It’s 3 p.m. on Thursday, do you know where your precision farming specialists are?
If you do, then that’s a good indication of how well structured your precision department is. But if not, then perhaps it’s time to make sure those lines of communication between precision dealers, technicians and management are fully open.
While attending the first ever Dealership Minds Summit, presented by Farm Equipment Magazine, a few dealership owners and general managers casually discussed the challenge of keeping their precision employees “accountable” for their time.
Nobody suggested that their precision salespeople or technicians didn’t have enough work to fill their days. Rather, it is making sure those precision employees are making the most of their time during the workday.
“Lay out your day, show me your plan,” is what one Iowa dealership owner expects from his precision staff.
This is easier said than done as many precision specialists fill multiple roles for dealerships.
In the case of one dealership, its primary precision specialist shifted from sales to full-time support, but he operates somewhere in between.
“He doesn’t really answer to the parts manager and is kind of rogue agent out there,” says the dealership owner. “As long as customers are happy, it’s fine. But I also sometimes don’t know where he is at three in the afternoon.”
Many dealers seem to be scratching their heads when trying to figure out how to efficiently structure and manage their precision farming departments.
While they acknowledge the need to “loosen the chain” when it comes to allowing their precision staff to prioritize their responsibilities, dealers also want some standard of accountability.
As dealers note, established departments like service, sales and parts have established working cultures. In some cases, precision farming specialists are trying to adapt to all three.
“We’re looking for that balance, when you’ve got a guy who’s shooting from the hip and is just trying to make everyone happy,” says the Iowa owner.
As dealerships add more precision staff, this could provide a solution to the problem of having one or two specialists providing several services to customers.
But making sure that precision farming specialists have a clear understanding of their obligations and role within the dealership, can go a long way toward avoiding problems in the future.