Farm Equipment caught up with Bob Doran, owner of Doran Distribution Services, Mount Horeb, Wis. today to gain a perspective of recent events in farm equipment — from the distributor’s seat. Doran calls on dealers as he represents shortlines like Pottinger, Grouser, Rhino/Earthmaster, HitchDoc, Travis, Meyer’s, Mainero, Summers and Crary.

This week, he’s already put on 1,100 miles “playing truck driver,” moving equipment such as a Summers rock picker between dealers and even picking up a Meyer’s spreader in northern Wisconsin and delivering it to a farmer in Illinois who needed the unit ASAP to agree to the order. “We’ll do what it takes to make a sale.”

He's been traveling regularly, but even on these kinds of irregular assignments, often doesn’t enter the dealerships themselves, unless there’s specific reason to, no longer doing his normal practice of dropping off price books on his travel routes. “Our message to the dealers is that we’re here to support you; we aren’t going to leave you high and dry.”

His business had been solid up until the COVID-19 concerns. He has concerns about delivery of equipment that had already been behind on order. With the temporary plant shutdown announcements made this week that will slow the production from the major manufacturers, he did wonder if there might end up being opportunity for the specialty equipment lines once things open up — if they have equipment available, that is. He added that the manufacturing situation in Italy would likely limit gearbox supply needed to finish equipment that domestic shortline manufacturers could otherwise build.