Time is money, as the old saying goes. And when you offer service that customers cannot find from the bigger dealers, it takes time to do it effectively. LQG Agri Limited appears to be a young company, but its origin started back in 1972.
Initially named Lower Quinton Garages Limited, it was built by two brothers, Geoffrey and David Lockwood, covering Warwickshire and parts of Worcestershire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. About two years ago, they were looking to solve a succession issue.
Malcolm Davies, the current co-director stepped in with a forward-thinking and global perspective. He had been working for JCB for 12 years, with the last three years in Australia, managing the region for JCB, whose equipment is sold in 750 dealers around the world. When he and his family moved back to the UK, he started a partnership with The Lockwood Family. They share the same values of working hard, doing honest business and recognise the value of long-term relationships.
Malcolm is responsible for the general running of the company, including 23 staff members, and functions such as sales and repairs. The dealer focuses strongly on the customer, to the point of giving them their own equipment, when they need it.
We sat down with Malcolm to chat about how to maintain the exceptional level of service, which the company is historically known for.
What would you say makes you stand apart from the competition?
Malcolm: “We’re a very service-focused dealer, so we generally put that ahead of anything else in the business. If a customer has an issue, that problem comes to the forefront. Whether it means sending somebody out to fix it straight away or utilising loan machines. We’ll even send some of our own equipment out to back people up, so we keep customers up and running. That’s where we try and have a difference from a lot of the bigger dealers.”
How do you make sure that your products and your services meet customer needs?
Malcolm: “We’re affiliated with JCB, KUHN Farm Machinery and McCormick Tractors. We affiliate ourselves with fairly good franchises that make quality products, alongside plenty of training. We try to send salespeople, engineers and parts staff to get trained up, so we know that we’re offering the customer exactly what they want.”
What would you say is the hardest part of your job?
Malcolm: “Making sure time is utilised to its greatest potential is an ongoing challenge for us. We make sure that all of our engineers’ time is accounted for and used efficiently. Our goal is to get the most out of time, overall.”
When did you guys implement Ibcos Gold, and what was the initial reason for it?
Malcolm: “The original owners bought the system back in 1984. As the company was growing, they needed a dealer management system (DMS) to run their company. In the last two years, when I came into the business, we wanted more and more out of the system. Enhanced reporting can drive more efficiency gains through the business, so we went to the latest and greatest Ibcos system.
“We wanted to get away from paper-based systems as well, so we went to paperless job cards and worktop schedulers. We’ve got a regular T-card system, so everything is in one place.”
What sort of improvements did you see in the overall performance of the business as a result of these changes?
Malcolm: “The engineers have less downtime in completing job cards since it’s all done electronically. We’re not converting paper-based, written words into electronic systems, so it’s making it more efficient in the office as well. For the M4 warranty work, especially for JCB, we have eliminated double-data entry.
“We can do a lot of the warranty requirements at source. This allows the Engineers to complete their writeups on the parts efficiently. Everything is documented on the job card straight away, so they’re not having to translate and move information back and forth between paper and computer.”
What would you say are the must-haves of a system like Gold?
Malcolm: “It needs to be fairly simple to use, and it needs to retrieve the data effectively in the form of reports. The information that you get out of it is only as good as the information that you put into it; entering data needs to be straightforward as well.“
“To have the ability to run your entire business out of one system is also important. All our wholegoods, workshop information and parts information are in one place. At the end of the day, we’re not running multiple systems to do different aspects of the business.”
Which feature is the highlight of the system?
Malcolm: “Going from job cards to the Android phone-based job card system has saved so much time for us. It moved us away from the old system of diaries and the potential of manual errors.”
How much has Ibcos contributed to the overall success of your dealership?
Malcolm: “It’s brought more efficiencies to the work, so we can free up more time to serve our customers effectively. Instead of getting bogged down in paperwork, we can focus on the aspects of the business that help customers. I am always trying to get as much time out of people in a day as possible.”
In terms of support, what has your experience been like with Ibcos?
Malcolm: “Whenever we spoke to support, they were always helpful, and replied to emails quickly. We scheduled a couple of training days, and the guys came down in a short timeframe.”