Paperwork and meetings may be considered necessary evils in the day-to-day workflow of a precision business, but done right, they provide invaluable insights into how to improve operational efficiency.
While precision farming departments tend to have a lot of latitude and freedom, too much autonomy can produce diminishing returns and erode profit potential. As dealerships look to integrate precision training into parts, sales and service departments, having go-to guidelines and directives are essential.
Get your pen and paper, computer keyboard or smartphone ready to take notes during this panel at the 2021 Precision Farming Dealer Summit, where management level dealers share their most recent successes — and challenges — streamlining precision standards to improve productivity.
Chad Moskal, AOS manager, Rocky Mountain Equipment, Calgary, Alta., While Moskal formally owns the complex title of Ag Optimization Specialist (AOS) manager — overseeing a 15-person precision team across 36 ag store locations — he simplifies his primary responsibilities as the “process, innovation and customer experience guy.”
For the last 5 years, Moskal has worked to streamline, evolve and improve the structural efficiency of the dealership’s precision department. A major emphasis has been finding the right reporting process to maintain an effective level of communication and accountability. Moving from a regional supervisory model, to store-level management and now to each precision employee directly reporting to Moskal, the evolution has proven to be both necessary and practical.
“Western Canada covers a lot of territory and I have employees who are a 15-hour drive away,” he explains. “We needed a better way and the last year has forced us to rethink how we ensure that our team is staying connected.”
Rather than meeting 4 times in-person annually, circumstances have both required and allowed Moskal to coordinate structured weekly virtual meetings with his team to cover monthly budget goals along with rotating educational sessions and training.
Jeremy Bullington, precision ag support center manager, Greenway Equipment, Weiner, Ark., Since 2017, Bullington has been responsible for project management and day-to-day coordination of the 28-location dealership’s Precision Ag Support Center, along with supervision of 4 full-time precision employees. Bullington also manages data analytics and agronomic services across nearly 300,000 acres and more than 50 distinct customer accounts, with 3 remote data analysts.
In 2019, he helped facilitate, onboard and train 15 additional precision specialists — a daunting, but necessary expansion — to meet the growing needs of customers and setting the dealership up for progressive growth. Bullington adds that one of the more prominent growing pains has been getting new hires to understand the diversity of their roles. While each was hired as a precision support specialist, their roles are far broader.
“We have hired a very dynamic team and a lot of them really get along together. But they’re being asked more and more to be involved in the sales side,” Bullington says. “Everybody that works in the dealership is a salesperson. So, trying to develop these guys into more of a sales-oriented role, and be able to talk and promote products in front of customers is a work in progress.
Nick Rust, precision ag coordinator, H&R Agri-Power, Hopkinsville, Ky., Rust is accustomed to the daily challenges posed by a rapidly evolving precision business, and the professional scrutiny and pressure that comes with those challenges.
Spending more than a decade working within the same dealership’s precision department is an anomaly. Recurring seasonal demands, combined with growth of the dealership to 17 locations and an 14-person precision team have requires a grounded, logical approach to problem-solving and deep-seated work ethic have earned Rust a seat H&R’s leadership table.
In July 2019, he became the dealership’s precision ag coordinator, in charge of organization, training and oversight of the precision business. He’s emphasized improved communication and coordination between departments, personalized precision training and creating a standardized “precision ag specialist’s handbook” for employees to utilize as an educational resource.
“One of my planned projects is a precision ag manual. It’s going to be a series of SOPs that I can put in the hands of new specialists. It’s time-consuming, but in the end, it’s necessary, especially for a 17-store company.”
The 2021 Summit will be held virtually, Jan. 11-12 and features a diverse learning program of general sessions, panel presentations and roundtable conversations.
For more information and to register for the Summit click here.