It’s been a little less than nine months since Rocky Mountain Equipment (RME) announced last July that it was acquiring two John Bob Farm Equipment retailers located in Tisdale and Outlook in a business move that saw the Calgary-based dealer bolster its presence in the province.
In total, Rocky Mountain now has 36 ag branches across the Prairies, including six locations in central Saskatchewan. The company said at the time that the two John Bob locations in Tisdale and Outlook would tie-in to existing RME facilities in Kindersley and Preeceville.
The sale was another part of RME’s five-year plan that included additional acquisitions in Western Canada, as well as expansion into the United States.
Last week, higher-ups from RME went on a tour of their Saskatchewan locations, and visited the Outlook branch on Thursday, March 21.
One of those higher-ups included Jim Wood, RME’s Chief Sales and Operations Officer.
Wood says the tour of their Saskatchewan dealerships was the first real chance to get some one-on-one facetime with staff and customers since the acquisition last summer, and that it was an opportunity to learn more of the ins and outs at a specific location.
“Since the acquisition, I haven’t been here, so we wanted to come and meet with the staff, as well as meet with some key customers in the area and get a temperature on how things are going, find if there’s anything that we might need to address or work on that I may not know about,” said Jim. “You find out a lot more when you meet with the staff and customers rather than through the regional level.”
Outlook’s deep-rooted ties to irrigation – it is the ‘Irrigation Capital of the Province’, after all – was attractive to RME when looking at the possibilities of a business deal.
“The trade area, for sure,” said Wood, on what attracted RME to Outlook. “With the irrigation, along with that core of Saskatchewan agriculture, we knew that Outlook was a great ag area and we wanted to keep expanding across the Prairies.”
RME’s relationship with Outlook may still be in the beginning stages, but Wood says the team has a solid base and he credits the work being done by staff and management as everyone looks to grow the brand in the future.
“We’re quite happy with how things are going so far,” he said. “I think they had a fairly tough year last year with the light harvest and the drought conditions. This place has a great staff, good brand, and good leadership with Dwayne and the managers. Overall, we’re happy, but we just need to help grow it all.”
Some of the advancements in ag technology that RME is applying don’t just come from the actual machinery, they come at the human level. Wood says that specialized personnel are capable of taking care of the performance side of things, and that it’s not always in the hands of service or parts staff to ensure quality.
“We have a whole separate discipline that looks after the technology from a support side for the customers, so we don’t just rely or put it on the service or parts department, as we have what’s called an Ag Optimization and Technology Specialist,” said Jim. “Outlook and Kindersley share one gentleman, but really, we’re kind of on the forefront and their jobs are kind of two-fold; half their job is to optimize every piece of equipment that goes out of here, and so they’re like the performance side of the equipment. From a technology standpoint, they’re there to support the customers, whether it’s auto guidance, printing off yield maps, inputting prescriptions, you name it.”
Wood says that as far as the future goes in Outlook, the consistent goal is to grow the RME business and explore the opportunities that may lay ahead.
“I think we want to grow all facets of the business, whether it’s sales with the equipment or parts and service as well, and there are lots of opportunities,” he said. “I know they feel constrained in the shop and they probably need a larger shop at some point, so we’re always looking at reaching a certain level and then building on.”