Building a Greener Future

Schiller Grounds Care
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

Under the guidance of company President and Chief Operating Officer Pat Cappucci, Schiller Grounds Care, Inc. is growing to expand service to customers in the demanding lawn and garden care industry. The company is committed to the superior and innovative design, quality engineering, manufacturing and marketing of some of the finest outdoor power equipment on the market. Many Schiller Grounds Care commercial mowers, debris management products and home gardening implements are literally used worldwide.
Schiller Grounds Care, Inc. was formed on January 1, 2009, when Schiller-Pfeiffer, Inc. merged with Commercial Grounds Care, Inc., combining almost a century’s worth of in-depth lawn and garden care engineering and manufacturing knowledge. At the time, each company manufactured a smaller range of grounds care, landscaping, gardening and turf care products. Classen, Little Wonder and Mantis brands were made by Schiller-Pfeiffer, while BOB-CAT, Ryan and Steiner were brands of Commercial Grounds Care.

Schiller’s brand portfolio now includes all six of those brands to provide quality-made commercial mowers, turf maintenance products, debris management, tillers and gardening equipment, aeration equipment, and tractors to fulfill the requirements of both large-scale landscape companies and homeowners.

“Our formula is to understand the jobs that people are getting done with those brands, innovate against those jobs and expand the product lines,” says Cappucci.

In addition to its corporate headquarters in Southampton, Pennsylvania, the company has manufacturing facilities in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin and international operations in England and France to complement Schiller’s extensive global dealer and distribution network. Schiller has a team of about three hundred dedicated, full-time employees.

Pat Cappucci had been president and chief operating officer since 2007 and has been responsible for much of the development of Schiller and its operations in the United States and Europe. Cappucci’s experience includes engineering, sales, marketing, and general management for giants like Toro and 3M. He helped to bring focus to the company by separating operations by brand and customers rather than by locations where the products were manufactured. This proved to be more effective for growth and innovation, and more efficient from an accounting and performance management standpoint.

“Our brands also now align with product types and jobs that customers need to get done,” he says. “Little Wonder is our debris management brand; Ryan is our turf cultivation brand; BOB-CAT is our commercial mower brand, et cetera.”

Instead of having an engineering manager oversee everything, Schiller now has an engineering manager over smaller groupings of brands sharing similarities and has specific project engineers only assigned to individual brands, so they become experts at mowing, cultivation or other concentration areas.

Schiller Grounds Care, Inc.’s mission is to earn the trust of its many customers by providing a user experience that goes ‘Beyond the Product,’ according to the company. This includes a significant understanding of customer needs, forming long-lasting relationships, producing the best quality products while providing superior client service and responsive support.

“At Schiller, we strive to develop deep, meaningful relationships with the customers that each of our brands serve and to be the trusted solution for their biggest landscape challenges,” stated Cappucci. “Our employees are engaged with them in the pursuit to understand their challenges and develop ground-breaking innovations and products and services to help maximize their return on investment.”

The company is behind the design, engineering, manufacturing assembly and distribution of its products, providing further assurances of quality control. Schiller has approximately 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space at its two facilities in Wisconsin and Southampton that is dedicated to these key functions. It also has a sister company that is not part of the Schiller organization, but that handles the metal fabrication work and tooling for many of the products produced in Southampton.

An ongoing part of Schiller Grounds Care’s success is the company’s in-depth knowledge and responsiveness to specific customer needs. Its six brands are targeted to different end users who do everything from cutting grass to picking up leaves and debris. It even sells actively to the rental sector. “We strive to hit the various channels and intermediaries that interface with our customers,” comments Cappucci.

As a result, Schiller’s experienced team focuses on each specific brand and engages with clients to discuss the jobs they need performed and what products and features are necessary to accomplish them. This, in turn, has benefits for customers and the company alike, as knowledge is shared and collaboration encouraged through the product innovation process.

“We know that our products need to be refreshed every so many years – just like a car – so we are constantly working to provide improvements to our products,” states Cappucci. “We understand the jobs that people are trying to get done, and we can better innovate to help them do those jobs better.”

Schiller sells to both homeowners and professional lawn care companies, and targets its many audience segments in a variety of ways. Schiller targets its audience through trade and rental shows, digital and print advertising, streaming video, participating in online forums and online searches as well as through the company’s information-packed website.

This year, the company’s Little Wonder brand – one of the industry’s most durable brands – celebrates its ninety-fifth anniversary. It was created in the United Kingdom back in 1922 and was the name of the world’s first hand-cranked hedge trimmer, a wonderful and revolutionary time-saving device. Since then, other products from Little Wonder have included the world’s first electric hedge trimmer in 1940 and the first ‘hand-held’ tiller in the 1970s.

The brand continues to innovate and reinvent itself. “Over time, the hedge trimmer market has evolved, and not as many are sold today as there were in the past,” says Cappucci. “Despite that, Little Wonder has evolved, eventually into the debris management category with commercial blowers, brush cutters and things like that. As a brand, you have to evolve and follow your customers and change with them.”

Recently, Schiller also made a significant acquisition of the twenty-one-inch commercial mower line from Eastman Industries, signifying the return of BOB-CAT to the twenty-one-inch commercial walk-behind mower market. The addition of this line will fit in with BOB-CAT’s line of full-size, commercial, walk-behind mowers with cutting path widths that range from thirty-two inches to sixty-one inches. Production of the new mowers was announced in February of this year and is taking place at Schiller’s facility in Johnson Creek.

The company is also looking internationally and to under-penetrated areas within the U.S. for expansion opportunities. “So we are using a two-pronged approach: going after those products and markets and looking internationally and domestically for where we have gaps in our distribution to grow in those areas.”

Schiller is a great believer in giving back to the community at large and is also involved in a number of philanthropic efforts, including participating in Renewal & Remembrance at Arlington National Cemetery this past July and through local school and garden projects in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Donating its time and continually innovating world-class lawn and garden products for the betterment of its customers, are just two of the ways Schiller Grounds Care is promoting a brighter, greener future for the planet.



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