NC Dealer Represents Customers at National Level

Wed August 03, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Jeff Cronin

When he’s not tending to his customers’ needs, Tim Cockerham focuses some of his time on the needs of his fellow dealers.

The general manager of Charlotte Tractor Company holds positions on the dealer advisory boards of New Holland and Kubota. Cockerham’s board of New Holland focuses only on agricultural and landscape equipment.

The boards bring together upper-level management with the dealers who work with end users on a daily basis. The issues include programming, pricing, parts, service and customer support.

During these meetings, Cockerham said they have the full attention of the major decision makers at the companies in what he calls “a concentrated, high-dosage of dealer-management communications.”

Cockerham has been on the Kubota board since March 2004 and the New Holland board off and on since 1999. He is continuing the tradition of his father, who served in the 1970s.

He said the boards have become more forward-thinking since his father’s time. “We’re talking more about the future” than the issues from the past.

While the position requires more work on his end, Cockerham said the payoffs are the benefits gained by his customers.

If he has a specific request from one of his customers, “getting involved with this process maybe helps us get a quicker response.”

One of the major successes Cockerham has experienced during his service came with Kubota. The board members recommended to management that the company enter the utility vehicle market. In the fall of 2003, Kubota did just that and, he said, has found its place.

“It was a homerun for the dealer, the customer and Kubota,” Cockerham said.

At the beginning of the year, Kubota holds four regional advisory board meetings in Columbus, OH; Dallas; Atlanta; and Lodi, CA. The dealers are joined by regional executives from the different disciplines in the company. These meetings result in a list of 10 issues, ranked from most to least important, that they would like to see discussed at the national advisory board meeting, said Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing.

Two representatives from each region meet in July in Torrence, CA, where they first narrow the field to a final list of 10 issues, which they present to the president and CEO.

Kubota’s advisory board dates to the mid-1970s.

“One of the keys to Kubota’s success is the consistent listening process,” Embury said.

This year, he expects the advisory board will present issues dealing with the continual move to Internet-based communications and accounting systems, as well as the supply of wheel loaders and mini-excavators.

The successes on the New Holland agricultural equipment board have been on some important behind-the-scenes matters not obvious to the end users. The board recommended funding be refocused from one project to another and have tackled some important issues related to parts.

“Do we get everything? No. Do we ask for the moon? Absolutely,” Cockerham said.

The New Holland agricultural board consists of 12 to 14 people and represents dealers in the United States and Canada.

Cockerham, who served as president of the Kubota board in 2001, said he will continue his service as “the voice for the dealers” on the board, “as long as I get elected.”

Charlotte Tractor Company sells the full line of both Kubota and New Holland equipment. They are run under the BOBCO Inc. umbrella with Winston Tractor, Lake Norman Tractor and Greensboro Tractor.

The company also provides parts, service and support.

For more information, visit CEG