Thompson Machinery invests $4 to $5 million in each new branch store that it builds.
Thompson Machinery, the exclusive Caterpillar dealer for middle and west Tennessee and north Mississippi, sells and services a variety of equipment ranging from dozers to backhoes, to electric power generation and on-highway trucks, and even power systems for river barges traveling down the Mississippi River.
Over the past few years, the local economy has been good to Thompson and its customers, and Thompson is reinvesting back into the communities it serves.
"Within the last 36 months, we've opened new Cat rental store locations in Nashville, Memphis, Clarksville, and Jackson, Tenn., as well as Columbus and Greenwood, Miss.," said Mike Rattan, rental general manager at Thompson Machinery. "Plans are in the works to open new stores in Thompson's Station and Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Oxford, Miss., within the next 12 months."
In 2010, Thompson employed 433 people throughout Tennessee and Mississippi. Today, Thompson employs almost 650, an increase of 50 percent.
And even so, "The net employment growth does not take into consideration a large number of retirees replaced during the past 10 years," explained Rob McCleary, customer experience champion at Thompson. "The amazing part of the story is our ability to remain No. 1 in customer satisfaction and No. 1 in employee engagement, while concurrently experiencing a large increase in market demand.
"Onboarding and product training are critical, but we also focus heavily on customer-first training for all employees, which is designed to ensure we consistently listen to our customers, show genuine concern for their needs, and provide the best solution."
Thompson has been the No. 1 Caterpillar dealer in customer satisfaction and employee engagement for several years running. "We're extremely proud to serve our customers and support the building of new roads, schools, banks, hospitals, and more using Cat equipment," emphasized Trace Hall, general sales manager. "We operate in a high-cost capital environment with brick and mortar needs, tooling, service trucks, and inventory. The time to reinvest in our local communities is now."
Thompson invests $4 to $5 million in each new branch store that it builds, not including land, equipment, or parts inventory, which can add another $13 to $15 million investment per location.
Thompson determines branch store placement based on forecasted housing and commercial growth, ease of logistics, and infrastructure investment from local communities.
As the company celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, it continues to position itself to evolve with the ever-changing economic cycles. "We've aggressively grown market share over the last few years," noted Daniel Clark, director of strategy at Thompson. "We are positioning local investment growth to withstand the next economic downturn with expanded products and services offered by Caterpillar, especially in the areas of jobsite technology."
Technology is rapidly changing the face of many industries, and Thompson Machinery is meeting the evolving market demands with its Sitech Tri-Rivers technology division, which offers machine control solutions, site surveying solutions, drone services and support and connected job sites.
The industry's biggest challenge continues to be attracting and keeping skilled labor. "Our customers are constantly looking for machine operators," said Keith Peevy, vice president of product support at Thompson. "At Thompson, our challenge is working swiftly to develop technicians, especially as the baby boomers exit the workforce."
Thompson currently has many technician positions available throughout its territory. Qualified candidates may apply at www.TMCat.com.