By Sabrina Ziegler, Contributor, Valley Ag Voice
While businesses have had to either adapt or face the threat of closing their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic, those who have found success are living examples of the Chinese proverb, “in every crisis lies the seed of opportunity.”
In the case of All States Ag Parts, not only can this truth be applied to business, but to tractor parts as well.
The salvage yard off Pond Road in McFarland is what Outside Sales Manager John Silva calls a “high-tech junkyard.”
“We save everything. Just because the tractor’s shot doesn’t mean the fuel lines don’t work, or the front end doesn’t work.” A tractor had caught on fire and was delivered to the junkyard that day, where its transmission was deemed to be in well-working condition and categorized among a warehouse stocked to the ceiling with parts for tractors, combines, skid steers, planters, drills, hay balers, and other construction and ag equipment.
“We’ll still buy broken down tractors, used tractors. We’re color blind. We’ll take new, used, aftermarket, remanufactured,” said Silva.
Wisconsin-based All States Ag Parts, LLC acquired Kern County Tractor Parts in June of 2019 and bought the name, which is still displayed along with the ASAP logo on the sign in front of the building. They kept the same phone number and address as the former business, which supplied parts throughout Kern County since 1996.
Inside the store, each member of the sales team is busy assisting customers by phone. They receive 80 to 150 inbound phone calls per day. The callers, they say, are from all 50 states, as the company name implies.
Behind the store are two warehouses (one for old parts and another for new) and a junkyard lined with rows of parts, neatly organized.
“Everything out here has a purpose,” said Silva. “These guys found a way to organize it and catalog it. It takes a lot. We’ve got two guys tearing down tractors all day. One guy ships parts, another guy categorizes them, and there’s four people up front taking phone calls.”
Additionally, the operation has a yard manager and a driver who responds to calls to pick up non-operating equipment.
“We take a tractor that is old and out of service, break it down, and we sell used parts out of it for used parts pricing, which is half of new,” said Store Manager Gabriel Giesick. “So, people are happy because they can get their tractor up and running. They’re happy to learn about ASAP. It allows us to get them products lower than MSRP. We have done that with the aid of John Silva on the B2B side.”
Silva’s role is to work with corporate farmers and get them set up on their business-to-business (B2B) program. Through the program, his customers gain access to an exclusive dealer website and login which gives them access to additional discounts. He calls ASAP’s program the “Amazon of tractor parts.”
“I don’t know if there is any B2B program for tractor parts at this level,” Silva said.
The robust online program – which has over 100,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) – contributed to the increase in store sales volume since the pandemic, said Manager Giesick.
“Due to COVID, our sales are up 25%, and what that means is people are trapped at home and might as well work on that tractor,” said Giesick. “So, they get on the B2B website, find their order, place it, and it comes in an Amazon box.”
Silva said, “COVID is pushing the B2B even more. It has definitely been a helper, not a hindrance. Everything is phone and email right now. You can buy anything online. Why not tractors?”
“So, when you’re sitting at home with your feet up on the fireplace, and you’re listening to the fire crackling, drinking your mocha choca latte, and you’re ordering parts,” said Silva.
He compared it to standing in line at a dealership to pay more or find out you must wait for a part to be ordered.
Both Gabriel and John come from a dealer background and made the transition to selling used parts when the opportunity with ASAP came along.
“I hired John over at Kern Machinery and he turned into my best sales [representative],” said Giesick. “When we are in the room together, we work the room. We make a dynamic duo and enjoy one another’s company.”
The store in McFarland is ASAP’s 12th location, 10th salvage yard, and first location in the western United States. Silva is responsible for all sales west of the Rockies.
“I came over [from Kern Machinery] first and found out it was alright, and I bribed him to come over and play with me. I missed his personality, missed his abilities, and thought he would be a good fit over here, and it turned out he is. There is also a need in the valley [for what we offer]. People are tired of getting taken advantage of by dealers,” said Giesick.
While they are known for used parts, new parts also make up a large portion of ASAP’s inventory.
“The biggest challenge is our perception. The yard has been out there for 20 years, and it’s been known as a junkyard. [However], we sell new, manufactured parts. Our challenge is breaking the stereotype that we’re more than a junkyard and letting them know about our B2B program,” said Giesick.