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
UncategorizedPrecision Ag, Iowa Water, and GM Corn Updates
March 24, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj look at the state of precision agriculture, the dismissal of the Des Moines Water Read More
Pam Marrone
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Enters Biostimulants Market Wit…
March 23, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. is expanding beyond biopesticides and crop protection and into the biostimulant market by commercially launching Haven Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation Teacher
FertilizerNutrients For Life Foundation Celebrates 10 Years Teach…
March 23, 2017
Those in agriculture know fertilizer is a vital ingredient to grow strong, productive crops. In fact, fertilizer is responsible for Read More
ManagementThink You Know Water? Take WinField United’s R…
March 22, 2017
Water is among our most precious resources, and arguably the hardest working, with just one percent available for human use, Read More
Corn Field
LegislationTFI Hopes Court Dismissal Is ‘Final Chapter’…
March 20, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) released the following statement from President, Chris Jahn on the March 17, 2017, federal court dismissal Read More
Wheat Growers
Industry NewsWheat Growers CEO Dale Locken To Retire
March 20, 2017
CEO Dale Locken has announced that he plans to retire from Wheat Growers. Locken has served almost 15 years as Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Eric SfiligojBayer-Monsanto: Life, LibertyLink, And The Pursuit Of R…
March 20, 2017
As the calendar officially turns to spring, life is in full renewal mode. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and Read More
Corn Field
Crop InputsUltra Yield Micronutrients Acquires Kronos Micronutrien…
March 16, 2017
Ultra Yield Micronutrients, Inc. ”Ultra”, an affiliate of Cameron Chemicals, Inc., is pleased to announce that it has acquired the Read More
ManagementSnowstorms, Asset Sales, and Soybeans Prices
March 16, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the weather, precision ag, crop protection company mergers, and commodity prices in this Read More
Soybean Field
Seed/BiotechBayer Invests $8.1 million In Soybean Advancement In Th…
March 16, 2017
Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility Read More
CHS
CropLife 100CHS Acquires Western Co-op Transport Association
March 16, 2017
CHS Inc., North America’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, has purchased Western Co-op Transport Read More
Young corn plants in soil
HerbicidesBest Management Practices To Control PPO-Resistant Weed…
March 14, 2017
Weeds resistant to the class of herbicides called protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) inhibitors are spreading at a faster rate than weed Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Eric SfiligojFungicide Resistance On The Horizon
March 13, 2017
For many years now, the agricultural market has struggled to keep ahead of an ever-growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds. According Read More
Management2017 Commodity Classic Review
March 10, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss what happened at the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio. Read More
Farmer using AgriSync
ManagementMajor AgriSync Update Aims To Extend Ag Experts’ Power …
March 10, 2017
AgriSync announced a major update to its leading collaboration and service management tool for professional ag advisors and their farmer Read More
Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App
EquipmentNew Agrible Pocket Spray Smart App Alleviates Spraying …
March 10, 2017
There’s a new app to help farmers decide when to spray their fields. Pocket Spray Smart is a free iOS Read More
BPIA logo
Crop InputsBiological Products Trade Association Changes Name, Exp…
March 9, 2017
The Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA), formerly the BioPesticide Industry Alliance, is the new name of the rapidly growing U.S.-based Read More
BBI MagnaSpread Salford BBI
Equipment14 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2017
March 9, 2017
Application equipment manufacturers stressed flexibility and accuracy with this year’s crop of fertilizer spreaders. From AGCO’s TerraGator TG9300B and Case IH’s 810 Read More