Innovation Is in Their DNA
CLAAS of America, Inc. received the Equipment Dealers Association’s 2019 Dealer’s Choice Award in the Full-Line Manufacturer category. They also won this award last year—the first time they were classified as a full-line manufacturer. “We are extremely honored to receive the Dealer’s Choice Award in the full-line category,” says Leif Magnusson, President of CLAAS Global Sales. “We are blessed with many great dealers, who make our work rewarding and fulfilling.”
These awards, which are based on the EDA’s Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey, recognize manufacturers that are leading the industry in providing top-quality service, support, products and parts to dealers.
The Survey as a Tool
“We were pleased to learn that our ratings improved this year and that our efforts to address our performance has paid off,” says Magnusson. “For the team at CLAAS, the survey is not seen as the means to an award, but as an important business tool. Each year we carefully review the EDA report with all responsible parties and look to improve in areas where we should do better,” adds Magnusson. “We also try to enhance areas where we do well, to further our competitive edge.”
CLAAS works with approximately 200 dealers in North America, and John Schofield, North American Marketing Coordinator for the Omaha-based operations, credits the company’s continued growth and success to their dealers and customers. “Our product line appeals to excellent customers, and we need excellent dealers to reflect the CLAAS brand,” says Schofield. “As a manufacturer, we can’t respond to customers in a timely manner during height of harvest. That’s the responsibility of local dealers. And we feel very fortunate to have excellent ones out there.”
Innovation Is Key
Schofield says that dealers are also an integral part of how their company innovates: “We need our dealers. They are close to our customers and understand their pain points. It’s feedback from our customers—through our dealers—that often leads to new innovations.”
Innovation is very much in the company’s DNA. Schofield explains it’s innovation that drove the founder, a farm kid in rural Germany, to fix, improve and then finally build a better hay binder more than a century ago. “By listening to our customers and understanding their business needs as Ag professionals—we are able to engineer solutions that make them more efficient and profitable. And if we aren’t doing that, then we aren’t doing our jobs,” he says.
An important way CLAAS does this “listening” is through their Dealers’ Council. At these meetings, the team at CLAAS looks at the survey numbers and ask how they can do better—and that includes when they are leading the category. “CLAAS always welcomes feedback and input on relationships with key stakeholders. We’re honored to be partnering with great dealers and truly respect and appreciate their candid feedback,” says Magnusson.
And expect more innovation this August at the Farm Progress Show. While CLAAS can’t reveal what the announcement is yet, Schofield says to stay tuned for a lot of changes in the future.
About the Awards
The EDA Dealer’s Choice Awards are based on the results from the annual EDA Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey, which received input from 2,200 dealer participants in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces to rate up to seven manufacturer lines they carry in 12 key business categories. Manufacturers participating in the survey are classified in one of four different categories: full-line, short-line, tractor and outdoor power equipment.