Scag earned the Dealer’s Choice award in the OPE category in the 2017 Equipment Dealers Assn.’s annual Dealer-Manufacturer Relations survey, having previously held the distinction in 2014.
John Crowson, Scag president, attributes the success to a number of factors, including company focus, durable products and dedication to the independent dealer.
“Our approach has always been that we can’t be everything to everybody. What that means is that we focus on a finite segment of the business. And we better be good at doing that or we’re not going to survive. I think by narrowing the focus and concentrating on things that we can really be good at gives us a lot of strength.
“We’ve had an approach that we coined many years ago at Scag: We have one brand, one color and one way we go to market, meaning that if you’re a dealer and selling Scag, you’re not going to be faced with competing with that same product that’s branded with something differently and painted a different color. It’s down the road at a different dealer. So that’s the one brand, one color, and the one way to market is independent dealers. And that’s really resonated with the dealer base. At first they probably thought, ‘Yeah that’s another manufacturer telling us what we want to hear,’ but we’ve walked that walk for a long time and the dealers have confidence in that,” Crowson says.
He says that philosophy is backed up with high quality products they provide along with high quality service that the dealer provides. “That’s something that we’ve always stressed with the Scag brand as it’s a very rugged and durable product, but no matter how good it is, eventually it needs good service. So, that’s why we’ve always stayed with the independent dealers and can provide that service to the product because somewhere down the road, it’s going to need some work performed on it.”
Scag’s support of the independent dealer includes building a high quality network of distributors. “We’ve got our whole channel of independent distributors and dealers and there can’t be one weak link in any of those. We’ve worked very diligently over the years to make sure anyone who’s going to represent the Scag brand is going to be top notch,” Crowson says
Scag University, introduced 2 years ago, is part of the company’s efforts to keep dealers and their sales and service teams operating at peak performance. The program is online for the bronze and silver levels and includes in-person training for the gold and pro-gold certifications. Scag employees participate in the training along with some distributors. Crowson himself has attended the training and achieved silver certification.
Scag’s product development includes a continued focus on making machines more efficient, more comfortable and better performing, along with alternatives to gasoline engines. “There are going to be a lot of developments in electric products and hybrid products and that is going to be a big thing in the next 10 years for the industry. Things that cause us all heartburn are the emission standards and E15 gasoline,” Crowson says.
In terms of its dealer network, which now numbers about 1,100 dealers, Crowson says it’s more of the same — working with independent dealers. “Over 30 years ago when I first entered the outdoor power equipment industry, there were predictions that the independent dealer was destined for extinction at the hands of the big box stores. Today, independent dealers not only survive but also thrive because of their ability to service what they sell and the depth of their product knowledge,” he says.