GXi Outdoor Power, BEAST and STANLEY mowers
Dear Lawnsite.com members,
RE: Responses to questions posted in several threads on this web site regarding STANLEY and BEAST products
I wished to take a moment to provide you with an update on GXi and answer the questions posed in several threads.
First, I have been very busy doing my normal job at GXi and have not visited Lawnsite.com much for several months to review threads and reply to them.
A secondary reason for not participating in exchanges on Lawnsite.com is I noticed a trend in the posts last year. It seems that there is a group of very active members. These members post frequently on many topics on this site. Some have firm beliefs and they advocate that all others on this site agree with them. I respect their beliefs, but I also concluded that responding to their repeated mis-statements serves no purpose.
I guess if GXi was an incumbent with decades of history, encouraging this type of dialog may be in GXi’s best interest.
GXi is a more recent entrant, with only 9 years of history behind us. We are trying new and different approaches to solving age-old challenges in the industry. If GXi did what all others are already doing, we would not offer anything new, our costs would be similar as the incumbents, and the same people on this site that are critical of our new approach would then be critical of GXi simply copying others. ...a bit of a no-win situation for any newcomer.
I can start by dispelling some mis-information posted on this site. GXi Outdoor Power is a Clayton, NC based company that designs and manufactures power equipment. We are not Chinese owned, we are not associated with any other brands than those discussed in this posting.
GXi's business model is to focus its US engineering staff on breaking cost and performance barriers in each product we develop. This is something our US engineers excel at...good old fashioned American ingenuity. American’s are great problem solvers and very innovative. The results of this effort are a large number of patents and new ideas in our product development pipeline. Over the next few years more of these innovations with be added to our mowers, chippers, pressure washers, snow blowers and generators.
That being said, we live in a very competitive world. We sell products all over the world and must compete in every country. To accomplish this and keep GXi’s business growing, we have adopted the most economical way to manufacture our products. This includes our direct ownership of 6 manufacturing plants in China. Additionally GXi has 2 assembly and test centers in the USA and 1 in Canada that serve North America and South America. We purchase components from all over the world. As costs for raw materials, freight, labor, exchange rates and tax rates fluctuate around the world, we too will continue to re-align our manufacturing and sourcing strategies to always be the most cost effective we can. I know this approach bothers some on this site that advocate manufacturing everything in the USA. I have responded to this before and I think it has had little impact on those with such strong beliefs. The bottom line answer is we are a small business that serves its customers all over the world by offering the best quality, lowest cost products and services possible. Our approach is not unique in our industry. Without naming direct competitors (this web site doesn’t like that) I will offer a related example. I heard an announcement last week that Caterpillar just opened its 17th manufacturing plant in China. Enough said on this topic I think.
In the USA mower marketplace GXi offers two major differences from our competitors. First is how we go to market. Second is how the hydro drive system functions. GXi understands customers have many choices and what we offer may not be right for everybody. We have chosen these differences because we think they are great long term strategies. We are in this business for the long term. We hope as GXi continues to fine-tune our mowers and our sales channels, our appeal will broaden and we will gain more market share. The benefit to the ultimate buyer is a substantial cost savings. We at GXi realize that with these cost savings come with some trade-offs. We are diligently working on minimizing the impact of these trade-offs as we build our marketplace presence and market share.
Speculation has arisen on this site about BEAST and STANLEY mower availability. Yes, unfortunately for a period of time last year demand out-paced our ability to supply mowers and there were some delivery delays as a result. Our 2011 sales were about 50% higher than planned and this caused some supply chain challenges. For example, engines have 10+ week lead times and constrained our ability to respond to a rush in orders. We have increased our capacity and caught up with the order flow so we believe we are positioned well for 2012.
GXi tracks the service issues on every mower sold very closely and identifies any trends. Additionally, we have a captive fleet of mowers going through continual durability testing. Each year we make model-year upgrades based upon the improvements identified during previous years' feedback and testing. If you are a STANLEY or BEAST mower owner and wish to learn about the 2012 upgrades, please call GXi Customer Service and they will arrange to have these changes installed on your mower. Most upgrades are available free of charge.
There were several questions posed on this site regarding BEAST 36” dual hydro walk behind mowers being over powered. One astute person posted the correct answer, the 36” mower is convertible to a 36” brush mower with a large break-away blade system. The changeover takes about 15 minutes. The 22hp Subaru industrial duty engine is sized to drive this alternate deck system.
Two other mis-statements regarding the 36” BEAST mower were made. First, the Subaru engine is actually MORE expensive than other alternatives. It was selected due to its greater durability, not price. Although Subaru’s brand recognition is not as great as others, this engine is an incredible work horse and is extremely hardened (if you are not convinced, look under the cowling of the welder generators on most field service trucks in the USA...you will find the same engine). It is ideal for the punishment the brush mower deck imposes on the engine.
The second mis-statement regarding the 36” BEAST mower is the topic of fuel efficiency. Within a displacement range, fuel consumption is a function of output power used, not maximum hp available. That is to say a 22hp engine consumes approximately half as much fuel when putting out 11hp as it does when tapping into all 22hp. So if you have a 18hp engine on a 36” mower operating at 85% power versus a 22hp operating at 65% power (on the same grass with a finish cut deck)...they both consume approximately the same amount of fuel. The 22hp engine will only consume substantially more fuel than a lesser powered 36” finish mower if you are actually using the extra power (say, cutting 12” wet grass pulling a sulky...or driving fast through thick 8” grass on a hill). Everyone learns to work around the limitations of the mowers they have. The 36” BEAST mower has a wider performance envelope than its competitors due to its greater power. The fuel efficiency penalty is marginal under similar circumstances unless you were comparing it to a single cylinder, low hp, low displacement engine.
There was some speculation on Lawnsite.com about GXi’s relationship to Better Outdoor Products. GXi thinks BOP has some very nice mower designs and some extremely capable people. That being said, GXi is not pursuing an investment into BOP at this time. They are a worthy competitor and we wish them well as they re-align their business.
I hope this post has answered the questions posted on this site. I will do my best to check in occasionally and respond to any additional questions or thoughts you may have.
Aside, if you have any good feedback for GXi on B&S Pro Series engines we would appreciate it. We have conducted some head-to-head comparisons with the Kawasaki FX engines, Honda engines, and Subaru engines we currently use. The durability results thus far are very encouraging. If anyone has real world experience with them (good or bad), GXi would appreciate the feedback. We use the 20hp B&S Pro series engine currently on the 48 BEAST ZTR, our South American ZTRs and one model of our Canadian 48 STANLEY ZTR and have had great success. These mowers don’t see the abuse of the 54” and 62” commercial duty ZTRs in the US market, so the results are not yet conclusive.
Again, particularly if you have read this far...thank you for your interest.
Last edited by GordonwJackson; 04-14-2012 at 02:30 PM.