Agriculture has entered the age of technology. And there's no doubt, farm equipment dealers are crossing the threshold of selling iron to selling technology.

This introduces a whole new dimension to ag machinery retailing. It stands to reason dealers must use cutting-edge technology to sell and service cutting-edge technology if they hope to keep up with their customers. For progressive dealers, the question isn't "if" they're going to sell and service advanced farming know-how, but "how" to do it in a way that benefits their bottom line and meets the rising expectations of its customers.

For the same reasons you're adjusting your business to meet your customers' needs, we're giving a new focus to this column and re-naming it Technology for Profit. Our goal is to identify and demonstrate how your dealership can utilize the latest technology tools to profit from the tidal wave of advanced technological equipment and systems flooding the farm equipment industry.

With a Capital 'T'

For our purposes, we're spelling Technology with a capital "T" to cover a broad range of management and operational tools. These include: Information Technology, Mechanical Technology, Biological Technology, Precision Technology, Genetic Technology and whatever else develops as we go.

We'll also use two definitions of Technology to cover how we intend to approach our subject matter:

1. The application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, esp. in industry: "computer technology;" "genetic technologies."

2. Machinery and equipment developed from such scientific knowledge.

The capital "T" is also symbolic of the urgency with which the industry is moving to embrace and get its arms around these rapidly evolving tools and to muster the skills needed to harness their energy. Dealers must recognize the pace of Technological change and its application throughout the industry is only going to speed up. It has been only a few short years since we began using the following tools:

- Cell Phones
- Electronic Service Tools
- Integrated Dealer Business Management Software
- Social Media
- Precision Farming Specialists
- Telematics

These Technologies are not leading-edge trends. They've become standard practices in progressive dealerships.

Ten years ago, most of your farm customers did not deploy"

- Guidance Systems
- Gene Stacking
- Smart Phones
- Social Media
- Electronic Tablets
- Personal Computers

At the farm level using Information Technology, Mechanical Technology or Biological Technology are not considered cutting edge anymore. They're everyday practices.

The 3 'P's'

Your customers use these Technologies - and many others - because they help improve their farming operations. They've demonstrated the capability of providing bottom-line benefits in the three P's: Productivity, Profitability and Personal Connection.

You and your dealership will benefit from finding the same bottom-line benefits from using the new Technology. The original purpose of the Planning for Profit series was to help dealers improve their bottom lines. We've set the same goal for this newly re-focused Technology for Profit column. We're simply expanding its scope to include how the most progressive dealers are using Technology to improve profits.

Re-Purposing Content

Over the past three years, we've presented a wide variety of topics with the mission of stimulating your thinking about how you can improve your dealership's earnings potential.

We will re-visit many of these topics while incorporating the "How To" of using Technology to help you profit. We'll highlight practical applications we see in use by farm equipment dealers across North America, and others we see in other industries that can be applied to the ag equipment retail.

We welcome any insights and suggestions from our readers about the opportunities and challenges of using cutting-edge Technology in the farm equipment dealership.

George Russell can be contacted at