The equipment industry spans the globe. From Europe to Australia and everywhere in between, companies and individuals need quality equipment to farm their lands, build roads, and accomplish a variety of tasks.
International businesses, from private farms to large construction firms, need equipment from companies that can deliver the machines they need, safely and securely, wherever they are in the world. But perhaps even more important than the equipment itself, these global customers need something bigger from their equipment dealer – a partner they can trust.
Here are 5 key traits to proactively seek out when looking for an equipment partner.
1. The Real Deal
Most equipment companies tout the ability to sell overseas but often times, have little to no background in or understanding of the complete process.
Equipment exporting is a complex business, one that requires experience, knowledge, and an elevated level of care for the customer. When seeking an international partner, rather than jumping right in and browsing its fleet of equipment offerings, begin by asking questions about their process, to what countries they have experience selling and shipping, and their background in the industry.
There’s a major difference between a company that claims it knows the industry and one with a proven, strong history in it; between one that says it has experience working in international markets and one that has an active footprint in various countries around the globe.
2. In Whose Best Interest
In the business world, relationships matter. In the equipment world, relationships are crucial. A quality equipment company will always prioritize the customer first over profits or its own agenda.
A company that dives right in and starts pushing specific machines versus first finding out what kind of solutions the customer needs is a red flag. It may be that the company is interested only in selling its highest-priced machines or unloading specific units from its fleet.
Conversely, a reputable, trustworthy equipment company will work to understand every individual customer – what are their challenges, what’s the full scope of their business, what’s the budget they have to work with – then offer the best equipment solutions to meet their unique needs.
3. Equipment Offerings
Once a potential equipment partner has been properly vetted, now is the time to examine its fleet and equipment it has to offer. Look for a company with a diverse selection of equipment – agriculture and construction, heavy and compact, 100 to 10,000 hours. This offers opportunity to find a piece of equipment that ideally fits the business needs rather than settling on something less than ideal because it’s the only option.
Also, consider the strength and advantages of partnering with an equipment dealership affiliated with a major, reputable equipment brand. Beyond the sheer offerings of a major manufacturer, such as John Deere, these companies hold dealers to very high standards. In turn, those dealers transfer those high standards to customers, offering an elevated level of reliability and service beyond the equipment sale.
Furthermore, a dealership that’s tied to a leading equipment manufacturer guarantees greater access to parts, and the ability to source and ship them, fast.
4. Sensible, Secure Shipping
Combines. Motor graders. Wheel loaders. Heavy agriculture and construction equipment is large and bulky, which can make international shipping a challenge.
While roll-on/roll-off is an option, containerization is often the best solution. Leading equipment dealerships employ professionals who know how to properly disassemble and containerize even the largest machines.
Some companies also put in place special, detailed processes to guarantee easy reassembly on the receiving end. RDO Equipment Co., for example, has a system that includes marked wires, hoses, and cables, along with photos and video showing the process. The company also offers a dedicated customer support center that can be reached via phone or email, further ensuring proper and headache-free reassembly.
Just as it can be challenging for many equipment companies to ship large equipment around the globe, it can be expensive as well. Look for a company that does a large volume of business in several areas of the world, as it likely has strong partnerships with credible shipping companies, enabling reasonable rates whether containerization or roll-on/roll-off is chosen. Most important, the customer can trust the pricing is fair and competitive.
Not only do solid relationships ensure the best shipping rates for the customer, these leading dealerships have ability to ship to more areas and can provide equipment to virtually any country in the world.
5. From Start to Finish
At the end of the day, successful exporting boils down to getting equipment where it needs to go – period – making logistics one of the most important pieces to the puzzle.
Top companies employ a dedicated staff that handles key back-end services, including documentation, insurance, clearing customs, and full logistics. A complete process begins with selecting the right equipment, continues with inspecting, setting it up for roll on/off or containerizing, then processing and tracking the shipment, and staying with that load all the way to the customer.
And the final step continues long after the customer has received the equipment. True partners provide service and support after the sale. Look for a company with a strong customer support team – one that’s dedicated, knowledgeable, and especially one that can demonstrate a history of successful customer service.
Purchasing equipment for international companies isn’t the same process as buying machines for domestic use – it’s much more complex and, thus, warrants partnering with a stronger equipment dealership, backed by experience, relationships, and a track record of customer success.
An equipment dealership that meets or exceeds these five criteria will offer the level of confidence, trust, and peace of mind that your company needs – and deserves.
About The Author
Olga Hall is Director of International Sales for RDO Equipment Co. and based in Moorhead, MN.