The employee-owned manufacturer of fertilizer blending equipment mixes innovation with wholistic sales support to deliver the perfect solution every time.
Farming has never been a job for the faint of heart. From the growers who put their blood, sweat, and tears into the crop each season to the breeders, suppliers, and equipment manufacturers who help them do it more efficiently, those who thrive in the agriculture industry know what it means to buckle down and get their hands dirty.
Many will enter this business. Few will succeed long-term. Those that have built something that lasts know that the secret sauce has less to do with the products sold and more to do with the relationships created along the way.
Ranco Feriservice, Inc. has been following this roadmap to success since 1961 when it perfected the continuous-flow, volumetric fertilizer blender. A premier manufacturer and innovator of dry fertilizer blending and handling equipment, Ranco understands that solutions are only as good as the people who sell, install and support them.
“As employees, we have skin in the game. We plan on being here a long time, and we want to give good service,” says Jim Heschke, Ranco Senior Sales Territory Manager. “So, we keep building our business, and we don’t have as much employee turnover. This is important because experience and longevity is very important to our customers. By having our own installers and employees that understand the parts and equipment, we can really show up for our customers.”
The expertise Ranco brings to the fertilizer manufacturing market is the result of engaged, loyal employees. Since 2015, the company has been employee-owned through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). This has helped to create a culture where each team member is motivated to go above and beyond for its customers. Employees are well-versed in the equipment, parts and how best to serve each unique operation.
Customization is Key
“We try and do a lot of homework up front because we cover the whole United States, and agriculture is very different from one end of the nation to the other,” says Bruce Hinkeldey, Ranco Senior Sales Territory Manager. “So, we can’t do a cookie-cutter approach with our clients. We have to sit down with them, understand what they really need and find a system that fits their needs right now and will be able to handle the future expansion of their business.”
Ranco also prides itself on taking a consultative approach to sales and support. There are procedures in place to ensure customers receive superior care every step of the way. It begins by having an in-depth conversation with a potential customer.
“We create the lead. We come back. We share the lead with our drafting department,” says Heschke. “From there, we create a drawing for the customer, and we price it. We present it to the customer, whether it be through the internet now or in person. We work through the details to determine if the equipment will best fit the facility and their needs. Depending on the answer, we can change the drawings and change the quote. Once the equipment is sold, we create the work orders and pretty much act as the project manager from start to finish.”
New Ideas Create Efficiencies and Better Accuracy for Retailers
But even the best customer care won’t make up for subpar equipment. Ranco constantly looks for opportunities to innovate and improve. The company’s first equipment focused on volumetric blending, which discharges product from bins based on volume per cubic foot.
Ranco’s Multi-Blender is a volumetric unit. It quickly and continuously blends the desired products. The advantages to this system are speed and blend quality, the latter of which is high, even when adding small amounts of product. Because every product is continuously metered into a common blend auger, it’s evenly and rapidly distributed throughout the entire blend, without batching.
In 2002, Ranco developed the Multi-Blender Declining Weigh blend system. This system weighs the output of each product as it’s blending and continually adjusts every few seconds throughout the run for any variability caused by density or flowability changes. The result is extremely accurate analysis, load weights, and inventory control.
Recently, the company introduced the MeshDCS blend control system. MeshDCS is a mesh network that allows bins to communicate with one another. Then, it ties the entire system of bins together using industrial wireless technology. MeshDCS can be easily and economically moved to a new location, should your business change the layout or expand elsewhere. Users can control the system remotely from any tablet or computer with a wi-fi connection or directly wired.
While MeshDCS is a new offering, Ranco is confident that it will soon become an industry standard. The company has a long history of developing systems that customers love and competitors envy.
“Ranco brought volumetric blending to the industry, and in 2000, we brought declining weight blending into the industry,” says Heschke. “Every one of our competitors have copied their version of that, so we know we’re doing something right.”