eMaint Helps Regional Family Run Farm Compete in Consolidating Market
Customer Since: 2011 | Industry: Agriculture
Johnson Brothers is a family-owned corn and soybean farm in central Iowa. Johnson Brothers needed a system that would track work orders, trigger preventive maintenance checks and monitor parts inventory, and allow the business to calculate precise equipment costs. After an employee worked to develop a homemade CMMS solution and realized the company would need more capability, eMaint came to the rescue. Shortly after implementation, Johnson Brothers gained the insight of the true cost of maintaining the 120+ pieces of equipment, allowing Johnson Brothers to price their crops competitively, without cutting into the bottom line. The company saw numerous other benefits.
Johnson Brothers is a family-owned corn and soybean farm in central Iowa. In operation since 1942, it embodies the essence of the traditional image of the “American Heartland”: hard- working, salt-of-the-earth farmers working land passed down through the family. The farm produces and sells 187,000 bushels of corn and 55,000 bushels of soybeans on 2,000 acres. Johnson Brothers contracts with Monsanto to grow seed corn on another 2,400 acres ““ a “custom” service in which performance is measured in quality rather than quantity.
To remain competitive in an increasingly consolidating marketplace in which fewer and larger production farms dominate, Johnson Brothers needed a system that would not only track work orders, trigger preventive maintenance checks and monitor parts inventory, but also allow the business to calculate exactly what its equipment was costing per bushel per acre. Without this ‘paradigm shift’ from qualitative judgments to data-driven decisions, Johnson Brothers would have difficulty remaining competitive without seriously compromising their profitability.
Asa Moeckly, Partner and Service Manager, had worked for two years to develop his own computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) using Access database software. However, Moeckly was forced to conclude it couldn’t meet all of his needs and began searching on the Web for an alternative.
eMaint CMMS met all of his criteria: it was ready-to-go, could be customized to Johnson Brothers’ operations and was Web-based ““ meaning Moeckly could access it from his iPad no matter where he was, in the field or at home. eMaint’s solution took about one month to implement from start to finish, including training, importing data from other databases and adapting the business’ inventory storage system. The most surprising outcome, says Moeckly, is what the data collection showed: “We were investing more time and money into maintenance than we had ever thought.”
- The true cost of maintaining the 120+ pieces of equipment is now clearly understood, allowing Johnson Brothers to price their crops competitively, without cutting into the bottom line.
- Standardized systems and training minimize down time, even when workers hired to service the equipment change with the seasons.
- Parts inventory declined by 30% with better data on what’s needed when.
- Smarter decisions regarding when to replace vs. repair are possible, now that the true cost in man hours and dollars is totally transparent.
- Integration with POLARIS LaboratoriesÂ® HORIZONÂ® web-based fluid analysis management tool to facilitate predictive maintenance.
“In the ‘old days,’ if a piece of equipment broke, I just fixed it. If I needed to replace it, I figured out how much money we had, and went out and bought it. Then the economy of production agriculture changed: More and more corn was grown for fuel, driving down profit margins. Land value doubled and tripled. Small farms were increasingly sold to conglomerates. We needed to start working smarter. eMaint gives us the data we need to compete.”
Asa M., Partner & Service Manager, Johnson Brothers