Caterpillar Dealer Leaves Business as Usual Behind

Thu June 06, 2019 - Northeast Edition #12
Aaron Witt – CEG CORRESPONDENT


Carter isn’t only training its own people, but they’re also offering the training online to customers as well.
Carter isn’t only training its own people, but they’re also offering the training online to customers as well.
Carter isn’t only training its own people, but they’re also offering the training online to customers as well. Carter Machinery is proud to employ more than 670 technicians spread out across Virginia and West Virginia, at more than 17 locations and hundreds of customer sites. Carter also is forward-thinking when spreading the word about technician careers. Over the coming months, the company is planning to launch social media campaigns to promote careers at Carter. By enabling its technicians and giving them the latest technology, safest practices and best training, Carter is able to continue to grow despite the tight labor market. As Carter Machinery has done for decades, it’s responding aggressively to a tight labor market with an entirely new company-wide vision accompanied by world-class training programs. Technicians are the face and the foundation of Carter Machinery. Carter leadership understands that if its technicians aren’t enabled to achieve their highest level of success, they won’t be able to empower the customer to do so either.

Carter Machinery is the deep-rooted Cat dealer of Virginia and West Virginia. Carter was founded in 1952, continuing the legacy of Caterpillar machines that have served Virginia since 1928. While Carter is extremely proud of its more than 90-year history of going above and beyond for customers, its not resting on its laurels either.

Technician recruitment is a hot topic these days in the Cat dealer world and beyond. Accelerating retirements of career technicians, combined with a smaller pool of candidates, has many in the service industry scratching their heads. So how is Carter, one of the strongest equipment dealers in the world, responding to the situation? As Carter Machinery has done for decades, it's responding aggressively with an entirely new company-wide vision accompanied by world-class training programs.

The new company-wide vision, known as "The Carter Way," is driven from the top down by Carter leadership like Executive Vice President Craig Kahoun.

"We have a lot to be proud of, but just because we've been very successful for 90 years, doesn't mean we've been as efficient and innovative as possible," Kahoun said.

Carter Machinery has humbly stepped back and reevaluated the entire company in the face of the shifting business environment. It all starts with its brand promise ― "Enable every customer to achieve their highest level of success."

Why Now?

"Any company, in order to maintain its success and, more importantly, its relevance with its customer base, must adapt," said Kahoun. "We are witnessing a new front where evolving technology, changes in how our customers communicate, connect, and how they value our brand are bringing incredible implications for our businesses. There is transformation within customer loyalty being driven more and more by the overall experience, not just the traditional brand, products or services we have represented. We as a business need to commit to get ahead of it and not just continually react to it."

Carter is starting with its technicians. The company is proud to employ more than 670 technicians spread out across Virginia and West Virginia, at more than 17 locations and hundreds of customer sites. Technicians are the face and the foundation of Carter Machinery. Carter leadership understands that if its technicians aren't enabled to achieve their highest level of success, they won't be able to empower the customer to do so, either.

Kahoun said, "If we're asking our people to continuously create value, improve, innovate, and act with urgency, are we giving them all the training they need to do so?"

First and foremost, it's all about their team member experience. By enabling its technicians and giving them the latest technology, safest practices and best training, Carter is able to continue to grow despite the tight labor market. At Carter, technicians aren't showing up for just a job and a paycheck ― they know their work has purpose in the value they create for the customer.

"Carter has always been focused on the customer," said Mike Jamison, a Carter technician of 13 years. "We know that when they're down they're not making money, they need fast, quality service and they know that we use the latest technology and have the experience necessary to get them back up and running with as little downtime as possible."

Attending Carter University

What does world-class training actually look like at Carter? Enter Carter University, an entire training program ― conducted both in person and online ― dedicated to training technicians and customers. Carter's apprenticeship is fully accredited and offers the ability to alternate between learning in a classroom setting and working on actual customer machines in shops across the territory.

"You're going to walk away with zero debt and a job at one of the leading Caterpillar dealers on the planet," Kahoun said. "With an enormous earning potential combined with a genuine sense of purpose, a career as a technician has never looked so good."

Carter isn't only training its own people, but they're also offering the training online to customers, as well. Due to the Carter University online portal, customers can log in and access hundreds of courses focused on technician and operator training, as well as safety classes. This is yet another way the company adheres to "The Carter Way."

Carter also is forward-thinking when spreading the word about technician careers. Over the coming months, the company is planning to launch social media campaigns to promote careers at Carter. By appealing to the next generation and showing them what careers in this industry look like from an authentic viewpoint, Carter hopes to attract more hard-working young people to join its ranks.

Hiring Veterans

Carter Machinery has recently been certified by the Virginia governor's office and the Virginia Department of Veterans Services Commissioner as a

Virginia Values Veterans (V3) employer. V3 is a public-private partnership with a proven track record in encouraging companies to hire and retain skilled veterans in the civilian workforce. Carter is fortunate to have more than 100 veterans employed and is committed to recruiting these skilled veterans and their spouses as it continues to be one of the leading Caterpillar dealers in the United States.

In addition, Carter's fully accredited apprenticeship program has been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs and is now certified to provide training and education to eligible veterans who are hired into its program. Carter Machinery recognizes the critical role veterans bring in building a successful workforce and acknowledge the unique skills and training they received while serving our country as enormous assets in increasing productivity and efficiency company-wide.

A Championship Team

"Think of us as an athletic team," Kahoun said. "We have the athletes, facilities and capabilities. Playing to win as we always have. Winning around here means delivering what the customer wants, when they want it."

Carter is enabling both its team members and customers to reach their highest level of success through "The Carter Way." By adapting its business to the changing times and recognizing the need to put people first, Carter is paving the way for technician recruitment and equipment dealers as a whole. CEG