Tractor manufacturers are constantly striving to apply digital technology to their product range.
This approach has usually applied to the operation and function of the machines, yet many are now looking beyond the traditional scope of product improvement to take a more holistic view of machinery supply.
Claas is one such company. It has recently announced further investment in E-Farm, a Hamburg based machinery sales platform which, in the words of its CEO, Nicolas Lohr, has several objectives.
The first is to bring transparency to the used machinery market. By this he means that as much data on a particular machine as possible is gathered together and presented to the buyer.
By working with around 750 dealers across Europe and an increasing number of manufacturers the company is striving to “enrich the data quality of adverts.”
It is not only machine specification that is recorded but also the latest prices at which they are being traded within the E-Farm network.
A second aspiration is to ease concerns over payment. “Presently deals between countries rely on pre-payment and we have heard many stories about machines being paid for but not being delivered,” Nicolas explains.
To overcome this problem payment need not be made until five days after the machine’s arrival. Buyers are required to show that they have the funds available on purchase.
Quality is another issue addressed by the use of pre-sales inspection paid for by the purchaser. There is a blanket €299 charge for this service which is provided by DEKRA, a worldwide inspection and certification company.
So is it just another sales operation fighting for a place in the €15bn used machinery market?
Nicolas thinks not, noting that classified advertisements and national online listing sites tend to be regional whereas E-Farm is trans-European.