As much troubleshooting as precision specialists do in the field, they often need to travel with an arsenal of cables, clamps, switches and fuses. Spending time on the road with specialists, I’ve learned that they need to expect the unexpected and be prepared for it.

For our most recent Day in the Cab adventure (to appear in the Summer print edition of Precision Farming Dealer) I spent nearly 12 hours with John Cooper, precision farming manager at Swiderski Equipment in Mosinee, Wis., bouncing around the central part of the state getting customers prepared for planting.

Spring can be a chaotic time of year and Cooper was able to draw on some mechanical improvisation to expedite a couple of hardware installations. Drilling new bolt holes into a planter frame to accommodate 3 row unit modules on a monitoring system, he was able to streamline the fit and placement of the system for an anxious customer.

After the impromptu engineering and systems check, the installation took nearly 2 hours. But it ended with a satisfied customer, essentially ready to roll in the field.

Getting the pieces to fit and the wires connected can sometimes bring a sense of relief to precision specialists, especially when a half dozen voicemails from customers are waiting to be returned.

So when a wrong part or component arrives at the dealership, it’s an unwelcome surprise for technicians and by extension, their customers. This is a situation Cooper encountered earlier in our day, when a wrong size gasket for a customer’s planter showed up at the store.

The mistake likely cost the customer a day in the field and forced an awkward explanation of why the planter wouldn’t be delivered on schedule. Though an inexpensive accessory, it was a critical one, which cost Cooper and his customer valuable time.  

During a time of year when the reliability of precision specialists is tested on  daily basis, having the right parts at the right time is essential.