I’ve never fully understood the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder.’ Perhaps it’s because I tend to have a hard time separating effort from efficiency.
But I also understand that time doesn’t necessarily translate to results. Certainly the last year has taught companies — ours included — that communication, trust and creativity are essentials to not only staying in business, but being successful.

Adapting to a more mobile and in some cases flexible workflow due to the pandemic had measurable benefits for dealerships (increased utilization of remote service for example), but also challenged companies to compensate for undeniable voids in camaraderie and

I’m sure we have all long lost count of the virtual meetings we participate in on a weekly basis. And while dealerships like our 2020 Most Valuable Dealership RDO Equipment Co. was proactive in adopting tools like Microsoft Teams for internal precision team meetings and trainings (see "Don’t Rely on Rearview Success to Drive Precision Prosperity of the Present"), recreating the energy or inspiration of the regular gatherings the team would hold at its physical stores is challenging.

Inspiration is a tricky thing. In my experience, hunting for it is often an exercise in futility, while patience is often rewarded with a creative awakening. So what is the right blend of boldness and poise when it comes to your business going forward?

Risk tolerance, assertiveness and instinct all factor in, but it’s also a matter of timing. In this issue, we recognize the 2021 Most Valuable Dealership, Van Wall Equipment and their comprehensive approach to precision performance and progress (see "Revolving Around Customer-Driven Solutions with Comprehensive Precision Proficiency").

Talking with members of their Integrated Solutions team and Van Wall leadership, I gained more appreciation for the ‘smarter not harder’ philosophy as a combination of passion, execution, innovation, accountability and outcome.

“Everything has to be tied back to increasing a grower’s margin per acre,” says Scott Meldrum, Integrated Solutions manager. “If every conversation about equipment, technology or agronomy doesn’t focus on margin per acre, then the grower will not be getting the full benefit from the product.”

The dealership’s Solutions 360 model evaluates 5 specific areas of a grower’s operation — data integrity, data management, equipment optimization, agronomic recommendations and risk management.

Putting the pieces together, especially during the last 10-plus months, hasn’t been easy for any organization, but Van Wall has been able to sustain momentum on some of their most measurable precision outcomes.

In 2020, the dealership increased precision hardware revenue by almost $500,000, had near a 90% retention rate on its precision service packages and during the last 3 years has increased its total of customer acres engaged in precision services by nearly 25%.

“It’s a simple principle that if the growers in our area are successful and profitable, then they will be more likely to come spend money on our goods and services,” Meldrum says. “As long as we understand how to continue to help them be better.”

He adds that morale of the IS team tends to be a little higher, because the solution-driven aspect of it leads to rewarding outcomes.
“When we’re dealing with a grower, we can really see the reward and the genuine appreciation on that grower’s face. It really helps us feel we’re making a difference.”

I’m still not sold on the notion that it’s an either/or with working smarter or harder. It seems like a combination produces the most satisfying and sustainable results.