Finding application operators that are ready and willing to work in a demanding industry is tough; keeping them can be tougher. It may be time to think creatively about optimizing your fleet, which may in turn may attract and retain quality operators. Optimizing fleet efficiency includes multi-purpose equipment investments, integrating technology and enhancing safety measures.
Maximize Fleet Efficiency Through Multi-Purpose Equipment
Critically evaluating your fleet is an opportunity to ensure that every machine is adding value and efficiency to your operation. The machines you had last year may not be the best line-up this year, depending on the status of your operators. When it comes to choosing which machines to operate, Heartland AG Systems offers a wide range of equipment and services to help ensure you have the most efficient line-up going into the season. Sometimes changing equipment size can decrease the need for operators while supporting a growing customer base. For example, upgrading from 70’ booms to 90’ booms may eliminate the need for an operator by reducing the pieces of equipment needed to effectively cover more acres. Additionally, increasing the size of your tenders to maximize load capacity and increase unload rates can support covering more acres in less time. When upgrading isn’t an option, it may require investing in multi-purpose equipment.
Multi-purpose equipment provides the opportunity to decrease your overall fleet volume, which cuts down on maintenance costs, provides increased flexibility to use equipment in multiple seasons and enhances return on investment for each unit. With operators having to master fewer machines, less time on training and onboarding is needed, allowing for more time to be spent in the field. Our priority is to continue to enhance efficiency by providing industry-leading, multi-purpose units to maximize productivity. The line-up of combination applicators by Case IH and RBR offers one machine for multi-seasonal use. One unit, less time, more acres.
Integrated Technology Across Fleet Pays Off
Technology in today’s equipment has brought enhanced horsepower, faster travel speeds, boom height control and automatic rate technology to the cab. It helps to minimize human error to ensure faster, more precise application. When it comes to operators, technology in application equipment can do the heavy lifting, allowing operators to be at ease knowing automation is working in their favor to reduce errors in the field. Reduction in errors, more accurate field reports, and overall unit tracking can help you identify which machines are performing optimally during the season. Using this data to make smart, strategic fleet management decisions can help increase operator productivity in the long run.
At Heartland AG Systems, our application-focused line-up features advanced technology to optimize application rate, coverage and accuracy over a range of speeds and field conditions. For full-fleet integration, we partner with industry leaders like Raven Slingshot among other brands. Complete with fleet analytics, machine view, fleet tracking, job generation, file transfers, remote support, sub-inch accuracy and more, these products were built with efficiency in mind. To fully leverage the potential of the latest application technology, Heartland AG Systems has a team of precision application experts ready to assist with technology setup and calibration so you can achieve higher efficiencies and gain more insights into your fleet’s performance.
Upgrading to larger booms was a great investment for our operation. Running short on operators had taken its toll and we knew we had to find an alternative solution to serve our customers. Heartland AG Systems assessed our operation and quickly identified opportunities to keep us running during a critical time.
The solutions they brought forward to move from 70’ booms to 90’ booms made it possible to cover the same acres in the same amount of time, running with two operators versus three. Their high-efficiency tender line also gave us expanded capability to keep up with the increased productivity of our larger applicators.
Terry Schmidt | Location Manager for CHS in Marshall, MN
Enhanced Safety Reduces Downtime and Boosts Morale
When it comes to safety, there is no room for compromise. Operators want to work where they feel safe and have confidence in the equipment they are working in and around on a daily basis. While safety plays a role in operational efficiencies, we know you care about making sure your operators are able to come home for dinner to their families. We have prioritized built-in safety measures throughout all our equipment lines. For example, both the VPA 1000 and MT Tender series feature self-cleaning bins, eliminating the need for operators to climb into the tenders to free up product. Instead, Heartland AG Systems Equipment’s leading tenders boast 50° angled hopper bottoms, removing the need for shoveling for quicker turnaround time to keep operators moving at peak efficiency and safety.
Built-in equipment features provide one avenue to safety, but preventative maintenance also plays a critical role. Addressing service issues before the busy season begins will reduce stressful downtime during peak season. At Heartland AG Systems, our team of application experts assesses your fleet to find and correct potential problems that could impact your fleet efficiency. Our Preventative Maintenance Inspection program offers a service check that covers hydraulic and electrical systems, suspension, powertrain, auxiliary components, boom functions and systems and more. Keep your equipment and your operators up and running when time matters the most with regular equipment maintenance in the off season.
The challenge to find operators for ag retailers is an industry-wide concern. Investing in fleet efficiency can help you reduce the overall number of operators you need to hire each year. At Heartland AG Systems, we are committed to addressing this industry-wide challenge and will work with other leaders to educate and attract new talent for retailers around the country. As we look ahead to drive a successful future for our industry, we know new technology and ways of working are needed to adapt to an evolving marketplace. New innovations such as autonomous applicators promise a variety of opportunities to further efficiencies when labor is in short supply. While this would undoubtedly address workforce challenges, semi-autonomous applicators would also provide new opportunities for advanced operator expertise to run the high-tech equipment. There is no doubt these advances in technology will continue, but how that will impact day-to-day operations is yet to be determined.
While some of these options remain in early stages of development, one thing that will remain consistent is Heartland AG Systems’ dedication to providing industry-leading solutions that keep you operating at peak efficiency. As we work to better understand and execute these possibilities, investments in fleet efficiency can keep you on the path to success. Today, we know that multi-purpose equipment, integrated technology and safety measures are the best ways to increase that efficiency – because we are application.