Global audience tunes in to watch launch of farm machinery maker’s new HQ
PUBLISHED: 16:19 23 October 2020
Annie Bee Portrait
More than 5,000 people have so far tuned in to watch the virtual unveiling of agricultural machinery maker CLAAS’s new UK headquarters in Suffolk – and counting.
With movements restricted, the opening of the striking new building off the A14 at Bury St Edmunds was live-streamed on Friday, October 16 – but UK boss Trevor Tyrrell said the plus was this had taken it to a global audience.
Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser, who as chairwoman of supervisory board and the shareholders’ committee is the group boss – as well as granddaughter of the German family firm’s founder – expressed her delight as she officially opened the £20m complex.
MORE – Farm machinery maker celebrates new era with launch of new £20m headquarters
“It looks fabulous,” she said. “I hope when the first customers come they will love it just as much. It’s absolutely amazing to me that they actually demolished the old buildings and rebuilt all this while keeping up business 100%.”
As an industry, agriculture had proven resilient to the Covid-19 crisis, she said. Brexit may offer a chance for local food producers, she added. As for Brexit: “It’s just another hurdle. We’ll be flexible, we’ll overcome it and we’ll deal with it together,” she said.
The construction work was seven years in the planning and took three years to physically build. Local MPs and politicians, CLAAS staff worldwide, and customers and suppliers were among those tuning in to the opening event.
“Holding a live streaming event gave us the opportunity to invite a global audience, and far more people than we could have done otherwise,” said Trevor Tyrrell, who is senior vice-president (Western Europe & Oceania) for the CLAAS Group’s sales and service division.
“Over 500 people from as far away as India, New Zealand, Australia, and the USA watched the event live, and over 4,000 have subsequently watched it on YouTube. Compared to the 80 guests that we originally planned for a physical event, and the advantages of a virtual live stream are clear.
“The whole team here are extremely proud of what has been achieved, but it also clearly demonstrates the commitment of CLAAS to its customers and in a time of considerable change, this is a clear statement about our confidence for the future for UK farming going forward.
“The virtual opening also gave us a good opportunity to look back at where we have come from since Bill Mann first started importing CLAAS combines in the 1940’s, and it was great to be able to include the current Mann family members in this.
“CLAAS and Bury St Edmunds are closely linked, and it was great to be able to demonstrate that to a worldwide audience. Hopefully in this new building travellers on the A14 now have a new Bury St Edmunds landmark to look out for besides the sugar beet factory.”
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