August 2014

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34 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | August 2014 Midyear Business Report increased from zero to 6 percent in 2014. It is no surprise that 90 percent of dealers reported that their greatest need was in the service department. However, a higher percentage of dealers expressed a great need for other positions this year. Equipment sales was a category mentioned by 37 percent of the dealers surveyed, up from 25 percent in 2013. Needs for personnel in the parts department and product support sales positions also increased over last year. 4 Rivers Equipment added approximately 25 people over the past year and Shearer believes that trend will continue. "Finding people is going to be a challenge toward the end of the year. I think we have come to the end with what we can do with the amount of people we have. We always need technicians but the rest of our support people are getting stretched thin." Dealers Delving into Telematics The 2014 Midyear Business Outlook Survey asked deal- ers to indicate their approach to telematics. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they were beginning to explore how to develop a telematics program for custom- ers, while 37 percent were "proactively utilizing telematics in preventive maintenance and selling new telematics- driven services to customers. "We are seeing a lot more excitement around the telemat- ics," said Shearer. 4 Rivers Equipment reorganized to combine telematics with blade control and put that into a separate department. "We are picking up more sales and even sold more whole goods because of the way we have machines outfitted." A partnership with Topcon dealer Geoshack has helped increased business. John Deere WorkSight is used to develop and monitor maintenance contracts and let customers know when equipment needs service. Two staff members manage sales and service of blade control. "Customers who own different brands have come to us due to our expertise in blade control," Shearer added. In Summary "So far, so good," might be the best way to describe the first half of 2014. Dealers are keeping their fingers crossed that we get through the balance of the year without hitting a major uncontrollable snag, such as a stop to federal highway projects. Without a big tax incentive, dealers aren't likely to see a rush of year-end buying, but more of the slow and steady recovery would be welcome, too. JOANNE COSTIN is a freelance writer and marketing consultant focusing on the construction industry. She can be reached at (847) 358-1413 or jcostin@costincustom.com. ("Half-Time Breakdown: More Dealers Say Things Are Looking Up" continued from page 33) Key Findings From the 2014 Midyear Business Outlook Survey Compared to Spring 2013, how are your current midyear TOTAL REVENUES for 2014: 1%-10% higher More than 10% higher The same 1%-10% lower More than 10% lower Up 1%-5% Up more than 5% Flat Down 1%-5% Down more than 5% Compared to this time last year, how are your midyear 2014 GROSS MARGINS doing? 31.3% 6.3% 53.1% 3.1% 6.3% 25% 28.1% 25% 21.9%

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