Taking Care of Business
Bruce Brouk once drove more than an hour on his day off to reattach a track on a track loader that a customer was renting. It’s just one of many examples that show how the team at Bobcat of St. Louis puts itself in its customer’s shoes, says Tracy Miller, manager of the company’s Valley Park, Missouri, branch.
“Bruce understood that the customer had a full day of work planned and was dead in the water with the track off the machine,” Miller said of the service department’s technician. “So, he loaded his tools and drove more than an hour to the customer’s jobsite. He then put the track back on for the customer and drove home … all on his own time on a Saturday.”
There have been times when a customer blows a hose or needs a cylinder resealed, and pulls into Bobcat’s lot in a panic with a broken machine, she said.
“It’s not unusual for our shop technicians to stop what they’re doing to fix those customers’ machines,” she said. “Dalton Blake, our service manager and also a technician, spent several years as a road tech prior to becoming a service manager. There have been several occasions when he stopped what he was doing to fix machines on the fly when the customer was in a time crunch.”
Teamwork matters and is rewarded
The team goes above and beyond to take care of customers. And in the more than 13 years she has worked at Bobcat of St. Louis, Miller said the greatest lesson she has learned is the importance of teamwork.
“With all the separate departments and staff under one roof, the only way for the company to continually succeed and grow is through teamwork,” she says. “All of our staff members have a common goal – to meet customers’ needs – on time and the first time. Our success depends on the strength of every man and woman on our team.”
The company acknowledges and rewards those strengths as evidenced by Miller’s own promotions. She started her career at Bobcat of St. Louis as an accounts-receivables representative. She then transitioned to equipment invoicing and was later promoted to asset manager. Today she manages the Valley Park branch.
In addition to being promoted within a branch, employees have opportunities to advance throughout the company with its 25 branches.
“Career-advancement opportunities are unlimited within the Gateway Dealer Network,” she said. “Professional development of our employees is a way of life.”
The harmony of mind and body
The company celebrates wins and milestones. And it aims at building a strong healthy team by providing a good work environment. A fitness center at the corporate office in Valley Park helps in that regard.
“Employees enjoy being able to squeeze a little workout into their busy schedules,” she said.
Community means something
Employees also can get a workout in the Adopt-a-Highway program in which Bobcat of St. Louis participates. The company regularly supports the community by donating equipment and employee time to local fairs, park events and other activities. Bobcat of St. Louis also has its own Adopt-a-Family program.
“A lot of times our customers, whom we have built relationships with over the years, will have loved ones facing traumatic events,” Miller said. “They’ll contact us for silent-auction items or gift baskets and we help with those events.”
Bobcat of St. Louis also participates in Backstoppers, an organization that provides financial assistance and support to the spouses and dependent children of police officers, firefighters, and publicly-funded paramedics and emergency medical technicians who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The company has dedicated multiple loaders – with graphics featuring heroes – to bring attention to heroes and to honor them. It donates a portion of the rent of the loaders to Backstoppers.
Legacy began Day 1
Bobcat of St. Louis was established in 1990 by Dan Anich. It started as a single store with 10 employees and has since grown to 25 locations across the Midwest, Southeast, and Western United States. While primarily focused on construction equipment, Bobcat through the years has added tractors, implements, and mowers to better support agricultural, landscaping and homeowner customers.
“Dan’s entrepreneurial spirit is the reason why this dealership was started and it’s what has helped the company grow to what it is today,” Miller said.
The company’s service departments are critical in supporting customers and the brands represented. “We provide the care the equipment deserves,” she said.
In addition to its in-house service departments, Bobcat of St. Louis has more than 20 service trucks, catering to customers who need field services. Dispatch teams also provide direct communication with customers and technicians. Dispatch services are coordinated in real-time and offer solutions to customers’ immediate needs while maintaining communication with technicians.
“As the branch manager I’m most proud when I hear or see fellow employees and teammates genuinely collaborating with each other and really listening to each other to come up with the best solution to help our customers,” she said. “We’re far more powerful as a team. I really do believe the old saying ‘Iron sharpens iron.’ There’s so much we can teach each other. When I witness this within my team, my soul is full. It brings me joy when I witness processes flowing correctly and our team members each doing their part for our customer.”
Keys to Success:
- Getting to know our customers and identifying and understanding their needs and expectations Really listening to our customers and advocating for them when needed to make sure their issues are heard.
- Not ignoring problems or issues. Thoroughly research all sides of issues; then identify and resolve the issues with a sense of urgency, even if it’s uncomfortable.
- Take initiative, see what needs to be done, and do it.
- Work together and use all resources available.
Bobcat of St. Louis
Locations: Gateway Dealer Network LLC has grown to 25 locations in 10 states across the United States. Three of the locations are located in Missouri – Valley Park, O’Fallon, and Columbia, Missouri
Owners: Gateway Dealer Network LLC is owned by Brightstar Capital Partners, an investment firm
Employees: More than 100 employees at the three Missouri locations. The Gateway Dealer Network headquarters at Valley Park, Missouri, has 65 employees. The Gateway Dealer Network has 420 employees at 25 branches
Major lines: Bobcat and Doosan
Customer Base: construction, forestry, landscapers, farmers, and homeowners. Bobcat has added tractors, implements, and mowers to the line to better support agricultural, landscaping clients and homeowners.
Article Written By Lynn Grooms
Lynn Grooms is an agricultural journalist living in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.