Taking Care of Business
They say experience is everything. And that is certainly true in the case of Redhead Equipment.
The company’s humble beginnings originated in 1948 in Saskatchewan, when it was originally known as W.F. Fuller Machinery Limited, then already a long-established construction equipment business and a
distributor of Champion products.
In 1953, Gordon Redhead joined Regina-based W.F. Fuller Machinery Limited as an accountant and office manager. In 1968, he purchased the business and changed the name to Redhead Equipment. A year later, Gordon’s son Gary joined the business, and in 1980, bought his father’s interest and became sole proprietor, president, and CEO.
Since taking over, Gary has continued to grow the company. In 1990, Redhead Equipment acquired Mack Trucks as an equipment line. Previously a John Deere dealer, in 1991 Redhead Equipment resigned that contract and become a Case agriculture and construction dealer. In 2019, the company was recognized by Case Construction as the only Diamond Dealer in North America for seven consecutive years.
Today, Redhead Equipment is comprised of eight locations across Saskatchewan: Estevan, Lloydminster, Melfort, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Swift Current, and Regina.
According to Allen Carey, Redhead Equipment’s Corporate Sales Manager, Ag Division, the eight branches were strategically chosen to better support the company’s customers.
“We are the exclusive dealer of Case Construction, Volvo Construction, and Mack Trucks in Saskatchewan, so in that respect, we service the entire province of Saskatchewan,” says Carey. “Seven of our eight locations are Case IH dealers and serve their respective areas. However, when it comes to our customers, we do what we can to assist them, regardless of where they are located.”
“We are the exclusive dealer of Case Construction, Volvo Construction and Mack Trucks in Saskatchewan, so in that respect, we service the entire province of Saskatchewan.”
– Allen Carey, Corporate Sales Manager, Ag Division
Over 460 people work at Redhead Equipment across the eight locations. That number could rise anytime, as the company continues to seek acquisitions.
“We continually look for strategic acquisitions that make sense for our business model when they present themselves to us,” notes Carey. “In saying this, we are continually looking for organic growth in each of our trade areas by offering best in class service and parts support.”
With fewer yet larger farms, and in these days of high equipment prices, Carey says the farm machinery business is static at this point. “We do not believe the industry is growing in today’s market conditions, which have slowed sales. Any increases seen will be to do with price increases in new equipment.”
Redhead Equipment sells both new and used, at a ratio of 49 percent and 51 percent, respectively. Those figures change seasonally and are about par with most other farm equipment dealerships in Canada.
Redhead Equipment has over 280 parts and service employees, with a combined 300,000 square feet of service shop space. And service is the name of the game. “If a customer can get their equipment to us – or if we need to haul it in for them – we have the equipment and experience to handle their issues,” says Carey. “We also have one of the largest fleets of service trucks in Saskatchewan that are often in the field to ensure our customers are back up and running as soon as possible.”
Carey adds the key to the company’s success in parts and service is its product support team that visit customers on the farm or worksite. “They are on the road, taking care of our customers and their equipment.”
Training is a high priority and large part of Redhead’s success, notes Carey. “In 2019 we spent approximately $2 million on training for our employees, the bulk of which is focused on the technical skills of our service technicians,” he said. “In addition to that, we are a proud supporter of various
apprenticeship programs partnering with our employees and post-secondary training institutions.”
Refining the skills of employees is a continuous process at Redhead Equipment as well. “Last year we worked with 19 of our manufacturers, each of which has their own training initiatives for us which resulted in more than 7,200 hours of technical skills training,” said Carey. “Our training plans utilize a wide variety of learning approaches depending on the audience and the best way to deliver the content including web-based, in-person, virtual/blended formats, and roleplaying workshops.
“We recognize that the incorporation of more GPS, automation, and data integrated components on our machinery will only increase the need for even more focus on training in the years to come,” he added.
CUSTOMERS ARE TOP PRIORITY
From the top-down, Redhead Equipment operates on the belief that it doesn’t exist without its customers.
“We have adopted the tagline ‘Whatever It Takes,’ which is more than just a tagline – it’s our culture. Our staff truly does whatever it takes to keep our customers up and running,” said Carey. “From a friendly smile when you walk into a branch, to delivering parts at all hours of the night during seeding or harvest, our staff will go to seemly impossible lengths to assist our customers.”
Redhead Equipment belongs to Western Equipment Dealers Association and finds true worth in that collaboration. “We find value in our membership with WEDA through their efforts in sharing the latest industry training, lobbying connections with our manufacturers, legal assistance, and through legislative and regulatory info regarding the industry,” says Carey. “In addition, WEDA helps with industry staff training in all areas of our organization from parts and service to providing sales training modules.”
Article Written By Janet Kanters
JANET KANTERS is a national award-winning writer, editor, and photographer who has covered agricultural production, technology, and business topics for over 25 years.