Valtra celebrates 70th anniversary – smart solutions at the centre of growth
70 years of customer focus
29 January 2021
Valtra turns 70 in 2021 and is celebrating its anniversary in a variety of ways throughout the year. 70 years ago the focus was on the mechanisation of agriculture, while later on that focus shifted to for instance improvements in working safety, to growing farms and the success of rural businesses.
Valtra’s technologies and services have always been up to the task of meeting our customers’ needs. But it’s in the last 10 years where the largest leaps have been taken. In the coming years Valtra sees digitalisation and precision farming technology change the face of farming significantly.
We are making big investments in our factory in Suolahti, Finland. The new logistics centre was just launched, and a new paint shop will begin construction this summer
“The advancements that began 70 years ago keep on going and accelerating. Thanks to persistent product development work, our tractors have now reached their fifth generation. Now our customers expect smart solutions from Valtra. We are making big investments in our factory in Suolahti, Finland. The new logistics centre was just launched, and a new paint shop will begin construction this summer,” says Managing Director Jari Rautjärvi.
Customer focus now and in the future
Valtra, then known as Valmet, began series production of tractors in 1951 in Jyväskylä, Finland. The first model was the Valmet 15 that, as the name implies, had 15 horsepower and was designed to replace a horse on a small farm.
From the very beginning, customer needs were highlighted and structural solutions were introduced for which Valtra is still known: the ground clearance was high enough for forestry work, and the tractor was also ideal for road maintenance tasks. Later on, cabin ergonomics made it possible to work longer and safer working days, with increased operator space.
Valtra has always had a particularly close relationship with its customers. In the early 1990s, the customer order system was introduced. This meant that no tractor was manufactured at the factory for stock; instead, each tractor was built for a specific customer. Thanks to this pioneering customer order system, the tractor factory always had accurate information about customer needs.
A significant number of employees in product development and production come from a strong agricultural background and truly have a good understanding of the needs of farmers.
Customer-centricity has been the starting point for new product development until today. Customers were integral to how fourth generation tractors and the award-winning SmartTouch armrest were developed. Both the 4th generation machines and the easy-to-use SmartTouch have been bestsellers, collecting an incredible array of awards in the industry.
Today, Valtra’s customer focus can be seen in the wide range of accessories and options available, as well as in the Unlimited Studio, where 1 in 3 tractors produced at the Suolahti factory are now tailored to the customer’s exact specification. Custom-built Valtra solutions are used in a wide range of applications including farming, contracting, airport maintenance and even defence services.
The customer-centred approach can also be seen in the development maintenance services and digital services such as Valtra Connect. The pace of development continues as rapidly as ever as Valtra strives to further improve services and tractors according to customer needs.
What’s coming up next? New regulations such as the EU Green Deal, global environmental standards and changes in weather and farming conditions bring new challenges to the farmers’ lives.
“Reductions in fertilisers and spraying and the need to improve soil productivity are drivers for precision farming which in turn improves profitability. Our customers need smart machines and seamless data transfer between machines and farm management software. Valtra solutions – such as SmartTouch, Valtra Guide auto-guidance and smart farming services such as Valtra Connect – help farmers achieve these goals,” says Mikko Lehikoinen, Director, Sales and Marketing. “The share of smart solutions is rapidly increasing and Valtra is at the forefront of the movement.”
Dealers an important part of customer experience
A critical component of customer experience are professional service, parts supply and tractor sales. Valtra has developed its distribution network actively.
”Valtra’s sales- and service staff are working with new digital tools that enhance customer experience and with which dealers can now prevent tractor service needs, activate precision farming services remotely or configure a tractor with service and financing options tailored to the exact need of the farm. The customer can also chose to activate additional features on their SmartTouch machine – the tractor’s specifications can be expanded and upgraded depending on the customer’s smart farming requirements”, comments Lehikoinen.
The introduction of the new digital tools has started at selected Valtra dealers in Germany, France and Great Britain in 2020 with development and implementation of the tools across Europe continuing this year.
There have also been changes in the Valtra distribution network. Valtra is increasing its proximity to customers through the appointment of new distributors for example in in France, the United Kingdom and Iraq.
”Valtra has become an attractive choice for many distributors and we are determined to take steps to grow”, says Lehikoinen.
Specially equipped anniversary model in the T Series
To mark its 70th anniversary, Valtra will manufacture 70 specially equipped “Limited Redition” tractors. These anniversary models are available in the T Series (T174e to T254) and will be sold worldwide.
The specially equipped anniversary models feature a deep red metallic paint reminiscent of Valtra’s roots 70 years ago. The red colour is also highlighted in the details of the tractor, including in the stitching of the leather interior and the interior light. The anniversary model has black rims and a stainless steel Limited Redition badge.