Three Prairie companies have partnered to present a one-stop shop to buy, finance and ship agricultural equipment, requiring just a few clicks of a computer mouse.
Winnipeg-based AgDealer.com, which is the largest listing site of used agricultural equipment in the country, has teamed up with Winnipeg’s CWB National Leasing and a new Alberta logistics/tech company called Trusted Dispatch to launch the tool on AgDealer.com’s website.
Each listing on the site now includes a CWB National Leasing button and a Trusted Dispatch button that will immediately calculate an estimated monthly or seasonal payment and apply for financing online and Trusted Dispatch — the Uber for heavy equipment shipping — will immediately calculate the shipping cost and book transport directly online.
"We’re really excited to be able to work with great local companies... to be able to offer to people who use our listings more savings and more tools," said Nathan Mitchell, vice-president of listings for Glacier FarmMedia, the company that owns AgDealer.com.
He said they don’t have any particular expectations when it comes to driving additional traffic, but there is general sense that this will make for a better customer experience all around.
From CWB National Leasing’s point of view, it is another way to get right in front of customers with its offerings. The Winnipeg operation, which was acquired by Canadian Western Bank in 2010, is already the largest equipment leasing company in the country. It has had an automated leasing application and calculator tool available for some time. Connecting it to a customer aggregation site like AgDealer.com gets its offerings that much closer to the customer.
"For us, we want to make sure we provide whatever our customers need, wherever they are and whenever they need it," said Dina Beaucage, CWB National Leasing’s marketing manager. "This is one of the ways we are making the customer experience the best it can be. This tool allows them to change from a browsing customer into a buying customer without leaving the website."
AgDealer.com also publishes the print publication AgDealer and develops pricing that allows dealerships to run ads and post listings of used equipment on the site. CWB National Leasing and Trusted Dispatch will pay a fee to AgDealer for the opportunity to get access to potential ag equipment buyers.
The agricultural market already represents about 20 per cent of National Leasing’s billion dollar-plus business. Kristy Wasylyk, the company’s regional general manager for the Prairies said, "They will see how easy it is to deal with us and we are hoping they will want to continue dealing with us."
CWB National Leasing’s automated approval and calculator tools are already available to many equipment dealerships so it was not a major challenge to format it for the AgDealer.com site.
The addition of Trusted Dispatch, a five year old company from Grande Prairie, Alta., completes the offering. Dusty LaValley, the founder and CEO (and former rodeo champion) refers to it as the Uber of heavy equipment logistics.
"We are the underdog of the group," he said. "We take a lot of pride having our brand tagging along with those exceptional brands. We see this as the beginning of the breakthrough for our company."
It already has 600 drivers on its platform and has completed thousands of loads, but LaValley said it has been grinding it out acquiring customers. This is a great chance to get in front of a lot of potential customers.
Trusted Dispatch works at helping drivers address the challenge of back haul with empty loads. Its platform pre-screens the drivers, shippers pre-pay for the loads and the drivers get a direct deposit for the fee after the load has been delivered.
Before these options did not exist digitally on the AgDealer.com site. Financing and shipping arrangements were things customers had to do on their own. Now they can do it right there at the click of a button.
"This is something that seemed like a natural fit for us and we wanted to work with good local partners to get that done," Mitchell said.
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.