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The precision ag technician
Precision ag technician: Troy McKown, Precision Ag Solutions
Customer service is what makes or breaks this industry, and finding a competent service person who can keep up with the changing technology is a concern growers are vocalizing. A critical piece of the puzzle, Masteller knows the Trimble project can't move forward without it.
“The hardest part has been getting the equipment up and running,” he says. “And when I only use this equipment once a year, like for spraying or harvesting, I can't wait. Customer service is a very important piece of the puzzle. Without it, I just can't do it.”
“Growers want to know that if they buy this technology, it will work,” says Troy McKown, a dealer for Precision Ag Solutions. “And if it doesn't work, they want to know how to get it to work. Will is no different than any other grower. He has general questions like, ‘How do I set up an AB line?’ As a technical support person on the other end of the phone, I have to know the system inside and out. My knowledge of the technology should be able to walk him through every step of the system. As I do that, it makes it more convenient for him so there's no downtime, because time is critical.”
McKown says more than 95% of the time it's a quick answer over the phone. But there are times a technician may have to go on site to make a repair. If that's the case, the farmer needs to know someone will be there in a matter of a few hours. And if something has to go back to the shop to be repaired, farmers want a guarantee that there's a backup plan that isn't going to cause more work in the end.
“The beauty of precision ag equipment is we can take any piece of equipment on any farm and make it work.”
“The technician holds the success of the system on his or her shoulders and is responsible for the proper installation, calibration, and training of the system,” says McKown. “A poorly setup system can immediately cost growers money.”
A technician not only serves as the front-line support and first point of contact for precision ag equipment, but also is there to diffuse stressful situations when equipment doesn't function like it should.
“Without a well-trained technician and the ability for the technician to train users, growers will rarely see the full potential of the systems they choose to utilize on their farm,” says McKown.