L to R: Bob Crain, AGCO senior Vice President, general Manager, North America; Martin Richenhagen, AGCO chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer; Lucinda Smith, AGCO senior vice president human resources; Tim Miller, AGCO director global learning
Into the crop fields: the final frontier. These are the voyages taken in a 360 hp tractor. The mission: to plant and harvest, risking, multi-tasking, monitoring, to go boldly where no man has gone before in the quest for record-breaking crop yields . . .
This paraphrased mission statement, taken from an early Star Trek episode, illustrates the uncertain ground where farmers tread and where the world looks in apprehension to supply their future needs for food and fiber. With land, labor and production input prices on a steady climb, this adoption of new technology is more than cutting edge: its resulting cost cutting efficiencies may literally mean business survival. The problem is that it is so . . . technical.
Tier 4 engines, GPS-based functions, automated steering and variable rate technologies all require a learning curve that has implement dealers and farmers alike, scrambling to get up to speed and AGCO Corporation is seeing to it that their dealer network is knowledgeable so their customers can be profitable with this new frontier technology.
As the third largest farm equipment manufacturer in the U.S., AGCO is aggressively meeting the needs of their customers by opening a new 19,500-square-foot Global Training Center in Duluth, GA. According to Tim Miller, Director of Global Learning for AGCO, "as much as 30% of the company’s product line is replaced with new production-enhancing technology every three or four years. As growers invest in new technology, they rely heavily upon their dealers for information and assistance. It’s our responsibility to ensure our employees and dealers fully understand these new products and the applications."
With three classrooms that are tricked-out with multimedia screens, projectors, smart boards and the use of wireless mics, dealers can expect a comprehensive learning experience. Following up classroom instruction is hands-on experience conducted in fully equipped shops that can accommodate the largest equipment such as a four-wheel-drive MT955C Challenger tractor or a 50-foot Sunflower disc. Since parts and service represent a lion’s-share of the profits of any implement dealership, dealers can also visit the Massey Ferguson Retail Experience Room to learn how to merchandise parts and accessories.
The Global Learning Center will also offer an additional curriculum centered on what is already taught at the "AGCO Academy". This is a program of course study with progressive levels of learning based on the job responsibilities of each individual at the dealership. This includes product training, technical services training, advanced technology solutions training, parts training, and dealer systems, management and finance training.
A typical class is comprised of 8 to 10 students to a limit of 25 students for a class such as product training. Director Miller states that AGCO is expecting around 1,600 students per year with the first classes just getting underway. The Global Learning Center in Duluth joins other regional training centers in Boise, ID., Hesston, KS., and Jackson, MN. The Duluth facility is expected to serve dealerships on the eastern U.S. coast and Canada.
For more: www.AGCOAcademy.com