The harvesting season is one of the busiest times of the year for John Deere dealers around country. Store floors become flooded with customers looking for new equipment, parts, service, and additional information that could benefit their operation. If it weren’t for these dealerships, and their hard-working employees, our nation’s crop producers would likely face a number of insurmountable challenges.
To learn a little bit about the role of John Deere dealerships (and their personnel) during the harvesting season, we’ve reached out to a few professionals that were kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedules and share some of their experiences and industry knowledge. Last week, we featured an interview we had with Eric McCready, of AgriVision. Today, we will provide a recap of a conversation we had (October, 17) with Casey Seymour, used equipment manager of PrairieLand Partners’ Andale, KS location. Excerpts from our conversation can be found below:
Q: Can you provide us with a bit of personal background as well as PrarieLand Partners’ history?
A: “In 2008, three John Deere dealerships in central and southern Kansas came together to capitalize on opportunities and overcome existing business challenges to form what PrairieLand Partners is today.
I started working as a John Deere dealer sort of by accident. I started as an employee at one of John Deere’s competitors, then was offered a job further west where I worked for three years before coming back to the Wichita area (where I’m from) to work for PrairieLand Partners.”
Q: What sorts of crops are being harvested in the Andale area?
A: “Right now they’ve basically finished up with corn and have moved on to soybeans and milo, which has really started to pick up lately.”
Q: What does your role consist of on a regular basis? What are some of your job responsibilities?
A: “My role at the company is known as either remarketing manager or used equipment manager. My job is to evaluate all the trades that come in, along with assessing used equipment inventory and reconditioning process.”
Q: Based on the above job responsibilities, what are some of the biggest challenges and rewards you face as a used equipment manager?
A: “The biggest challenge that I’ve been facing here lately is surrounding some of the uncertainty among the producers, which is driving some of the decisions they are making when it comes to purchasing equipment. Recently, it’s been important for me to come up with some good programs to drive sales and keep people interested in what’s going on around the area.
The most rewarding part of my job is just working for a great team. I’ve got a good group of guys around me from our sales to parts and service department. The people around me make my job very easy when it comes to trying to figure out exactly what it is that we need to do with our equipment. We have people out there working every day to build out relationships with new and existing customers to sell the PrarieLand brand and story.”
Q: What actions does PrarieLand take to get customers ready for the harvest and how do you support them throughout the season?
A: “We have a very, very strong winter service program that we have a lot of customers enrolled in. They bring their machines in, we get them inspected, have some conversations with them about what they need fixed to keep them going and be as efficient as they can possibly be.
We do a lot of different clinics throughout the year whether it be planting, seeding, or combine clinics. We do a lot of these throughout the year featuring all kinds of equipment that we have.
We had a few very effective tillage-focused events which put a spotlight on John Deere tillage equipment that had sort of slipped out of customers’ focus over the past few years. Also, we have a very good Integrated Solutions department that really goes out and works with the customers to figure out what kinds of solutions are best for their operation based on the information they gather. We try to bring everything together for our customers and tie it up and put a bow on it.”
Q: Are there certain pieces of equipment that you see as “hot sellers” as the harvesting season progresses and also, how big are AMS products in the area?
A: “Whatever crops are being harvested at the time are usually the types of equipment that sell the best at that time. When producers start cutting corn, we see a lot of action with our corn heads, combines, grain carts, tractors, etc. that they are going to use to cut that crop with.
However, most of the time, producers have bought what they want pre-harvest time, so there’s not much that they’re buying during the harvest that they haven’t already bought before. We get a lot of customers coming in looking for things like larger grain carts, things they didn’t previously plan on purchasing prior to the harvest.
AMS is a big part of success for a lot of our customers. We have a lot of producers out there looking for that “edge” to get a little more profitability and efficiency. However, not everybody has embraced it like they should in my opinion, as it saves time and helps overcome common operational deficiencies.”
Q: Do you yourself have a favorite piece of John Deere harvesting equipment?
A: “My favorite piece of harvesting equipment is anything we sell off of our lot!”
Take a look at all of PrairieLand Partners’ locations and be sure to stop in next time you’re in the area of their stores! A special thanks to Casey Seymour, for taking the time to shed some behind-the-scenes light on the John Deere dealership business during the harvesting season! If you have any comments about this post, feel free to connect with us on Facebook!