Breaking Down the JCB Dealer Expansion

JCB is beefing up their presence in agriculture markets like the Midwest with more locations.

JP Moncada, brand marketing manager for JCB
JP Moncada, brand marketing manager for JCB

Throughout 2012 JCB has continued to expand their dealer network. As they make representation for their agricultural products a goal, they are turning to independent dealers for help in getting the word out for the brand and providing product and customer support.

Goals for gaining in agriculture

JCB is getting closer to that end goal. One of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in the world, they are working to increase the popularity of their agriculture products by moving into areas that have a strong market for the products.

"Our focus this year has been with agricultural dealers and expanding the agricultural line," explains JP Moncada, brand marketing manager for JCB. "Agricultural products are something that we haven’t really pushed much in the 40 years we have been in North America. The best way to push that product is by getting dealers to do that for us."

JCB currently has 84 dealers in North America (U.S. and Canada). They have increased representation for their agriculture line not by just adding dealers, but by adding locations. They are upgrading dealers to multiple locations, and cutting the ties with dealers that are not proving to be as successful with the line.

"The emphasis has been on focusing on the dealers who will grow with us," says Moncada. "The biggest priority we have had in the last few years has been restructuring our dealer network. We have gotten rid of dealers with small inventories in areas that don’t have a lot of demand for the equipment to focus on the areas of the country that have the large markets."

They have 225 locations with an average of 2-4 branches per dealer. JCB's goal is to have 95 dealers covering close to 90% of the market. Much of their focus has been on expanding in the Midwest. They are setting these dealers up differently from their construction equipment dealers, with an agriculture focus.  

"The way we are developing those dealers is different than how we would a full-line construction dealer," explains Moncada. "They have different facilities and different customers."

Valuing dealer partnerships

JCB wants to grow their agriculture sales, and as a privately owned company, are turning to independent dealers for help. They value the way independent companies like themselves operate, and think that is the key to their success in the agriculture market.

"We are a family business, one of the few and largest privately owned companies in the industry," says Moncada. "So a lot of our customers (dealers) are family owned businesses. We aren’t a faceless company and we like doing business with other family businesses that really provide that personal service as well."

JCB stands for Joseph Cyril Bamford, who started the business out of a shed in October 1945. Considering where they came from, JCB knows you sometimes have to start small. They aren’t looking for just huge dealers, but will take on smaller ones if they see potential in the relationship.

"We look at their history and how we can grow with them," says Moncada. "Yeah, multiple locations are a big plus, but at the end of the day what we look for is if we can grow together and if they practice the same principles we do as a family business."

JCB does not sell direct or through mass merchants. Their headquarters, a factory and three parts facilities are located in North America. They choose to work with independent dealers because of the way they do business and how that translates to a better experience for the end user.

"We are still one of the largest construction equipment manufacturers in the world, but when it comes down to it, we always look to that family business," says Moncada. "The ag customer is very particular. We don’t want the dealer just because they are specialists in the product, but also in the customer."

Working with dealers to succeed

Developing their dealer network is an ongoing process for JCB. After assisting dealers in expansion or addition of the product line, they receive continued support. Helping dealers to better sell and support the line helps to increase JCB agricultural product representation.

"There is still some room for growth within the U.S. and we are working to be sure we have 100% coverage in North America," says Moncada. "But the next step is really upgrading the existing dealers we have, their facilities, support and staff."

Individual attention is paid to each dealer by a special team working just with JCB agriculture products. They assist dealers in events and launching the new brand.

"The attention to detail in our dealer services is far greater because we have that enclosed group of people who we do business with. You are not just a number," says Moncada. "We do all of our marketing and accounting in-house, and all the departments work together."

At JCB, it is not uncommon for all staff members to be familiar with each individual dealer. They know their stories, as well as their needs and goals. The company makes it their own goal to work together to benefit the dealers. While they have close ties with dealers and know them by name, a lot of end users are not as familiar with the JCB brand. JCB is working with their dealers this year to increase brand awareness.

"One of the hardest things we have to battle every day is that people don’t know who we are," says Moncada. "We have the product, service, support and are price competitive, but people still don’t know who we are."

Instead of a large national campaign, JCB is working with dealers to promote the brand at a local level. They are reaching their target demographic locally in consistent ad campaigns with each dealer. Dealers have individual ad campaigns and incentive plans.

"Once we achieve the amount of dealers we need, the next step is dealer development objectives," says Moncada. "We give them incentives for bettering themselves. Each has their own goals to meet by the end of the year. It helps promote the brand name and machines through our dealers."