In my last 3 articles, I laid out the expectations for a used equipment remarketing manager: check your emotions at the door, find data and their subsequent level of importance, and understand your area of responsibility. 

Used equipment remarketing is one of, if not the, most important segment of any farm equipment dealer, and I have laid out a very compelling case for centralizing the department but, there are two parts to wholegoods — new and used. Like I did with used equipment remarketing, this will explain the need for centralizing new wholegoods as well.

The level to which wholegoods is centralized is based on the size and scope of the dealership. What a single location dealership needs is vastly different from the needs of a 25-location dealership. The 25-store dealership has more moving parts and is likely to have extremely more crop diversity across its coverage. 

What one location needs, another location can’t sell. The single location’s needs are more uniform and universal. They both need a data-driven, unbiased and unemotional ordering of new mainline and shortline equipment.

Like in used equipment remarketing, emotion has to be taken out of new equipment ordering. Personally, I am not a fan of carrying the same type of equipment in competing brands. Tillage is an excellent example of this. The mainline manufacturer has a tillage line, and the dealership sells two or more shortline manufacturers’ tillage lines as well. Most of the time, there is a small pocket of the territory that likes a particular shortline, and the rest of the territory overwhelmingly swings another way. Parts become an issue due to stagnation, and the parts turn and cashflow suffers. Also, training technicians is expensive, so selling a line of equipment that has a limited follow might not be worth having.

Like evaluating used equipment, ordering new equipment has to be an emotionless and an at arm’s length decision. I have had a lot of conversations with location managers and sales staff about stocking equipment. Suppose one customer comes in and asks about a line we don’t carry. 

“The more data is driving the business decision, the better the outcome is…”

The “manager” and sales staff think we need to be a dealer for that line, even though we might sell the same type of equipment from another manufacturer. The line carried has the wrong price, it is too heavy duty or, not heavy enough. If the ordering were left up to the manager, there would be more aged-new-equipment on dealers’ lots. 

The logic of “If I order 3, I get an extra 5% and free freight” would creep into the manager’s decision making process. They will use the discounts to make more margin on the unit they sold. Unfortunately, that customer is the only customer they have, and the other two become excellent windbreaks and yard art. Also, the parts room has parts for 3 machines for a market that has sells capabilities for one. I am sure the manufacturer’s rep will help move these machines after all of the new orders are taken. 

Now all of this is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it isn’t that far of a stretch. Taking the buying decisions out of the hands of those who are the most involved is the best possible option for everyone. The more data is driving the business decision, the better the outcome is. 

A new wholegoods manager is the best person to make these types of buying decisions. They will have the data available from the business system, and they don’t directly work with the customer. Not having the direct line to the end-user helps a decision based on facts and not a gut reaction. That being said, the new wholegoods manager also needs to listen to what the ground pounders ask for. If the field staff asks for a particular line of equipment, there is a reason, and it should be investigated.

In my opinion, the centralization of new and used wholegoods is the science of any equipment dealership, regardless of size. Every decision is backed by data and not by someone’s gut reaction. The wholegoods manager is less likely to have an emotional attachment to a customer and thus, less likely to make an emotional decision. 

The art comes from making the deal happen. Adjusting to what is happening on the ground and being open-minded enough to see what is happening outside of what the data is pointing to and shifting resources when and where they are needed.