By 2005, RDO Equipment Co. had enjoyed success in both the agriculture and construction industries, as well as with its first international partnership in Russia. It was clear RDO Equipment Co. wasn’t a company that would rest on its laurels and it certainly wasn’t one that would become stagnant.
At this point, diversification and growth were aligned with opportunities to expand solutions to existing customers and potential new customers. This continued to two new areas of focus: technology and irrigation.
Additionally, this point in time saw an effort to go above and beyond in two key areas of the business, parts and service, and create one of RDO Equipment Co.’s key differentiators.
Value-Added – The RDO Promise
Lon Kindseth had been around equipment and the dealership world his entire life, a path he has continued more than 20 years after RDO Equipment Co. acquired his family’s construction equipment dealership business. His deep understanding of customers’ pain points and needs, combined with the entrepreneurial spirit RDO Equipment Co. instills in all team members, led him to an idea.
Working with several team members, Lon and Ron Saar, General Manager of Aftermarket in the company’s Midwest – East Construction region, developed a new equipment service and care program. This was the pioneering effort of what today is formally known as the RDO Promise – Uptime Guaranteed™, a program that offers added value to customers on their equipment from major partners like John Deere and Vermeer, including everything from large construction machines to smaller lawn and garden equipment.
The RDO Promise includes benefits such as equipment walk-around and start-up when delivered, and a four-hour guaranteed response time for warranty repairs. Optional extras like GPS monitoring or tailored preventative maintenance programs are also offered.
According to Keith Kreps, Executive Vice President, “Virtually all of our stores were providing this level of service to customers, but Lon and Ron’s group took it to the next level and established it as a program, something we could formalize.”
The RDO Promise was officially introduced in 2007 and has been well-received by customers throughout the years.
RDO Equipment Co. realized it had something special – something no other dealership was offering – and decided to take it a step further. In 2010, RDO Equipment Co. introduced the RDO Promise on Parts and Service, offering customers more options for getting critical parts and extended service during peak times.
“The RDO Promise was and still is a big investment for us,” Keith said. “But it has been a smart one, as we’re investing more in our customers and the relationships. We’ve kept many longtime partnerships because of the RDO Promise and the value it adds.”
Not long after the original RDO Promise launched, RDO Equipment Co. entered a new area of business: technology.
Technology – RDO Integrated Controls
RDO Equipment Co. believes in continuous improvement and investing in the learning and development of all team members. One of the reasons these are important to the company is the idea that when team members are equipped with the latest skills and knowledge, customers receive the best service and opportunities.
Equipment technology advancements have been changing the equipment industry for years, from the early days of Auto-Trac on combines to GPS machine control on motor graders. RDO Equipment Co. Leadership recognized the impact new technology would continue to have on customers and made a commitment to be a leader in the area. The result? A new division, RDO Integrated Controls.
RDO Integrated Controls began in 2009 in Billings, MT, focused on selling and supporting technology solutions from a new partner, Topcon. RDO Integrated Controls has grown from Billings to include locations in Arizona, California, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
The group offers expertise to construction and surveying customers in emerging areas like GPS, machine control, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Adam Gilbertson, Vice President, recalls when RDO Equipment Co. was discussing the idea of coming into the technology area as a major player.
“In the construction industry, we knew how important it was for our customers to improve their accuracy and efficiency in every project,” Adam said. “The decision to create RDO Integrated Controls showed our commitment, not only to bring technology solutions to our customers, but to be experts in the field, helping them prepare for what the future will bring to the industry.”
As RDO Equipment Co. continued to expand, so, too, did the needs of customers. On the agriculture side, irrigation solutions and support emerged as the next significant opportunity, one which RDO Equipment Co. seized.
Irrigation – RDO Water
“Primarily in our Southwest Agriculture region, we believed there were a lot of customers we were already doing business with who would benefit from us expanding our expertise into irrigation,” Keith said.
In 2014, RDO Equipment Co. acquired Water Tech Ag Supply, a family-owned business with locations from the coast of Salinas, CA, to the desert of Yuma, AZ – right in the heart of RDO Equipment Co.’s Southwest region where many of its agriculture customers live and work – and established the RDO Water division. Water Tech Ag Supply founders’ son, Richard Arias, followed a similar path of Lon Kindseth, staying on after the acquisition. Richard currently serves as Vice President of RDO Water Sales.
While the irrigation industry has unique challenges – everything from a price-driven industry to numerous manufacturers and vendors in the space – Keith points out successes RDO Water.
Several RDO Equipment Co. stores are now combo stores with RDO Water, giving customers access to agriculture equipment and irrigation services in one location.
Similarly, but from strictly an irrigation standpoint, Keith says many customers are now getting true full-service irrigation support.
“Through the work of our talented designers, engineers, and specialists, we can design, install, and service irrigation systems,” he said. “Previously, growers had to work with different companies for different pieces of that puzzle.”
Most of all, the team is passionate about giving growers practical ways to be smarter about their water use, both from cost and conservation standpoints.
“I believe there will continue to be a focus on growers reducing the amount of water they use so for us to offer smarter irrigation systems like drip, subsurface drip, and micro, we’re giving them the opportunity to meet that challenge,” Keith said.
The RDO Water division also includes MVI, the pivot irrigation specialists in Minnesota and North Dakota.
“There are major differences between irrigation in the Southwest and irrigation in the Midwest,” Keith explained. “MVI allows us to focus on our Midwest farmers and be the experts in their unique needs.”
The RDO Promise, as well as both RDO Integrated Controls and RDO Water, were built on a similar philosophy, reflected in RDO Equipment Co.’s Core Values: the idea of adding value and opportunities for customers. A simple idea? Perhaps. But an important one, and certainly one that means a great deal to the companies and people being served.
RDO Equipment Co. is celebrating 50 years! Learn more about our history by clicking here.