Chief Agri is a part of Chief Industries, a classic American success story. With a complete line of grain storage and handling systems and aeration and material handling products, Chief Agri offers scalable solutions for private, commercial and cooperative farms. Chief Agri is a global brand and maintains strong domestic connections with partners and customers across all 50 states. And leading these efforts to establish and support these relationships is Chief Agri’s domestic sales manager, Shad Singleton.
Recently, Singleton took time out of his busy schedule to offer insights about Chief Agri’s operations from a true insider’s perspective. This raw, unfiltered conversation offers a unique look into Chief Agri’s keys to success and the first glimpse of a new and updated product line.
How did you come to work for Chief Agri?
I spent years competing against Chief. In a former role, I was dealing with them as a customer. I experienced firsthand how well I was treated as a customer by Chief. It didn’t take much convincing when they approached me to come work for them. I knew it was a good fit, as both Chief’s and my approach is to be relationship-driven and customer service oriented.
Chief Agri recently installed a new roof line for their grain storage bins. Why spend the money and effort to produce a new line when Chief has made quality roofs for grain storage bins for decades?
There’s a lot of added strength to this new and improved roof sheet that we’re manufacturing now. The old J rib was a smooth sheet. By adding corrugations, we now have one of the tallest ribs in the marketplace, with over double the strength.
The cost of steel has been a big issue, especially within the past few years. What are you anticipating for that market moving forward?
I see the market going down a bit, which can’t be confused with the price of manufactured goods going down. There has been added overhead the last two to three years between increased wages, insurance prices and materials, and that overhead trickles down to the customer.
Getting products to customers as quickly as possible is always important. So how is Chief Agri set up to make that happen?
Some raw goods are still hard to get, so once we have signed approval from the customer, we go ahead and purchase those goods right away, kind of pre-engineering their solutions once they sign off and we know what it’s going to be. We don’t have to wait for engineering to write everything up into a shop order, which usually is when that purchase would take place. We can bypass that step to get some of those hard-to-get, long-lead-time items.
Chief has their own engineers on staff. Why is that important to the company workflow and your customers?
We work with dealers all over on a variety of different projects for their customers specific needs. We have to be able to accommodate them with a design process that prioritizes safety and quality and that is still affordable. We need to design criteria that meets certain codes while being cost competitive. Having staff on hand who can do that is the best way to accomplish this, as they can create models that align with the rest of the industry and not have to re-engineer a product.
How does someone become a dealer for Chief Agri?
We want our dealer network to be a little bit exclusive so that dealers aren’t stacked on top of each other in one specific territory. We look at the logistics as far as becoming a dealer, as well as the quality of the contractor. We produce a quality product and want it to be installed correctly and deal with people with integrity. Again, it comes back to relationships. There’s a close connection between our folks and our dealers. I mean, these are genuine relationships. It’s more of a personal friendship than just a customer-to-vendor relationship, and I personally like that because that’s to our customers’ advantage.
What are some other ways Chief Agri stands out?
I’ve worked in corporate America for a long time, and I can appreciate and respect being part of a family-owned business. At Chief Agri, you know how decisions are made, and it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle with different boards and unnecessary layers of management. The family-owned atmosphere is a positive in our industry. There aren’t a lot of family-owned businesses left that do what Chief does on the scale we operate.
To learn more about how Chief Agri can engineer a solution for your operations, get in touch with one of their trusted partners today.