Vital to the iron

Features - Equipment

Without all the small parts, those big machines are useless.

December 17, 2013

Iron and trucks are exciting, but a landscape company is truly efficient when its machines are up and running all the time. That means having ready access to spare parts – everything from tires and oil to mower blades and spark plugs. Suppliers and dealers know this, and are offering more and more streamlined ways for customers to get those parts.

On-site ordering. Suppliers such as John Deere and CAT offer programs to help contractors save time and receive aftermarket parts on a regular basis through their dealer networks.

Rockdale Lawn & Tractor, for instance, works with about 10 of their larger, commercial customers and government agencies to regularly stock John Deere parts.

The contractor hosts a space on location to store the parts. Their on-site technicians then come up with a list of things they are out of and contact Rockdale Lawn & Tractor, who bills it, brings it out and restocks their shelves.

“It’s allowed the contractors to get what they need from one place instead of running around to multiple places to get parts,” says Branch Manager Kasey Whisnante. “It has been a popular option. It definitely made it easier on them so that the technicians can actually be there working instead of running around getting parts for the equipment.”

Whisnante says the larger customers, those with anywhere from 20 to 40 crews, are usually the ones they gear the on-site ordering programs toward. Smaller companies tend to want to come in and buy as needed.

“It’s something different we can offer to them, especially to new customers when we’re getting to know what all they carry, what all they need,” he says.

Streamlined ordering programs don’t just benefit the contractor – dealers can save time and money as well.

“We as a dealership aren’t having to run out and take one part or two parts all the time; we’re able to take larger quantities and make less trips,” Whisnante says. “It keeps us from stocking too many parts on our shelves because it comes directly in and gets directly out there, paid for and on their shelves.”

Maintenance kits.
While Paladin Attachments does not yet have an aftermarket sales program that markets directly to the end user, the company does offer new options for dealers, such as maintenance kits that make for quick, easy repairs. The kit contains all of the parts and hardware needed to repair high-wear items, right down to the nuts and bolts.

“What we’re trying to do is make it a little easier to do maintenance, whether it’s being done in the dealer’s service bay or it’s being done at the customer’s own place of business,” says David Garmenn, Paladin Attachments parts manager.

While it makes sense for a dealer to stock high-wear parts, anything beyond that is difficult to justify keeping on a regular basis, Garmenn says.

“The kits are something for the dealer to conveniently stock and have on hand so that the contractor can walk out the door with a box of parts the same day they came in for it,” he says.

Contractors looking to set up such programs must do so through their dealers. All pricing and structural details are negotiated between the dealer and the end user, at least for now.

“Paladin is really in its starting stages of focusing on aftermarket maintenance programs,” Garmenn says. “Our next step will be to put this in an online catalog where contractors can go search for what they are looking for based on their attachment type. Behind that, in a dealer portal, dealers can see the requests and click and order.”


The author is a freelance writer based in Louisville, Ky.