Forging Partnerships

I was fortunate this month in that I was able to sell Eric Sfiligoj on the cover story idea featuring Jimmy Sanders, Inc. Sure, I am the boss — but Eric does have the latitude to tell me I’m full of baloney if he thinks my suggestions are bad. It’s one of the best benefits of having a seasoned, senior staff — they don’t really fear me, so I get pretty straight feedback.

Anyway, I got to do the story, and it’s a very cool story indeed. Sanders has been quietly creating one of the most progressive retail establishments in the country, let alone the Mid-South — with an emphasis on QUIET. So their willingness to share a bit about their business — specifically, its adoption of cutting-edge technology — got me pumped to do the story.

There are many lessons to be learned, most of which you’ll find in the story itself. The biggest key factor of all has been the establishment of a mission that is bought into from the top down, so that everyone knows what is expected and has a clear understanding of their roles. During the last decade in particular, when identifying and integrating technology became a significant focus, Jimmy Sanders has benefitted from clarity of vision.

Another, more subtle factor that I found particularly beneficial to the company has been a willingness to work very closely with suppliers in formulating solutions to problems, and in adopting new practices and technologies.

Jeff Dearborn, Sanders’ main technology guy, knew that implementing wireless communication would be the next big thing technology-wise for the retailer. He could see the positive impact that being able to send and receive files electronically from machinery to office and back at a moment’s notice would have during the busy season, when growers change input strategies — even crop decisions — with tender trucks en route. Being able to collect data and monitor machine movement would provide even more benefits.

Enter GVM, a long time equipment partner, which had been working on a solution called GVM Telematics to provide just such a service, and which was looking for good partners to get it out in the field.

“To Sanders, we were a trusted supplier they were already using,” says Aaron Hunt, who manages the GVM Telematics business. “They did not have to go out and find a new vendor. It ends up being good for both sides.”

Kudos to GVM in this endeavor — they built the Telematics system to work with any color of machine. And while the Raven VIPER is the controller being used, Hunt says that it will add Internet-capable controllers to the mix once they are released to the market.

The bottom line is, there are many opportunities to grow and improve the way we do business, but only so many hours in the day and only so much manpower we can dedicate to ferreting out and implementing new ideas.

This is particularly true with technology, which continues to evolve more and more rapidly. It’s difficult (and expensive) for businesses to keep up while working alone. Sanders’ Dearborn highlights the importance of having a good foundation of people and a clear mission, but having solid business partners among manufacturers is another important way retailers can make progress on technology.

Leave a Reply

Latest News
Crop InputsDuPont Pioneer: Corn Belt P and K Levels Lagging
August 24, 2016
A new DuPont Pioneer study conducted across 12 Corn Belt states demonstrates that growers may be leaving profit potential in Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsCould a Monsanto-Bayer Union Be 2 Weeks from Fruition?
August 24, 2016
Via STLToday.com (The St. Louis Post-Dispatch): Merger talks between Monsanto Co. and Bayer AG are advancing after a series of Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patrio…
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
PrecisionAg Video Conference
Precision AgVideo: PrecisionAg Vision Conference
August 22, 2016
A Strategic Conference Focused on the Future of Farm Digitization and Precision Agriculture Visit precisionagvision.com and register today! Read More
Young Corn Plants
Industry NewsOABA Welcomes Nicole Wallace As Communication & Adm…
August 22, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association has hired Nicole Wallace as its communication and administrative coordinator. Wallace will help provide comprehensive communication Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsChemChina, Syngenta Receive Clearance From CFIUS
August 22, 2016
China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) and Syngenta have announced that the companies have received clearance on their proposed transaction from the Read More
ManagementAg Industry Shows and Rumors
August 18, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the upcoming trade show schedule, crop protection merger updates, and content for Read More
MAGIE 2015
EquipmentMAGIE Takes The Pulse Of The Ag Retail Industry
August 18, 2016
Every year, one of the major highlights of my career as an ag journalist is attending the Midwest AG Industries Read More
MAGIE 2015 Overview
EquipmentPride In Professionalism On Display At MAGIE
August 18, 2016
The Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association (IFCA) is proud to partner with CropLife IRON and continue the tradition of bringing Read More
SprayersJenner Ag To Debut 25th Anniversary Edition Case IH Pat…
August 18, 2016
Visitors at the 2016 Midwest Ag Industries Exhibition (MAGIE) in Bloomington, IL, will have a unique photo opportunity, as Jenner Read More
Crop InputsEU Glyphosate Controversy Heating Up Yet Again
August 17, 2016
The battle over glyphosate rages on in Europe, creating a lot of question marks over whether the herbicide will continue Read More
Industry NewsNew Partnership Provides Improved Representation At Ohi…
August 16, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) has retained Belinda Jones of Capitol Consulting Group, Inc. (CCG) for government relations work in Read More
Tissue testing
FertilizerMosaic: 6 Tips For Better Crop Nutrition In Corn
August 16, 2016
Late in the crop season is a good time to assess visual nutrient deficiencies and ensure early- and mid-season deficiencies Read More
WebinarsWebinar Schedule
August 14, 2016
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDowDuPont Update: EU Takes Closer Look at Merger
August 12, 2016
Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. face months of haggling with European Union antitrust regulators who opened an in-depth probe Read More
ManagementNews from InfoAg 2016 and Weed Wands
August 11, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review what happened at last week’s big Precision Ag event and a possible solution Read More