Taking Care of Business – Positive outlook backed by team effort
While the COVID-19 pandemic and a downturn in the economy currently present plenty of challenges, Carrie Roider and Gregg Erb say there’s a bright future for Erb Equipment.
“We’re looking forward to a positive upswing in 2021,” Roider said. “While there are concerns, contractors have a lot of work ahead of them. They have a backlog of work due to the pandemic and bad weather, and will be trying to work through that.”
Roider and her brother, Gregg Erb, own and operate Erb Equipment, which was established by their grandfather, Alvin Erb, in 1943. A year later Erb Equipment became an exclusive John Deere dealership.
Today the family-owned dealership sells and services John Deere construction equipment. It also sells John Deere outdoor power equipment to consumers at its Fenton, Missouri, store.
“Our customer base is wide and diverse,” Gregg Erb said.
The dealership also represents products that support the John Deere product line. That includes Trail King trailers, NPK hydraulic hammers, Genesis shears, Fuchs material handlers, and Bomag equipment, he said.
Tech-savvy customers and their needs
The dealership’s customers are increasingly tech-savvy and are looking for streamlined solutions.
“They’re under pressure to get the job done on time and within budget,” he said. “At the same time, finding qualified personnel is more difficult. Customers are looking for solutions to eliminate their risks and increase productivity. It’s no longer just about the machinery; it’s about the partnership with the dealer and whether they can count on your team.”
To meet customers’ needs, Erb Equipment has invested heavily in equipment technology, Roider said. “We support grade-control equipment – both integrated into the machine and aftermarket products,” she said. “We provide technical assistance to customers in the field.”
The company also has a dedicated command center to monitor on-board telematics for JDLink-capable machines and to identify potential mechanical issues to maximize uptime.
“We work closely with John Deere to identify equipment trends,” she said. “That enables customers to address issues when it’s convenient for them to do so.”
Erb Equipment also offers 24/7 repair support with qualified technicians, preventative-maintenance agreements, machinery-assurance plans, rebuild options, and block labor.
The dealership also has been expanding its rental fleet to support customers.
“We’re also one of the Midwest’s largest used-equipment dealers,” she said. “We have more than 400 pieces of reconditioned equipment.”
Roider and Erb lost their father, Bob Erb, earlier this year. He was chairman of the board and taught them a great deal.
Roider said, “One of the things he taught us is that no one accomplishes anything alone. Everyone has someone who helps or mentors them. You can learn something from everyone you meet. People have the capacity to continue to learn all their lives if they’re interested. People want to belong and contribute to the team’s success.”
While Erb Equipment has expanded through the years to eight locations, Bob Erb said that bigger isn’t always better, Gregg Erb said.
“Expansion requires more than just money,” he said. “It involves operating resources, management, and boots on the ground. If your organization isn’t structured or ready, it will tax the entire network.”
One of the reasons why Erb Equipment expanded was to mitigate the uptime risk of customers, he said.
“By having access to parts and service in densely populated areas we can keep our customers working,” he said.
Pride is a factor in success
Asked what they’re most proud of at Erb Equipment, Roider and Erb pointed to their employee partners.
“Our success depends upon the daily actions of 215 people in eight locations working together to deliver a consistently great customer experience,” Roider said. “We have a terrific management group and a great bunch of caring people who make up the Erb team. They live our core values of passion, integrity, commitment, team playing, and having servant hearts.”
Roider and Erb have a positive outlook for the future.
“Our long-term goal is to make Erb Equipment the place for equipment support with employee-partners who work as one to exceed customer expectations,” she said.
Erb added, “We want our employees to be fulfilled by the work they do and to know they’re important to the success of the company as well as to the communities in which we live. We want people on the outside to look at our people and wish they worked at Erb.”
- Erb Equipment
- Established: 1944
- Locations: 8 locations – 4 in Missouri, 1 in Illinois, 2 in Kentucky and 1 in Indiana
- Employees: 215
- Major lines: John Deere
- Customer base: Construction, governmental agencies, quarries, material handling, scrap and recycling, river
- Website: https://erbequipment.com
Keys to Success:
- Our people. We’re fortunate to employ a great group of people who on average have been with us more than 10 years.
- Consistent consistency. Customers know what they can expect from us and we’re ready to provide solutions to meet their needs.
- Commitment to training. We invest heavily in training our technicians – from entry-level to journeymen – and our other staff members to ensure their success.
Article written by Lynn Grooms
LYNN GROOMS is an agricultural journalist living in Mt. Horeb, WI