By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
Fumiaki Taniguchi of Japan recently got a close look at how a DeLand distributor of Kubota Tractor Corp. equipment deals with its customers and what those customers like about Kubota's machines.
Mr. Taniguchi, who goes by Frankie, spent four days recently at Triple D Equipment Inc., 2820 S. Firehouse Road, talking to customers both at the distributorship and at their work places, said Triple D's Larry DeLong.
Triple D found out just a few days before his arrival that Mr. Taniguchi, who has been a sales coordinator with the Japanese company for five years, would be visiting the DeLand business.
"We're the only dealership in the U.S. he's visiting," Mr. DeLong said. "Kubota wants him to learn all he can about our customers' wants and likes, and how our dealership operates. ... It's a big privilege to have him here."
For his part, Mr. Taniguchi said he has made the most of working in DeLand.
"Everything is surprising" about being in DeLand, he said, and he has learned a lot from the Triple D staff.
"They teach me. I have nothing to teach them," he said.
Mr. Taniguchi, 27, has been working in Kubota's California offices since January. He has been learning about the mower market in that state, and is scheduled to return to Japan next month. Before his one-year stint in the United States, he was in charge of Kubota's tractor sales in the China market.
His family and girlfriend remain in Japan, although Mr. Taniguchi did get to make a couple of visits home earlier this year. He feels very lucky to have been chosen to come to the U.S. on the company's behalf, since so few Kubota employees get sent here.
"I am proud to have been selected (by Kubota) to come to the U.S.," Mr. Taniguchi said.
Triple D was chosen for his tutoring because it's in Florida, one of the biggest turf markets in the United States, Mr. DeLong said, and Mr. Taniguchi has been popular with Triple D's customers.
"The customers love him. We love him. He says when he goes to his hotel room at night, he has a headache from all the information he's gotten that day," he said.
Mr. Taniguchi was scheduled to visit Stetson University -- a Triple D customer -- last Friday to check out the school's athletic fields, which require a style of mower that Kubota doesn't yet carry. Athletic fields and golf courses are maintained with rotary reel mowers, Mr. DeLong explained, and Mr. Taniguchi was going to get a crash course on Stetson's needs and report back to his corporate bosses.
Mr. Taniguchi will take fond memories of his stay here back home with him.
"Definitely. (Triple D employees) taught me not only the turf business, but also what we work for. It's been a great experience," he said. "(The people in DeLand) are very nice and helpful. I like the people in DeLand."
Kubota sells a long line of utility vehicles, residential and commercial mowers, tractors of all sizes and construction equipment. Triple D Equipment is licensed to sell and service Kubota equipment, and also is a distributor of similar products from Stihl, Snapper, Gravely and Exmark.