North America

Blue Star and Volvo Penta Build Successful Partnership Based on Shared Values

Close collaboration plays key role as companies achieve growth milestones and tackle new opportunities.

Blue Star and Volvo Penta Build Successful Partnership

When Volvo Penta first approached Blue Star back in 2011, the companies immediately found common ground in their commitment to business ethics. These were the seeds of a fruitful partnership that has only grown stronger over the past decade.

“Right from the start, the Volvo Penta team showed tremendous respect and dedication toward our business,” said Doug Fahrforth, founder of Blue Star Power Systems, Inc. “From our initial contact with retired sales lead Bob Apple to every person we’ve dealt with since, this relationship has been nothing but transparent and that is a great testament to the way they do business.”

The partnership has served as a valuable springboard for Blue Star Power Systems’ steady year-over-year revenue growth. Shared values have been a foundation of the companies’ successful collaboration, as evidenced by well over one thousand engines delivered and installed all over North America.

Today, Blue Star Power Systems uses Volvo Penta’s full range of Tier 3 and Tier 4 final solutions, including the D5, D8, D11, D13 and D16 engines, for prime power and a growing number of mobile applications. The Volvo Penta Tier 3 D13 and D16 engines are primarily sold into their standby stationary applications. The generators serve a growing customer base across industries from agriculture and governmental projects to banks and supermarkets.

“Investing in the success of our partners is something that is engrained in Volvo Penta’s culture,” said Darren Tasker, vice president of industrial sales at Volvo Penta. “The long-term relationship with Blue Star Power Systems serves as a solid example of this commitment, and our collaborative approach to the development of premium, high-quality products so that each one of our customers can be confident in the solutions they deliver to the market.”

Building a connection

The critical importance of open communication lines became evident early on. Having direct access to Volvo Penta’s engineering and product development teams gave Blue Star Power Systems the resources to better differentiate its diverse offering of power generation solutions and strategically serve specific applications and customers.

“We’ve always counted on Volvo Penta to be more than just an engine provider,” said James Kirtz, director of engineering at Blue Star Power Systems. “Whether it’s a unique design needed for a specific application or strategic guidance on a major product rollout, we know their team will be there to answer the call.”

This approach served as a catalyst for the success both companies achieved with the introduction of Volvo Penta’s highly anticipated Tier 4 power generation solution. The companies coordinated a unique testing program to help drive a smooth product launch while ensuring Blue Star Power Systems was well-positioned to support the rollout across its distributor network.

“We’re continuously working together to find solutions and identify opportunities, all with a sense of urgency. In fact, one of the best attributes we’ve seen from Blue Star Power Systems is a dedication to not wasting any time in delivering what their customers want. They act fast, strategically and ethically,” said Tasker.

Bringing it back home

There’s no place like home for Blue Star Power Systems as the company has settled into its newly constructed 85,000 square foot North Mankato, Minnesota headquarters. The new building will be an incredible facilitator as the company moves forward with new projects to support its next phase of growth. With business growth and continuity in mind, Blue Star Power Systems installed a Volvo Penta-powered generator set on their facility. In addition to providing backup power when needed, the unit will be used for hands-on technician education during Blue Star Power Systems distributor training classes.

“The backup generators will help us conduct extensive training while ensuring continuous uptime in our facility,” said Fahrforth. “Implementing Volvo Penta for the unit was a no-brainer because of our business relationship and the number of Volvo Penta products we have in the field.”

In forward drive

The companies are proud of the precedent they’ve set and how it’s shaped industry perceptions. Their relationship serves as a great example of how partnerships should operate.

“When your collaboration is built on shared values, the recognition you achieve together should benefit both brands. It’s been the root of our success on a thousand plus engine deployments and will be for the next thousand,” said Fahrforth.

“Volvo Penta is a classy organization that does business the right way. We’ll always know where things stand and be able to lean on their expertise, which just gives us more confidence as we embark on the journey ahead,” he added.