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Podcast ep 102 - connected support

Podcast Ep. 102 - Connected Support

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Protecting your machine investment and maximizing uptime is everyone’s goal. RDO Equipment Co. makes this goal more achievable with our Connected Support packages. 

Our team monitors your machine’s health alerts to help you protect your investment and keep you up and running. Sometimes it helps to have an extra set of eyes on your side doing one thing and one thing only: watching the health and performance of your machines while they work.

Here's how it works:

  1. A machine health alert is sent from the machine to the RDO Equipment Co. Machine Health Monitoring Center and the alert will be evaluated.
  2. Depending upon the type and severity of the alert, the team member monitoring the alert will reach out to the customer directly or the customer's service team to determine a solution and prevent any potential issues. 
Learn more about Connected Support and other solutions from RDO Equipment Co.

Audra Hagen Grunhovd chats with host Tony Kramer to discuss the benefits and versatility of Connected Support, as well as success stories from the field.

You can tune in to Episode 102 here:


Check out past episodes and guests – visit the Episode Archive.

Tune in as we share the latest in agriculture technology by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes, SoundCloud, or anywhere you listen to podcasts. 

Have a story idea or a precision ag topic we should highlight? Connect with us on social media: Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter and connect with podcast host, Tony Kramer on Twitter at: @RDOTonyK.

Catch the full transcript here:

Tony Kramer: Hey, this is Tony Kramer, product specialist with RDO Equipment Company and you are listening to the Agriculture Technology podcast. Every day, there are phenomenal advancements being made in the field of agriculture technology. RDO Equipment Company is a leader in agriculture equipment and precision agriculture technology, and is here with industry experts to spring the latest news and information from RDO and John Deere. Thanks for joining us on the Agriculture Technology podcast.

Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 102 and today we are going to be talking about connected support. Before we dive into the show, please take a moment to subscribe to our podcast if you haven't already. You can subscribe to the show on the many different podcasting apps that we're streaming this out too. It's on Apple's podcasting app, we have it on Stitcher, Overcast, SoundCloud as well as many others and while you're out there, please drop us a review. We would love to hear what you think about the show. Lastly, make sure to follow RDO Equipment Company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and catch all of our latest videos on YouTube.

You can also follow me on Twitter @RDOTonyK. Now, with that, let's get back to the show. I am really excited to welcome Audra Hagen Grunhovd to the show who is a connected support specialist and actually some of you may recognize her voice. Audra was actually the voice of our intro back on the first few episodes. I don't even remember which numbers they were, but you may recognize this voice. I'm really happy to get Audra back onto the show from this perspective as a guest to talking about connected support. Thanks for coming to the show today, Audra. To get started, let's hear a little bit about you, your background and how you got to where you are today.

Audra: All right. Thanks, Tony. I appreciate the opportunity to talk to everyone about this today. I have been with RDO Equipment since early 2013 and I started in accounts receivable collecting out accounts and developing relationships with stores and customers, and then moved over to the customer support, now connected support team, in 2015 where I've been since. I've been really enjoying it. I grew up as a kid with a dad that owned a dealership and relatives that farmed and a grandpa who was corporate deer. When I had the opportunity to get into an organization or a John Deere organization, I was pretty excited. That's what landed me here.

Tony: You have a long history of John Deere and dealerships, so you've had the opportunity to see equipment evolve over time, having your father own a dealership and then being to where you are today and obviously with the technology that continues to get added into this equipment. Thinking back to when you were a kid, there was none of this technology, we didn't have these capabilities. To get connected support in machines nowadays is a huge thing and we're going to talk about that in this episode. To start out, Audra, let's just dive into it. What is connected support?

Audra: Well, connected support for us here at RDO is really centered around that JD link connection on the Deere machines and then we do have an aftermarket telematics product that we get some of that same information for us. We're using that connection to be able to attract machine locations. We have the ability to look into alerts in different codes that are being thrown to help customers proactively determine what's going on with their machines. We are able to monitor maintenance intervals by tracking the hours that the machines are accruing on a daily basis. There's just a lot that we can do based on that connection. We've developed a department around what's going on with that.

Tony: This is definitely a proactive approach at helping the customers support their equipment, correct?

Audra: Yes.

Tony: You mentioned having the JD link capabilities and a few other types of connections. Let's talk a little bit about that. First off, JD link, late model John Deere machines, we're able to get in and do that and see that. What is all needed for these JD link machines?

Audra: A lot of the new models are coming with it factories. You just need to have this subscription, which right now for agriculture I believe is no charge. Correct?

Tony: Yes, there's two. For agriculture there is two different subscription levels, one being the access, which gives us a lot of information for the serviceability. Then there is also JD link connect, which gives us more of the agronomic data and wireless data transfer. Yes, there are the two different levels of subscriptions. Then you mentioned that we have a non John Deere or older John Deere solution as well. Can you explain that a little bit?

Audra: We do have an aftermarket product called CalAmp. It's a-- We're partnered with LHP telematics. We are able to install that. That's a three wire unit that we can install. You just need to hook it to ground, constant and switch power. That's just going to pull location and hours for the most part, but we do have that linked into our own JD link system, so to speak, that we call RDO connect where you can set up maintenance management. It's a mixed fleet management tool so we can pull your John Deere machines into there if you have any cat machines or Komatsu, it can all pull into RDO connect where you can manage it from one hub. That's just an additional tool that we're offering customers.

Tony: Being it's a universal solution I would imagine needing ground, constant power and keyed power. You could probably also put it in pickups, service trucks, semise things like that. Is that correct?

Audra: That's correct. We can put it on anything that has power. Essentially if it has an engine, it can have CalAmp.

Tony: You can probably even put a CalAmp on your lawnmower, I would bet.

Audra: [laughs] Right. I'm sure you could. [laughs]

Tony: We have a lot of options and that brings me to the next point, but this isn't just agriculture, this isn't just construction. Correct? It goes across the board on both sides, John Deere and non John Deere.

Audra: That's correct, yes. We can monitor all of the machines regardless.

Tony: Whether you are an Ag customer, you are a construction customer or you have that mixed fleet or maybe you don't have any John Deere equipment at all and we can utilize the CalAmp or universal solution with RDO connected support. It sounds like we have a solution for everybody to monitor their machines, track their machines, and help with that proactive support from a dealership level.

Audra: Yes, we definitely do.

Tony: When it comes to that and what we are doing here at RDO, you talked about it a little bit, but let's dive in a little deeper of what value does this bring RDO being able to have these connected machines?

Audra: It really gives us the ability to help our customers on another level to be able to let them know, "Hey, there's something going on with your machine that we should look at before it goes down." We have a rental fleet that we're able to monitor maintenance intervals on. We're taking care of rental machines on a regular basis, which is causing less likely downtime with them while they're out on rent. I've located multiple basing our loss machines from stolen machines for customers, where they come to the job site or to the farm one morning and the machine's gone and we're able to tap into JD link or RDO connect and see where it is so they can recover their machines.

I guess for us that's wonderful because we're able to help our customers on this additional higher level and we're able to build that strong relationship then.

Tony: Let's add on to that then and look at it from a customer's perspective. How do they gain value from having, whether it's a JD link connected machine or they're installing these CalAmp three wire solutions? Where is the value to them? What do they get out of a connected support system?

Audra: Well, that's, again, with them being able to track maintenance intervals most easily by being able to track out holes, especially on the machines with the CalAmps installed, something they would have had to go and physically look at each machine to be able to see their alerts or to call us when they have questions and to have us be able to tap in and help them get things corrected at the time, rather than bringing the tractor into the store to have it fixed. Sometimes we can get into it and see what's going on real easy.

Tony: From a customer perspective, you alluded to it that it's not just us as a dealership having access to this information, but the customer also gets to see any of this information they want as well, correct?

Audra: Yes, that's correct. We've actually had some construction customers that have used it as a tool during snow removal. If we have a city or a county that does snow removal in the winter and people are always real on edge about when their streets get cleared, with JD link they're able to go on and see exactly when they were down that road, so they can say, "Hey, we did actually clear this road three times in the last month," where it's come in handy for them and intense situations to be able just to show what they've done on their own.

Tony: That's a really good point that you bring up, Audra. It's not only the preventative maintenance and seeing the alerts or diagnostic codes, but also fleet management, being able to see when and where machines are. I know from an ag side, we're able to monitor things like fuel level, where the tractor has been and what it's doing. From a snow removal perspective, when you got a customer that has a fleet of let's say 25 or 30 pieces moving snow out there after a snow storm. Yes, that's a great point that you can monitor fleet, location and things like that. You brought up monitoring location and I want to hear more to this story, but stolen machines. Let's walk through this. I guess I'm going to use this or call this as our success story here. Tell us about the situation of the stolen machine and how we were able to help a customer in that situation.

Audra: To preface it, this happens a lot more often than you would expect. I get a lot of calls trying to locate machines that have gone missing. The particular case that I'm thinking of was actually a mini excavator that was on a trailer and had a CalAmp installed. The customer got to his lot to pick up his mini ex in the morning and it was gone, trailer and all, everything. We started monitoring it and checking just so-- Because once it fired up, we knew that it would call in. It's just we were waiting for that moment. I got the phone call as soon as I got in in the morning at eight and it was in Arizona so they were really looking for their machine.

I want to say we didn't even see a call in until three o'clock. I mean, they had the police involved, but the story was the customer just went out and grabbed it. It was still on its trailer so we just hooked up to it and drove away with it. He had his mini ex back, but it was just- it was great. I was losing hope, then it called in at three and they found it without any problem. Blows my mind every time. [laughs]

Tony: Yes, that's a really neat story. Obviously, it's a story of success without having that CalAmp the customer machine owner, whatever it may have been, they may have never found the machine. I know I've heard other stories of machines finding their way across the national borders. To have these abilities of connected machines whether it be for diagnostic purposes, preventative maintenance, location, hour tracking, whatever it may be, there are a lot-- I would imagine you guys are having success stories every single day with customers and machines.

It's really neat to hear about what can be done with these machines that are connected, whether, again, they're JD link machines right from the factory, or we install these CalAmps. I just want to thank you, Audra, for taking the time to sit down with me and talk a little bit about connected support and what it means to us as a dealership, but also to the customer. Last question I got for you is, where can people go? Who can they talk to if they want to learn more about connected support, whether it be through our RDO organization or other John Deere dealerships out there?

Audra: By all means speak with your salesperson, or you can definitely give us a call or email us directly. Our email addresses are connectedsupport@rdoequipment.com and we do have an 800 number. It's 844-551-0390. We can get you the information you're looking for, point you in the right direction for who to talk to.

Tony: Great. Yes, like Audra said, you can reach out to RDO, she gave the email address there, connectedsupport@rdoequipment.com and then also the phone number. Thanks again for doing this, Audra. It's great to have you back on the show and hear your voice on the microphone.

Audra: Thanks for having me.

Tony: Visit rdoequipment.com/podcast to listen to new episodes and catch up on any that you have missed. You can also listen and subscribe to our podcast on any device or streaming service.