TYM is the recipient of the 2018 Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey’s “Most Improved” award, and for good reason.
The tractor manufacturer saw the biggest year-over-year gain in its total score, with an increase of 6.33 points, or 12.5%, from 2017. TYM also had the highest year-over-year increase of all other manufacturers in 4 of the 12 categories: manufacturer response to customer needs/concerns, parts quality, warranty payments and warranty procedures.
Its biggest gains came from warranty payments, increasing 27.7% from 2017, and manufacturer response to dealer needs/concerns, which jumped nearly 24.8%.
The categories where it ranked highest in the 2018 survey were parts quality, scoring 5.56; product quality, scoring 5.50; and product availability, with a score of 5.44. TYM’s lowest-performing areas were marketing and advertising support, in which it scored 4.13; warranty procedures, scoring 4.19; and manufacturer response to dealer needs/concerns, where it scored a 4.28.
TYM ranked No. 5 among the 9 tractor manufacturers surveyed, with an average score of 4.76 for all 12 categories compared with a 5.41 average for all tractor manufacturers. This is an improvement from a mean score of 4.23 in 2017. The average for all tractor manufacturers was 4.98 that year, and TYM ranked No. 8 out of the 10 included in that category. The company also improved in its “overall satisfaction” rating between 2017 and 2018. Last year, it scored 4.91 compared to 5.22 for all tractor manufacturers, but this year it tied the category at 5.06.
Mark Eubanks, who has formerly owned import and distribution companies, took over as president of sales at the end of 2015 and he comments on the changes, “When I first started talking to TYM about taking over the leadership role in sales, they indicated that some of the problems they’ve had were because of communication issues with their dealer network. That was probably my No. 1 priority, trying to improve that communication with all of our dealer networks. We found out quickly that dealers want an answer to their problem as fast as possible, even if that answer is ‘No,’ and that approach appears to be working,”
Eubanks says some of those changes were simple, such as adding phone lines to handle call volumes and hiring more qualified support staff as well as seeking out higher-quality dealers.
TYM has also worked to improve parts support. “Being the new kid on the block and not really having any tremendous amount of sales out in the marketplace, we really didn’t know just exactly what to stock for parts. So, we’ve done some surveys and looked into it very seriously and increased our parts inventory and our service support personnel,” he says. South-Korean-based TYM was founded in 1951 and first introduced its line to the U.S. in 2004.
Offering Value-Priced Option
Eubanks says TYM will be introducing new and enhanced models within the next year, still within their existing 19-105 horsepower range. However, they will be looking at ways to offer value-priced model options. “We hear a lot of conversations about consumers looking for more of a value or price-conscious product. We’re definitely looking into those avenues and trying to figure out how to get that into our product line,” Eubanks says.
For instance, some standard options such as rear remotes could become options. At the same time, TYM is looking at ways to make existing optional items, such as 3rd function valves, less expensive to add to tractors. Many of these decisions are made based on feedback from TYM’s dealer network.
TYM has about 175 active dealers in North America and Eubanks says they hope to expand to 200 dealers by the end of the year. He says the number of dealers and their sales volume has doubled in the last 3 years. They’ve also concentrated on “target marketing” when it comes to dealers.
“The Eastern part of the United States is, of course, the largest volume for dealers in the compact utility tractor line, so we did some concentration in those areas. We’ve also expanded some of our western territories, basically in the Texas area,” Eubanks says. TYM in particular is seeking out dealers with full service capabilities and would like to be their only tractor line.
“We definitely want to make sure that all of our dealers can support the consumer once they’ve sold the product and we’re trying to stay away from some of the multi-line dealers. We’re trying to make sure that our dealers are profitable so that they don’t need to have three or four different lines of tractors. Our ultimate goal is to be the No. 1 tractor line for each of our dealers,” Eubanks says.
Achieving Top Status
Eubanks admits that they’ve been embarrassed about some of the company’s previous survey rankings and were pleased to see their ratings were up in all 12 of the categories. (See the table on page 11.)
“I’d like to sit and tell you that we weren’t surprised, that we expected it, but we didn’t. It was not something that we really expected to see. That we increased in every single one of the different categories makes me feel very good,” he says.
Eubanks says they plan to continue improving communication with their dealers and giving them personalized service. What’s their ultimate goal for the survey? “We want to be No. 1,” he says.