28th January, 2015

G’day ARB,

I just received your Autumn 2010 edition of ARB 4×4
Action. What a great read! I was particularly interested in
the new products for the Prado 150. Being a Prado 120 owner,
it’s always nice to dream about upgrading one day!

I was wondering, when it comes to developing ideas for new
products, where do these ideas come from? I imagine you
have a team which comes up with some, but do you also do
consumer surveys or actively seek feedback from customers,
check online forums, or ask 4WD clubs and groups? I’m sure
there must be some members of the general public that come
up with some corker ideas for you. Would it be out of the
ordinary for you to then invite the person who came up with
the idea to workshop it with your team?

Personally I think all the ARB gear is of top quality and if I
can afford it, I definitely look into it first and foremost as my
brand of choice for the products I purchase.

Thanks for the great read and the great gear!


Hello Jarrod,

It’s one of the great pleasures of my job that I sometimes get an opportunity to respond to questions like yours. Thank you very much.

Whilst it is a challenge to keep coming up with new product ideas, it’s something we do approach in a number of ways.

• Our Directors are highly skilled and provide a spectrum of guidance from engineering expertise in harsh environments to business acumen, people skills and legal and statutory requirements.

• As you might imagine, when we advertise for staff, we usually get a fair percentage of 4×4 enthusiasts applying, and we do encourage that. That’s not to say we don’t employ non 4×4 owners, as often some fresh ideas are
good too, but it does help if a lot of our staff generally understand our customers’ passions and needs.

• We try to keep our staff for as long as possible and encourage their growth within the business and career path objectives. Our first employee, John Van, still works for us, and there are dozens of staff members who are beyond the fifteen year mark like myself.

• We like to talk to our customers and listen to what they are doing and what issues they are having. This is one reason why we maintain our own retail outlets and have a shop attached to each of our distribution centres around Australia. Senior Management also stay in touch by attending shows and field days, and in my case I am still the first contact who sees ‘contact us’ emails from our website. This gives me a great insight into what people are asking for and
feedback from the field.

• ARB has also now established an excellent reputation in our local and international distribution network and we receive requests from a huge variety of suppliers and inventors every year who want us to include their products in our range. Managing and sifting through these approaches is a very important aspect of my role here, and we do reject far more opportunities than we accept. Not to say that they are bad ideas or products, but we have some very
definite criteria we are looking for to maintain our points of difference from other businesses.

• Above all we are looking for quality and value for money for our customers. Not necessarily the cheapest and especially not the most expensive, but the best value and functionality for price. We concentrate on products and modifications to vehicles that really get used in harsh conditions, whether in a 4×4 club, a competition environment or a mine in Indonesia.

• We have open minds on new product ideas and will often spend months or longer with potential new concepts working through viability and bringing our engineering team into the process. However in other cases we dismiss the concepts fairly readily.

On the subject of forums, I will get on my soapbox and say that we have come to understand that they are a potential negative diversion with little value. I refer to their existence as the global campfire in 4×4 terms. I’m sure many of you, like me, have sat around a campfire with a few inebriated mates who had some wild and wonderful perspectives on suppliers, products, vehicles and accessories. Internet forums have now allowed us to tune in to these conversations around the world and frankly, whilst there is some useful information out there, it’s hard to identify and dissect it from the misinformation, commercial self interest and downright rudeness. It’s a particular hobby horse of mine, as you might be able to tell. I’d rather talk to customers on the phone or in person and that’s really our policy on forums officially as well.

I hope this has addressed your questions and thanks again for the opportunity to answer them.

Greg Milton
(National Product & Services Manager)