Market share is viewed as a measurement of success, especially among farm equipment manufacturers in the U.S. But the landscape — both literally, and figuratively — is different in Europe.
With a mix of small and large operations — some topping 1 million acres — and diverse crop rotations, farm contractors often perform the majority of field operations, including seeding, fertilizer application and harvesting.
There isn’t a dominant brand in the market, so landing and keeping farm contractors in Europe is big business, a point that was emphasized by Klaus Braunhardt, director of precision ag solutions for John Deere in Europe.
During my visit to the company’s manufacturing facility in Mannheim, Germany, ahead of Agritechnica 2017, Braunhardt spoke on the influence a reliable, comprehensive precision service platform can have on contractor’s equipment purchasing decisions.
“So we have several service packages that we provide to our contractors, that include fuel guarantees, that include uptime, that include service part packages to get at a discount if the customer has remote display access. So, that he and the dealer can see the operation. The dealer is important in this also. He needs to be the one-service stop for those contractors, and being able to connect to the machines and being able to send that information to the machines, diagnostic information, for example, and repair information. Also, just to look at the operator’s terminal and make ad hoc fixes and recommendations is a big deal for our contractors because uptime for them, is money. For every minute they sit, and don’t plow, and don’t apply or don’t harvest, that’s wasted money.”
Braunhardt added that the vast majority of forage harvesters and combines produced in Europe are being run by farm contractors, with some running 50-60 pieces of equipment in a multi-colored fleet.
This is where he sees opportunity for growth by offering and supporting a reliable precision service plan as a pathway to increasing brand loyalty.