Dealers Adapt Structures for Agri-Equipment Growth

As the agricultural equipment industry continues to evolve, dealerships are finding it necessary to adapt their organizational structures to maintain efficiency and growth. Executives from three prominent dealerships have shared their strategies for updating management layers to better lead their expanding businesses.

Keith Kreps, COO of 21st Century Equipment, discussed the significant changes his company underwent as it prepared for a merger with a neighboring dealer in 2022. The dealership, which is part of the John Deere group, consolidated its three districts of 5-6 stores into two regions, each encompassing eight stores. This restructuring was accompanied by a shift from the traditional store manager model to a territory manager structure. This move aimed to streamline operations and ensure better oversight across the larger regions.

The following year, 21st Century Equipment further expanded by merging with 4Rivers Ag, creating a third region with ten additional stores. Five of these new locations adopted the territory manager model, aligning with 21st Century’s legacy stores, while the remaining five, primarily small agricultural and turf locations, retained the traditional store manager structure. This hybrid approach allowed the company to maintain specialized management where needed while benefiting from the efficiencies of the territory model.

Bryndon Meinhardt, Regional Manager at KanEquip, a New Holland dealer with 14 locations across Kansas and Nebraska, shared insights into their organizational evolution. KanEquip has three regional managers, each overseeing multiple stores. Meinhardt, responsible for seven stores, explained that all store managers report directly to him. Additionally, KanEquip has implemented a Field Support Team that provides essential services such as human resources, accounting, and capital management to each store. This structure ensures that each location receives the support it needs while maintaining a clear chain of command.

Chuck Hoober, Owner of Hoober Inc., a 12-store Case IH dealership, highlighted the strategic changes his company made in 2018 to ensure future growth and sustainability. Recognizing the need for strategic and capital resources, Hoober Inc. formed a board of directors and appointed an independent president/CEO. This move, described by industry experts as a sign of organizational maturity, brought both advantages and challenges. While it introduced new perspectives and professional management to the family business, it also required careful navigation of the transition to ensure alignment with the company’s values and goals.

These examples illustrate the tipping point at which dealerships recognize the need for additional management layers. They also highlight the potential benefits of bringing in non-family executives to provide fresh insights and professional expertise. Furthermore, these organizational shifts create visible career paths for younger talent, showcasing the potential for growth and development within the company.

For those interested in learning more about these strategies and other authoritative insights from top farm equipment dealerships, the Dealership Minds Summit offers a unique opportunity. This dealer-only event, held on August 6-7, 2024, in Madison, Wisconsin, promises two days of collaborative, dealer-to-dealer learning. Attendees will gain valuable strategies from the most progressive minds in the industry, with limited seats available for this knowledge-packed agenda.

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