AAF caught up with Felice Stocco, Caterpillar Forestry Manager.
Caterpillar Forestry Manager Felice Stocco has held a variety of local and overseas roles over the course of 12 years with the heavy equipment manufacturer, including a number of positions based out of Singapore, and draws on over three decades of experience across quarries, waste and construction.
Felice returned home to Australia six years ago, and before being appointed Forestry Manager had held the position of Senior Application Specialist, with his responsibilities including being a dealer/ customer-facing quarry and construction industry consultant.
AAF recently spoke with Felice about his industry experience, his new role, what his goals are for the coming years and more.
Can You Tell Us A Bit About Yourself And Your Industry Experience?
I began my career in quarries in 1985 where I spent 22 years in various roles, which began with machine operation, and ended with an area manager role for both quarry and waste. I’ve always loved being in and around machinery, and have a passion for ensuring that both operator and machine work effectively.
What Different Roles Have You Held With Caterpillar?
I moved to Singapore in 2008, where I held the position of industry application for two years, and then I led a team of prime product specialists for four years. When I moved back to Australia in 2014, I took on the dealer and customer-facing role of systems application, which involves going out to site and observing Cat fleets, and providing an assessment of machine utilisation and efficiency.
What Will Your New Role Of Forestry Manager Encompass?
I’ll be leading a team of eight incredibly talented individuals spread across Asia, and our goals are to support our current and future customers with advice on machines and a broad range of attachments that meet their needs.
What Are Your Goals For The Next Few Years?
Over the past several months we have been listening to forestry customers and dealer personnel – in this industry, relationships with dealers and customers are critical. My primary goal is to build relationships with my dealers and customers, and that starts with releasing new products. We’re in the process of moving from the F series to the Next Gen excavator line, and have a range of mulching heads, new grapples and multi-purpose thumbs.
I am looking forward to continuing to listen to our customers so we can offer them the products that best serve their needs through the best dealer network in the world.
What Growth Opportunities Are There For The Forestry Industry?
Asia overall is the biggest opportunity for equipment manufacturers, given the demand for wood products is increasing (due to people moving out of villages and into cities, resulting in building growth).
We see Australia and New Zealand as another growth opportunity. We understand there are harsh operating conditions due to climate and terrain, and also heavy duty cycles and long hours put on equipment. Customer feedback, along with these conditions, drives us to design efficient and reliable equipment to hold up to the toughest demands.
How Does Forestry Fit Into The Cat Machine Portfolio?
We believe that the Cat Forestry product line is the ideal addition to our current product portfolio. We have a proven track record of working with Cat dealers all over the world to respond rapidly to customers from different industries. We’re confident that our commitment to customers provides a strong foundation to successfully serve the forestry segment.
How Are The Weiler And Cat Products Differentiated?
Weiler Forestry purchased Caterpillar’s purpose-built forestry business in early 2019, which consists of wheel skidders, track feller bunchers, wheel feller bunchers, knuckleboom loaders and related operations facilities. Caterpillar will remain producing the forestry excavator product lines, as well as the complementary products that serve the mill yards and related industries.
Has COVID-19 Impacted The Cat Forestry Business?
These are certainly trying times, and the well-being of our employees, dealers and customers comes first and foremost. Thankfully, the construction sector is an essential service, so Caterpillar has been able to continue to serve our customers and dealers worldwide.
What Can Forestry Customers Expect In The Coming Months?
With strong and committed dealerships in place, working hand-in-hand with our customers, Australia will be a growth opportunity. Customers can expect the same level of customer support they are used to from the best dealer organisation in the world. We will work diligently, focusing on the needs of our forestry customers to address product needs and improve manufacturing flexibility.
What Strengths Do Caterpillar Dealers Provide?
There is a lot of trust in Cat dealers because of the size they are and the strength that they have supporting customers. Our dealers offer the best customer support and industry expertise in all segments they serve, and have been selling and supporting Cat products for many years.