The full line of IROCK machines are now available at all Thompson Tractor locations in Alabama and the Florida panhandle.
On June 1, Thompson Tractor officially became an IROCK and Screen Machine Industries dealer of the entire state of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. In order to facilitate this product line expansion, the company hired a materials industry expert, made a substantial initial investment in units for sale or rental and parts, and is actively engaged with both of the manufacturers for product and service training.
Bill Warr, Thompson Tractor regional manager who has been with the company for more than 41 years, was one of the catalysts for obtaining these new lines and felt the timing for this move was right. Warr, who started with the company in product support and sales and has been a region manager for more than 20 years at the Birmingham headquarters, oversees the aggregates and coal product lines for the company
“We've looked at getting into this business for several years and decided that these lines would complement a lot of the industries we already serve, such as construction, aggregate, recycling, coal and others. In doing so, we looked to hire a specialist in this market segment,” said Warr.
Thompson Tractor hired Jim Bailey, who had been with Vulcan Materials for more 46 years, as its new crushing and screening specialist. Bailey will be working throughout the state of Alabama and in the panhandle of Florida with all of the company's sales staff and already has ridden with many of Thompson's representatives and has visited multiple sites from Huntsville all the way down to the Gulf Coast in various crushing and screening applications.
“At Thompson Tractor, we're always looking for additional lines to complement our Caterpillar line. We feel that our marketplace provides good opportunities for retail sales, as well as rental potential for crushing and screening equipment in the various industries we serve. We fully understand a high percentage of these machines initially go into the rental market first and are eventually purchased, so we plan on renting the full line of both manufacturers products,” Warr said.
“We looked at several manufactures of crushing and screening equipment and decided it was important to go with a manufacturer that was U.S.-based and one that could effectively supply our parts and product support needs. Both of these manufacturers we chose to partner with are Ohio-based, U.S. manufacturers who have already forged successful partnerships and are working with other existing Caterpillar dealers in the United States for supplying machines, parts, and service,” Warr said.
When asked about his career and how it will equate to success at Thompson Tractor, Bailey said: “From an experience standpoint, the majority of my working career was with Vulcan Materials Company, the nation's largest aggregate producer. I began as an engineer in Birmingham and eventually transitioned into plant management, then into area management over multiple plants, then into general management with overall responsibilities for the shops, plants, as well as, other responsibilities. I worked for a number of years as a representative of a procurement group when we began to purchase items on a nationwide basis.
“I finished my career at Vulcan after the completion of implementing an oracle system, my specialty being in mobile equipment management, mobile equipment documentation/record keeping. I was retired for six years, during which time I performed consulting work in the aggregate industry. I became aware of the opportunity here and it really fit with what I've done over the span of my career. I felt like my experience could provide a high degree of expertise for Thompson and for their sales staff in the application of crushing and screening products.”
Bailey worked with Vulcan primarily in the Alabama marketplace, and eventually transitioned into multi-state responsibilities in the 27 states that Vulcan has operations. Being entrenched in the Alabama area, Bailey said, “I already know a lot of the players in the Thompson Tractor marketplace. It's a small world, and I'm running across names I've known for many years and am even meeting with sons and grandsons of people I dealt with at Vulcan Materials in the past.”
Bailey will help with coordinating the efforts of sales and product support training for this segment of Thompson Tractor's product line.
“The actual hands on training of mechanics will be done here in house as they already have a highly skilled, robust training group here. A designated lead person has already been assigned to this group of products and that person interfaces directly with the manufacturers to ensure that each Thompson location has trained service and product support personnel for these new lines. Both IROCK and Screen Machine Industries are already heavily engaged in technical training and are available and highly accessible to help us out on any supplemental training,” said Bailey.
According to Warr, each of Thompson Tractor's heavy equipment salesmen throughout its service area will be charged with the responsibility of identifying prospects for these product lines.
“The sales staffers are receiving the additional product training to be able to match our crushing and screening product offerings with the particular applications of the customer. Whether it be construction materials recycling, reclamation, sand and gravel, or aggregate production, each Thompson heavy equipment salesman, with the help of Jim Bailey, will be able to address and provide solutions for their customer's needs. When a salesman finds the opportunity for a customer to have something crushed, rescreened, or segregated, Bailey will go onsite, visit with the customer, and provide his expertise on an overall equipment solution,” Warr said.
When asked about his short and long term plans with Thompson Tractor, Bailey said, “My long-term plan is to be here to support and help our sales staff for placement of these new machines in an effort to make Thompson a solid and viable dealer of crushing and screening equipment. The total goal: To have Thompson up and running as a well-respected quality provider of crushing and screening equipment with a high level of product support.
“My day-to-day plan is to support each and every sale in achieving the long term. I think the market is large. I see a lot of opportunities that have not yet been identified in our market area. I feel confident that we can meet or beat any of the competitors in the field from both a quality product offering and product support standpoint, using the 'Caterpillar way' of achieving success, which includes full support and a complete one stop shop approach for a customer's product, service, and parts needs.
“I think Thompson can become the premier dealer for crushing and screening equipment through leveraging the quality of the total equipment offerings package, the skill of our staff, and the number of locations we operate throughout the state of Alabama and the panhandle of Florida.”
From a parts standpoint, both Warr and Bailey concur that the intent for the new crushing and screening product lines will quickly have the same standard of quality for parts availability and delivery efficiency as the Caterpillar line.
“We will stock all wear parts a customer would need based on where the concentration of the machines are sold,” Bailey said.
“Sales-service-parts-rentals-trade ins is the whole package here. All of the key players in Thompson Tractor want the screening and crushing line to be viewed in the same way as our earth moving equipment line.”
“What we have to bring to this segment of the industry is one of unequaled product support, in the area of parts, service and overall training of our staff,” Warr said. “We have always been committed to this and will always continue to be committed to this. That's what our customer's need and what they expect. We've made a very substantial investment in machine inventory from both Screen Machine Industries and IROCK and are now stocking virtually any of the machines from these manufacturers that a customer might need.”