The digital transformation in the agricultural machinery trade: recognising and exploiting opportunities

The current situation – the trade is still holding back.

The agricultural machinery trade is an industry that is traditionally strongly characterised by down-to-earthness and personal relationships. However, despite the high degree of product mechanisation, the trade has so far been rather hesitant to move towards digitalisation. Yet these new technologies in particular offer numerous opportunities to optimise day-to-day business and operational processes, thereby gaining a competitive advantage.

Starting points in after sales

One of the most obvious ways to support day-to-day business is to utilise digital media and tools in the after sales area. For example, it makes sense to replace manual workshop planning with the classic appointment book with a digital, interactive solution.

The workshop manager in charge can thus obtain a comprehensive overview of the workload on individual days. Simple intervention and readjustment is possible and work progress can be continuously monitored. As a result, the utilisation of valuable workshop resources is optimised and productivity is increased. A professional solution offers the following functionalities, among others:

In this context, service apps are also becoming increasingly important for workshop teams. With their help, the normal day-to-day service work in the workshop is networked with the merchandise management system and, ideally, the dealer’s digital appointment scheduler already presented. The following activities, among others, can be carried out with such an app:

In addition, the individual mechanic can be provided with helpful information on the machine history and other supporting tools, such as checklists. The main advantages are the reduction in time spent on administrative work in the workshop business, as well as the accuracy of recording and documentation. As a result, the productivity and efficiency of the entire after-sales area can be increased accordingly. This also has the effect of increasing customer satisfaction, as processes become simpler for the customer, for example.

Starting points in sales

As the sale of agricultural machinery is largely carried out by the field sales force at the customer’s premises, the success or failure of sales activities is particularly dependent on the efficiency of field sales activities. When planning visits, however, intelligent planning software has so far been used far too rarely – instead, planning is based on the personal judgement of the salesperson, often randomly. Not least because of this situation, it can be proven that in many places market and customer potential is not fully utilised.

Against this background, there is real potential in professional, tool-supported visit planning. Professional tools support the sales force in their daily sales work, particularly in the following areas:

Supporting applications for smartphones make it easier for sales staff to enter relevant data and increase acceptance within the team.In turn, the management or sales management receives a “live” picture of the sales team’s current activities at all times. The information recorded in the tool, such as the number of visits in a certain period of time or the status quo of lead processing, is also transparent and can be used as an essential part of a sales meeting.

In addition, other innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) or voice bots should not be completely ignored. Especially when answering phone calls in the dealership – still the leading communication channel – this can positively optimise work processes and significantly increase service quality.


Overall, the digitalisation of the agricultural machinery trade offers numerous opportunities that need to be recognised and exploited.Those who make consistent use of the available opportunities can not only optimise their operational processes, but also increase customer satisfaction and gain long-term competitive advantages.
Despite all the advantages, however, it should not be forgotten that when introducing new systems and tools, the relevant employees – to put it simply – need to be brought on board. For example, the purchase of a service app alone will not lead to the desired success if the team is not appropriately trained and educated during the introduction. Appropriate technical framework conditions in terms of hardware and software must also be taken into account. In addition, new technologies should ideally be tested as part of a pilot project at smaller branch locations before launching a major “all-round strike”.

In general, however, it is time to take the next step into the digital future at retail level and to utilise the full potential of new technologies – especially in light of the high level of mechanisation within the sector.

This article was published in Agrartechnik issue 05/2024

The essentials in a nutshell: Tips from the experts

  1. In principle, you should be open to a certain amount of technology and not proceed according to the motto “We’ve always done it this way!” – because the advantages of digital solutions are obvious and the potential needs to be utilised in a targeted manner.
  2. As with any well-planned start to a project, it is advisable to first be clear about the specific goal to be achieved with digitalisation. It is not only important to determine that a specific process or area is to be digitalised, but also to identify the corporate objective that digitalisation should contribute to.
  3. Regardless of which new systems and tools are to be introduced, the relevant employees who are to work with these solutions in the future must be trained accordingly. If this is not done, savings are made in the wrong place and failure is inevitable.