What are the HR solutions to manage the increasing delivery times of agricultural equipment and their impact on the teams?

The shortage of raw materials leads to delays in delivery but also to higher prices throughout the agricultural machinery value chain. Today, agricultural equipment manufacturers are facing supply difficulties (94%), thus implying higher prices (95% of respondents) and longer delivery times (86%). Distributors must therefore pass on these new prices and deadlines to their customers (more than 6 months of delivery on average). What are the HR solutions to manage the growing deadlines for the delivery of agricultural equipment and their impact on the teams?

However, despite healthy order books, the sales teams of agricultural equipment manufacturers and dealers are finding themselves in difficulty: these new elements are degrading the quality of the relationship between sales representatives and their customers. According to the SEDIMA survey, relations between manufacturers and agricultural dealers deteriorated by 2 points between 2021 and 2022. This is also evident between dealers and farmers, who, in addition to the price increase, suffer drop in their income following the 2022 drought, combined with a rise in energy prices.

All these elements create a climate of tension with the sales teams who must pass on the price increase to their customers and find alternative solutions in order to organize the loan of equipment to compensate for delivery times. The variable part of their remuneration is now longer and more complicated to obtain. In doing so, as with many sectors, fatigue is felt among the teams.

In this context, the teams are in favor, even in demand, of new attentions from their employer. Meeting the expectations of sales teams then becomes a priority for companies in order to maintain motivation and efficiency. For this, different solutions can be implemented:

  • Deployment of a satisfaction questionnaire to the teams: it makes it possible to analyze, understand and get feedback on their needs both on a managerial and human level.
  • Implementation of a guarantee (or advance) on the variable part of the salary; for example, paying the variable in a smoothed way between the signing of the contract and the delivery of the products allows a better adjustment of the salary but also guarantees that it will be perceived despite the difficulties of delivery.
  • Implementation of sharing times in the team: creating times of exchange in the team helps to develop the cohesion of its members and therefore to improve the state of mind of the employees.
  • Skills development: implementing a training program for the teams makes it possible to acquire communication skills and therefore facilitate relations between the teams and the various stakeholders.

The current situation represents an opportunity for agricultural equipment companies to develop their HR policy, not only for sales teams, who are the most stressed, but also for all employees. In order to bring out the best in the current environment, companies need to be proactive with their employees in order to better support them.

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