How Valley Implement Supports the Agricultural Way of Life in the Digital Age
Is it possible to hang on to the original values of a family business during this time of rapid change? Fred Titensor of Valley Implement is able to manage a business founded in 1951 and keep it thriving while maintaining the very values it was built upon.
Valley Implement was founded by Lowell Christian Titensor, who understood the value of work and the satisfaction of a job well done. Thanks to his vision and dedication, plus the efforts of four generations of owners, Valley Implement is still a successful business, with locations in both Utah and Idaho. We sat down with Fred and discussed how he brought old-fashioned values and character to a new generation of agricultural equipment buyers.
What would you say sets Valley Implement apart from its competitors?
Fred: “Customers come from miles away, so that we can be a resource for them. Even though we’re located in just Utah and Idaho, we also cover a good portion of Wyoming. When they visit, we are a ‘one-stop shop’ for agricultural equipment.
“We carry Case IH and New Holland brands as well as irrigation systems since we’re a Zimmatic Irrigation dealer. We also have a trailer line, and we carry a full complement of equipment.”
What is your role at the dealership?
Fred: “I’m the Dealer Principal in a location with four stores. I work as a store manager in one of our facilities, and I interface with the other store managers as well. This helps me be hands-on since we are all experiencing the same things. We also have a CFO, a Sales Manager and a few associates in the corporate office, who I work with on a regular basis.”
What is the biggest challenge for your company?
Fred: “Staying on top of the changing technology when everything is moving so rapidly. We used to say things would move in a 10-year window, and now it seems like change happens in just a one-year timeframe. We have to make sure that we support our legacy customers, while being nimble enough to respond to changing behaviors.”
What are some of the strategies you have with dealing with that?
Fred: “The main way we can deal with change in the marketplace is to focus more on the customer. We talk to our customers regularly and try to understand their needs. We make sure that our manufacturers are also responsive to client requests.
“We keep that conversation going and maintain the flow of communication over time. When we see a new way of doing things, or when someone comes up with a suggestion, we consider, ‘Is this one person’s perception, or has the market made a change?’”
How did you start working with DIS software?
Fred: “I’ve known the DIS Corporation since I was a child. I’m the fourth generation in our family dealership, and I still remember when the very first installer came out to set up the DIS system at our original location; I was about 14 years old. At that time, we did not have any hotels in our small rural town, so the installer stayed in our house with us. I still talk to that very same gentleman on the Customer Support line at DIS today.”
What would you say is your favorite DIS feature?
Fred: “I like its ability to extrapolate whatever type of data that we need. ‘Datamine’ is something that we have used extensively. Once our folks learned how to use the ‘Datamine’ feature, I can turn to some key people in our organization and say, ‘This is the data that I need.’ Then they can provide it for me and mix and match the data however is needed for the task at hand.
“It is both flexible and customizable to our needs. Although it’s not a feature that we use daily, the ability to pull the data we need out of the system is a huge gamechanger.”
If DIS was to suddenly disappear, where would your business be now?
Fred: “It would be like starting a brand-new business. If the DIS software went down and we couldn’t start over, we would be rewriting code and re-establishing our general ledgers. We would have to start with a complete clean slate. We’d ask ourselves, ‘How do our accounts flow? How does our costing work?’ We are so integrated with DIS that it is hard to separate it from our business.”
In what way has DIS impacted your dealership overall?
Fred: “DIS has had a good family relationship with us; they treat us like we’re one of their key partners. When I need something, I feel like I know the people that I am dealing with. We can reach both people in management and those on the Customer Support team.
“We have a dedicated contact up there who has done a phenomenal job. That’s impacted us in such a way that we feel like we’re more than just a customer number to them. DIS has both listened and responded; they’ve been very attentive to us.”