Jason Pennycook, precision specialist at Johnson Tractor (4 stores in Wisconsin and Illinois), says Johnson is still working on the internal management issues, including how service plans are billed, who is responsible and how to get all locations on the same page, as many farmers will use one or more stores. “We’re working on ways to make sure every service manager at every store knows when a farmer is on a service plan so he doesn’t get billed incorrectly.”

He’s found greater demands on the dealer business software as well. “The biggest trick we run into for the precision farming side of it is most of the time you need far more information than what’s listed in the database. I can find all the equipment but we also need to know things like what displays he’s running, what guidance and what level of correction, what subscription service he’s running and if he’s doing variable rate. That gets complicated. We’ve been working on setting that up ourselves, trying to get a better handle of data for each customer so when a guy goes out to the field he knows what he’s getting into when he gets there.”

And there’s the issue of time. While he believes that the downturn in ag will boost opportunities for precision service plans, most dealers aren’t going to add bodies during the downturn so the administration probably will fall on the precision farming specialist too.

That’s going to be one more task on a regular basis that you’re going to have to stay on top of. It can pile up pretty quick. There’s going to be a lot of information coming at you, trying to get these plans sold, dealing with customers, making sure they’re billed out correctly, communicating so everyone knows who’s on the plan, how it’s being taken care of. That is one of the biggest time killers there. Once you get going and get everything set up, it will get smoother with time. We’re still fighting that now, just trying to make time.”

March 2016 Issue Contents