It has been said that "The entrepreneur is that of an endless challenge seeker. Once their small business is humming along, growth is the next exciting challenge."
Exciting, yes, but at the same time expanding makes good business sense – building better brand recognition, building value in the business, offering a wider range of products and services to a larger geographical market, and creating an economy of scale.
Expansion was on Lankota’s radar for 2017 and will be on our radar for 2018. We are continuing to look at the International market for exporting Lankota products to those countries where there is opportunity to establish solid relationships with existing businesses to promote our product line. We are also looking to expand with different products that may seem a bit out of the box but are adding value to a unique, niche market. Both approaches allow Lankota to capitalize on existing fabrication & assembly assets and talented team members to maximize these opportunities.
The risks and rewards of expansion must carefully be considered by any business. As Peter Drucker has said, "Where ever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision."
Lankota takes pride in packaging products for our customers. Unfortunately, occasional situations occur where the shipment that arrives at the customer’s door looks nothing like the way it did when it left Lankota.
LTL Freight can be the biggest challenge when the package is shipped with multiple freight carriers. At Lankota, freight shipments are always on pallets; most of them custom made to fit the item that is being shipped. All items are fit within that pallet size to avoid anything hanging over the edges, which helps to prevent damages. Freight orders are secured to the pallets with either steel banding or shipping wrap, or both.
Before signing, it is important to inspect freight when the freight carrier drops it off at your dock. Signing for a pallet before inspecting it tells the freight company that the pallet is intact, and that no product is damaged or missing. Both freight and parcel shipments should be inspected before signing for them! If the package is damaged, or product is missing, that information can be stated when signing the shipper’s paperwork (i.e. Bill of Lading). Taking pictures of any damages is also vital. The picture(s), and noting the shipment was damaged on the paperwork, will help the customer and Lankota rectify the situation sooner than later.
Lankota is always willing to help with any situations of damaged or missing shipments, but would like assistance from our customers to ensure these damaged goods are addressed promptly by inspecting shipments before signing.
Lankota's Tagline: Ag Driven Innovations
What does that mean? How does that affect how we conduct ourselves at work, how we do our job? What do our customers see? What do our competitors see? How do others see us?
For the past 16 years, Lankota has had three primary goals:
- Ship the same day the order is taken.
- Deliver at a competitive price.
- Make a quality product.
Those goals have served us well and brought us to where we are today. But as we look at our newest moto – "Ag Driven Innovations" and at the marketplace, it is obvious we need to take another look at our primary goals; goals that will direct our future within the marketplace from an intention driven mindset. These new goals should take us to the next level and stretch us, without abandoning all that we have learned and attained thus far.
The first goal to be considered is “Excellence”. It must be the standard for everything we do at Lankota. This refers to quality, customer service, fabrication, assembly, accounting, human resources, the Leadership of Lankota, etc. This must be the mindset of everyone who works in any capacity at Lankota. Lankota Excellence surpasses ordinary standards by every measurement and indicator.
The second goal to be considered is “Growth”. Lankota has proven that even in challenging economical markets, we are sustainable. However, it is not enough to sustain. It is critical that as increasing costs, both direct and indirect, are incurred that Lankota must grow. This must be a process of intentional growth with clear goals established with measurable outcomes. With those goals in mind, a game plan as to how those goals will be reached, with Excellence, must be consciously developed and implemented.
The third goal to be considered is “Impact”. Lankota continues to grow a positive reputation in the after-market agricultural industry. This has been through word of mouth and due to the quality and innovative products developed. Now is the time to leverage that reputation and make an “Impact” on the market with a definite strategy for product awareness, networking, marketing, and other key strategies. We cannot forget who our customer is and why we are in business. How are our products “Impacting” the farmer and how do we communicate this to the world?
With these goals in mind, the model behaviors for team members of Lankota also change. The expectations become greater. For the goals of Excellence, Growth, and Impact to be reached, team members must demonstrate Initiative, Collaboration, and be driven to be Results Oriented. These attributes must be part of the Lankota DNA of every team member to ensure Success, not only for the company but for the individual team members, as well.
Each member of the Lankota team must demonstrate a readiness and willingness to get things done; to be a problem solver and to take responsibility for action. This is done in a cooperative manner with other individuals, between departments, possibly even outside the walls of Lankota, all working together to deliver results: Excellence – Growth – Impact.
As we begin to plan for next year, keep in mind the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”
Harvest Across North America10/04/17
It’s that time of year again. Harvest has started, or is starting very quickly, for many farmers throughout the US and Canada. We thought we would share a few conversations we have had, from people in different areas of North America, about the weather conditions and how harvest is going.
Just north of Mitchell, South Dakota most guys are finished up cutting silage and have started in on wet corn. We had one customer just finish up an 80 of wet corn last thursday which had been hailed on earlier this summer. The corn was running 147, which is decent for the area, especially after it’s been hailed on. Over this last weekend Mitchell received anywhere from 3-5 inches of rain so everything is at a standstill. Cooler weather this week has slowed everyone down from getting back into the field. Many guys around the area haven’t started in on their beans, which are mostly ready to go.
East of us a few hours in Glenwood, Minnesota, they are in the same boat as Mitchell. They received 4-5 inches of rain over the weekend, stopping guys before they were able to start getting out into the field. No reports on any yields, but they are thinking it will be an average crop for the area.
Around Assumption, Illinois it sounds like everyone is in the field. Throughout the summer the area was getting plenty of rain. Around August 21st it stopped raining and hasn’t rained since. They are having near drought conditions, with burn bans popping up in different counties around them. Soybeans in the area are running mid 60s and corn running anywhere from 130-180.
Up in Kelvington, Saskatchewan they are about half done with harvest. Most of the barley and wheat are already out. They have had rain for the past 10 days, so there isn’t a lot of equipment moving right now. Guys are hoping to get back into the field this next week. There is still a lot of canola to harvest and a few oats.
In England, Arkansas farmers are finishing up with harvest. The area had caught rains all the way through August, and has been dry for the past 3 weeks. Harvest has gone smooth without any rain delays. Soybeans have been running from 70-80 bushels an acre and corn has been around 220.
Feel free to give us a call and tell us how your harvest is going, we would love to talk with you. Also, please check out our website, or give one of sales technicians a call to see how one of our Ag Driven Innovations can help you finish out your harvest season.
14 Years Ago...08/08/17
Lankota is in our 14th year as officially doing business as a family owned business – straight off the farm. I remember, because we were so busy growing Lankota and farming, I didn’t have time to buy Lance, the oldest son, a 16th birthday present. In a last-minute effort, I picked up a T-Shirt at the local Runnings store that actually said “Runnings” on it and presented it to him while we were packing parts the evening of his birthday. Needless to say, he wasn’t impressed. And I was embarrassed. But here we are today, Lance is now in charge of making the parts and Dakota is overseeing the packaging.
There have been challenges through these 14 years, undoubtedly; finding the right people, finding the right partners in terms of bankers, attorneys, and insurance companies, finding the right balance of marketing and sales, and of course, the ups and downs of the ag market. Yet, today, with all the challenges, Lankota is standing strong when others in the ag arena have struggled.
What has contributed to our success? There are certain areas that have helped us maintain and sustain:
- Clarity. A clear vision of what Lankota is, what market we serve, with what type of products, and how we are going to serve that market is always front and center.
- Energy. The average age of the team at Lankota is under 40, without me, of course. I skew the curve. Having a young team creates a high level of energy. Take that energy, the combined intelligence and experience, and it forces everyone to be on their A-game.
- Excellence is the Expectation. We know who our competition is and it is a force to be reckoned with every day. In every way, we need to be out performing and delivering results.
- Productive for Profitability. It is one thing to be productive, it is another to realize that being productive enhances the bottom-line. Every team member needs to understands how they play a part in the over-all picture.
- Being a Company of Integrity and Influence. Whether it is internally with the team or externally with vendors, customers, or the community, it is Lankota’s intention to do business with integrity and continue to grow as a company of influence.
- Be Courageous. As entrepreneurs, that may just be in the DNA. But if growth is a part of the vision, then courage is a must. The world is a chess board; growth is just a matter of strategy.
Combine Clinic Season08/01/17
It is that time of the year again. Dealers from across the nation are starting to host combine clinics for their customers to help farmers prepare for this year’s harvest season. LANKOTA is ready to help!
Over the course of the next few weeks the Lankota Sales Team will be traveling to various dealerships to assist with combine clinics. Currently we have upcoming combine clinics in Indiana, Minnesota, and Nebraska, with more locations filling up every week! During these combine clinics, Lankota also offers onsite training courses for dealership sales, service, and parts staff on all Lankota product! If your dealership is hosting a combine clinic or even an open house for your customers, and would like us to attend your event, please contact the Lankota Sales Team.
While Lankota is stocking up shelves, there are always one or two parts that Lankota can never get enough of. These parts hardly ever sit on the shelves for more than a couple of days. Can you guess one of the parts I am talking about? One is the Lankota Contour Master Tilt Frame.
For this product Lankota relies on getting the old frames back from dealers and farmers. Lankota takes the old frame and retrofits it into a new one. Our very talented welders replace the hooks on the top to the new design and beef it up to make it work for attaching to newer series heads.
Lankota will purchase any old frames off a 00, 10 or 50 series combine for $425.00. Give Rachel a call at 866-526-5682 if you have any of these laying around and are ready to make a little profit from them.
Ag Driven Innovation07/05/17
Here at Lankota, we strive to develop products that fit the needs of our customers. At a farm show last year, we met with a customer who wanted a different take on our combine hitches. He wanted the swiveling function of our LANTH910 hitch, but didn’t think it was necessary to have the telescoping function as well.
In 2017, we are now introducing the LANTH620 combine hitch. The hitch swivels to 3 different positions for left-hand towing, center-line towing, and folded against the rear axle for transport and avoiding straw build up on the hitch. The hitch can be attached with either a bolt-on pin style hitch or pintle hitch. Another Ag Driven Innovation from Lankota that will save you time, save you money, and make harvesting go a little smoother.
What’s happening at Lankota?
The Lankota Sales Team is gearing up for the busy season to hit this July. As a team, we will be attending farm shows, hosting dealer clinics and attending combine clinics at dealerships.
We are looking forward to being at the Farm Progress show, in Decatur Illinois, at the end of August. We had a great time there two years ago and are excited to get back there.
Lankota is hosting a dealer clinic on location in July, during which we invite dealers to enjoy a day of learning about Lankota products. Dealerships may also invite us to attend combine clinics that they host for their farmers. We enjoy attending these clinics, because of the one on one time we get with dealers and local farmers in that area.
Fabrication and warehouse employees, here at Lankota, are busy getting the shelves stocked up for busy season, making it possible to ship the orders the same day they are placed.
Monday, June 5, it is “wheels up” for Robbie Sonne, a Sales Technician with Lankota. Robbie will be heading north to the Ontario providence to visit John Deere® and Case IH® dealers. Expeditions like this are a key part of Lankota’s customer service approach. By staying in touch with our customers and with the agricultural market, we know how to better serve them.
The biggest thing we can do is listen to our customers and answer any questions or concerns they may have. And meeting their needs is a top priority for Lankota. Although we could do this over the phone, developing the personal relationship, putting a face with the voice, is very important for developing trust and belief that we are going to do what we promise. Lankota has built their reputation on this promise, whether that be shipping same day, building a quality product, or being cost competitive.
Lankota has coined a phrase for these road trips as “Milk Runs.” How did that come about? Well, when in generations past and milk was delivered to the home each morning, who knew the family better than the “Milk Man”? It is Lankota’s goal to know our customers and what they need, thus the “Milk Run.”
Lankota Expanding Footprint in Australia04/24/17
Two header manufacturers, one in western Australia and one in eastern Australia, have been loyal customers of Lankota products for many years. Lankota is excited to visit eastern Australia in early May of 2017 and finally meet with some of these friends they have been doing business with. Marvie Tschetter, President & CEO, and Brady Teveldal, R&D & Product Specialist, at Lankota will also be visiting John Deere® & CNH® dealers, as well as some larger farmers in the area between Brisbane and Melbourne. This area is some of the highest producing crop ground in Australia. Teveldal has been told that the landscape in this area is similar to that in the mid-west of the United States. The equipment, combines & headers, used in this area of Australia are also similar to what is found in the Midwest of the USA. The Lankota team is intentionally working on expanding product awareness and exploring opportunities that may exist internationally. Australia is a great place to begin this process as there is already a strong base to build from.
Lankota has more to offer than just combine and header adapters. Lankota also provides kits for spring field work. For many, spring field work can mean getting in the field as soon as possible. This can mean fields are in less than ideal condition. In those situations, Lankota offers tow cable kits for John Deere® and Case IH® 4WD tractors. Lankota can help the farmer out of those “muddy” conditions with a tow cable kit. Lankota offers tow cable kits for 9000, 9020, 9030, 9R and 9RX series John Deere® tractors and many different models for Case IH® tractors.
Lankota will be able to help anyone that has a larger tractor and smaller implements to get those spring jobs completed before planting season starts. New to Lankota is a category 4 to 3 drawbar pin conversion. The best part about Lankota’s pin conversions is that they install and remove quickly without any tools needed! Lankota offers category 5 to 4 pin conversion as well, which can be used on John Deere®, Case IH®, New Holland® and other tractors with category 5 drop pin drawbar. Let Lankota be your tractor accessory supplier this spring to help get all jobs done to make planting 2017 easy on you!
The Daily Republic - SD family builds Lankota Group into thriving Huron business05/20/16
"...It started out as a hobby for Kim Tschetter, a way to keep his hands busy innovating farm equipment. When Tschetter delved into the entrepreneurial field, he realized he had hit a niche market for farmers.
Meet the Tschetters of Lankota Group, a multifaceted fabrication and warehouse facility that distributes more than 600 products worldwide from its doorstep in Huron. The business' drive to deliver solution-based, after-market products for farming equipment and machinery was born in 2001..." read more