The stress of industry consolidation and brand purity on farm equipment dealers is also becoming the one of the biggest conundrums confronting shortline manufacturers.

Using the leverage of contract approvals, volume discounts, financing programs and even “sister-brand” product offerings, full-line manufacturers are doing their level best to keep shortline equipment off the lots and out of the showrooms of the retailers that carry their products.

At the same time, consolidation among dealerships almost always brings a rationalization of shortline brands. For many dealers it’s an uncomfortable situation, particularly when they know that their major’s equipment may not be the best fit for their customers’ specific needs.

It also sets up what may seem to be a mountain of hurdles for specialty equipment manufacturers that are looking to expand their distribution channels to reach a larger, more diverse farm customer base.

Even the most successful shortline manufacturers acknowledge that the challenges of expanding their distribution channels are becoming more rigorous, and the pressures that equipment dealers are facing have become their problem, too.

Nonetheless, the specialty equipment makers that Farm Equipment interviewed for this special report believe the quality and cutting-edge innovations of their equipment keeps them well placed on dealers’ radar screens — because farmers still want and need the best tools available.

In their own words, five shortline leaders discuss their strategies for expanding sales in an increasingly competitive industry, the dealer’s future role in their plans, and the core values that keep them focused on customer needs.

For this report, Farm Equipment interviewed Dmitry Lyubimov, President, Buhler Industries; Howard Dahl, President & CEO, Amity Technology; Mike Irish, General Manager, Brillion Farm Machinery; J. Ward McConnell Jr., Chairman, Art's Way Manufacturing, and Susanne Veatch, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Kinze Manufacturing.

Read our special reports by clicking on the links below:

Soon to be a Full-Line Manufacturer - Buhler Industries
Getting Back Into the Mainstream of Ag Equipment - Amity Technology
Executing a Niche-Player Strategy - Brillion Farm Machinery

Product Diversity Improves Distribution - Art's Way Manufacturing
Keeping in Touch Keeps Focus on Customer Needs - Kinze Manufacturing