the industry, not just the job site. It’s really satisfying to work with customers and make improvements to things that eventually become part of their daily lives.

What’s your favourite place on your travels?

My father was in the Royal Air Force, so I’ve traveled to between 35 and 40 countries, and lived and worked in five.

I’ve always enjoyed where I’ve lived. Every place has something unique about it. South Africa had the wilderness and wildlife, Canada had snow and the great lakes, Texas has that cowboy culture and really friendly people…

But the place that I’ve loved the most is undoubtedly Australia. It’s the culmination of all of those places. Awesome weather, lovely people and plenty of good business.