Quick. Anyone remember Phil Bankston? Frank A. Anglin III does and Bankston has been on his mind a lot since Anglin was named vice president of Case IH's North American Agricultural Business in January.

“Phil Bankston had the challenge to replace Vince Lombardi, a four-time Super Bowl winner,” says Anglin. “Well, I also have a challenge in replacing a legend, Jim Irwin, who is retiring as vice president after a long career with Case IH.”

Anglin, who was manager of Case IH's operations in Australia and New Zealand before being named vice president for North American operations, told dealers and salesmen attending Case IH's “Big Red Round Up” sales training event in Phoenix he appreciates Erwin's legacy of a strong sales and marketing team at Case IH.

“That's how we're going to be able to survive the transition,” said Anglin. “One of the things Jim did that was very successful — and I share his vision — is that any time a difficult decision needed to be reached, he pulled from three key constituents: the dealer, the customer and, finally, from Case IH.

“If we use this as a framework to help make decisions, then, we should, more often than not, be able to make the right decisions.”

Anglin appears to be stepping into Erwin's shoes at a good time — Case IH has enjoyed 20 consecutive quarters of positive earnings. But he also knows the industry is becoming more competitive.

“I've talked to you about why I am excited about the industry; I would also like to share with you why I am excited about the brand,” he said. “The brand has great history, it's very strong. Our advantage seems to come from three things: Powerful equipment, strong dealer network and the people behind the brand.”

At a briefing for agricultural editors, Anglin said he believes he has inherited one of the “most experienced and dedicated teams in the industry. These folks know their business, and they love the Case IH brand.”

On the Case IH dealer network, Anglin said: “Many of our dealers go back several generations, while at the same time, they are ready to move into the future. That is what this training, the Big Red Roundup, is about.”

He noted Case IH has replaced and renewed about 90 percent of its product line-up over the past several years as part of its efforts to be more responsive to dealer and customer wishes.

“We are demonstrating our commitment to our existing customers and tapping into new segments with products we have not had before — smaller tractors, bigger tractors, more specialized tractors, new planters, new harvesters for grains and cotton, new hay tools, new application equipment, and the list goes on,” he said.

“All of these factors drive my optimism and excitement about the Case IH brand.”

He said having the right tools for the right job is only part of the equation, he said. “The power of the brand is only fully realized when our dealers match customer needs to the optimal tools and solutions.

“The ag industry has become increasingly sophisticated, and we are positioning our products and our people to be leaders.”

That includes reducing the number of configurations of Case IH models that its factories and dealers have to keep track of.

“In our January price book, we reduced the number of offerings by about 20 percent, focusing on key models,” Anglin said. “With those key models, we can make sure we have adequate supplies of the products our customers really want.”

Reducing configurations, he said, lowers the amount of working capital needed by the company and it dealers, it simplifies ordering and it facilitates inventory transfers between dealers.

He used Case IH's MX Magnum line of high horsepower tractors as an example of the changes the company is making.

Case IH has reduced the options for the MX Magnum line by 25 percent; switched all tractors in the lineup to a “global tire option;” eliminated the “standard” cab, reducing the cabs available from three to two; and increased the size of the standard fuel tank from 130 gallons to 160 gallons.

Anglin said the Big Red Roundup, which was held for the second year, targets dealer salesmen and women, although many dealer principals also attend the sessions. The program combines classroom time and operation time in the field.

“They are learning about the features and benefits of the products and how to identify the value of those features and benefits to customer applications and needs,” he said. “It is not about peddling metal — that gets you one sale. It is about identifying and responding to the needs of customers to make them more successful. That is why customers will return to the dealership and the Case IH brand.”

Besides training salesmen on its own models, Case IH also has begun providing models of competing tractors to enable salesmen to operate and compare the features on the competition with models they're selling.

One session at Case IH's proving grounds just outside Phoenix featured a walk-around with a Case IH specialist giving salesmen a point-by-point analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of another color tractor.

Besides providing a look at dealer training, Case IH also introduced its new 400 Series Skid Steers compact line of track loaders for farm and ranch uses during the Phoenix Roundup.

Available in five radial- and three vertical-lift models that range from 49 to 82 net horsepower, the 400 Series skid steers feature maximum rated operating loads from 1,500 to 3,000 pounds.

“Select Case IH dealerships will offer their customers construction-grade performance from their sister brand,” says Rusty Schaefer, marketing manager, Case Construction Equipment. “These 400 Series models maintain the Case engine heritage, with improved reliability and increased performance features.”

In addition to Tier II certification, the large-displacement, high-torque, long-life engines in the 400 Series skid steers provide quiet, smooth power for productive operation, according to Schaefer.

The entry-level Case 410, as well as the 430 and 445 models, use naturally aspirated 4-cylinder diesel engines, while the 420, 440, 450 and 465 offer turbo-charged, 4-cylinder diesel engines. The 435 uses a 3-cylinder, turbocharged engine.

The Case 430, 440, 450 and 465 models offer a 95-amp alternator for reliable starts. Radial-piston motors provide greater traction, improved reliability and efficiency. Schaefer says a new cooling system that provides balanced cooling to both the engine and hydraulics, coupled with improvements made to the auxiliary hydraulics, have increased the reliability of all models.

He says the new skid steers are also aimed at improving operator comfort and enhancing productivity. “The new machines are equipped with low-effort, servo-hydrostatics controls that reduce fatigue during operation,” Schaefer notes. “Visibility to the bucket is improved with the repositioning of instrumentation to the right upright post.”

Models 430 and above feature a factory-ready cab with optional air conditioning and ergonomically positioned, trigger-style switch that activates the two-speed operation. That allows the machines to accelerate to nearly 12 miles per hour so operators can tackle larger tasks more quickly.

More than 75 attachments are available for 400 Series skid steers, including augers, brooms, backhoes, stump grinders, landscape rakes, rockwheels, tree shears, scarifiers, snowblowers, bale spikes, forks, buckets and more, says Schaefer.


e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com