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March 13, 2014
Pinning Down the Role of a Precision Specialist
Jack Zemlicka, Technology Editor
I’ll admit to being a little old-fashioned when it comes to exchanging contact information with precision farming professionals I have the pleasure of meeting while attending events or visiting dealerships.
My first instinct is to ask for a business card and offer mine in exchange. However, I’ve noticed that fewer in the industry pat their pockets for a small printed piece of paper and instead pull out a similarly shaped smart phone to upload contact information.
In fact, one precision farming specialist I spoke with recently at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, says his dealership actually stopping printing business cards in bulk for him.
The reason — his job title kept changing so often that it didn’t make sense to print hundreds of cards that might not be accurate in 6 months. While the precision specialist keeps a reserve of cards for new customers, they are often given with an explanation of his evolving role and responsibilities.
Mechanic, shop technician, sales, precision sales and precision farming specialist are among the job titles — both formal and informal — he’s held since joining the dealership several years ago.
By no means did I get the impression that this precision specialist is complaining about his merry-go-round of titles. Quite the opposite. But my brief conversation with him got me thinking about how defined, or undefined precision farming jobs are at dealerships. It’s not uncommon for precision personnel to work in a variety of roles, crossing over between sales, service and parts.
So I did a little unscientific research on the Internet and searched a handful of “precision farming specialist” job listings. Each was posted for a position with a farm equipment dealership and detailed the need to “troubleshoot” technology.
It was interesting to see the scope of responsibilities attached to the positions — everything from processing all warranty claims on precision products to organizing and conducting regular training and seminars.
It stands to reason that dealership’s advertising for new hires are doing so because they have a critical need in multiple area of their precision business. Most descriptions seemed worthy of 2 full-time positions to fill them, but as dealers well know, finding one capable precision body is hard enough.
Talking with precision educators and consultants, they sympathize with the challenge dealerships face when trying to define the jobs of precision specialists. But dealers appear to be taking more distinct approaches to managing their precision departments, with some segregating that part of the business from the rest of the dealership in order to let it grow on its own. Others are leveraging external partnerships with third-parties to allow their precision specialists to do what they do best — service and support hardware.
But whatever the approach, dealers should be conscious of not forcing their precision specialists to be all things to all customers, even if it may be in their job description.