In the 1960s, Caterpillar initiated a unique service program, Custom Track Service. The specialists who provided this service, originally known as track men, were trained to measure undercarriage wear periodically and keep track of the data in order to substantiate service recommendations to equipment owners.
Over the years, the role of the track man has evolved and expanded significantly into that of Heavy Equipment Product Support Sales Representative (HE PSSR). Today’s PSSRs do much more than monitor and evaluate the condition of the undercarriage on track machines―they also monitor and make recommendations for all manner of equipment, components, systems and maintenance products we sell, including hydraulics; machine work, powertrain and component rebuilds; preventative maintenance programs; customer support agreements; telematics and more.
“The differentiator in our world today is product support,” said Randy Harper, VP Product Support Sales Manager – North. “It is the deciding factor in the majority of equipment purchases and it’s what sets us apart from the competition.”
Currently there are 14 heavy equipment PSSRs serving customers throughout Ring Power’s Florida territory, each responsible for approximately 70 customers. Those customers depend on their PSSRs to minimize machine downtime and maximize their profits.
“We want our customers to feel like their PSSR is their very own fleet manager, working for them as a consultant, providing them repair options that best meet their needs,” Randy said.
To achieve this, our PSSRs serve as the first line of contact for their customers. They work as a “go-between” with the parts, service and condition monitoring departments to help customers achieve the maximum value for their equipment by increasing productivity and lowering operating costs.
In addition to PSSRs, Ring Power has two HE ISRs (inside sales reps) who are, essentially, PSSRs without a truck. They are responsible for helping customers with smaller equipment fleets achieve the same goal of maximizing profits and lowering operating costs.
Perhaps the most exciting heavy equipment industry development over the past several years has been the rapidly expanding field of telematics. To assist PSSRs in selling the benefits of having connected equipment, a technology sales rep (TSR) has been added to the product support team. The TSR often accompanies PSSRs on customer calls to provide onsite demos of this rapidly expanding and evolving technology.
Telematics technology such as Product Link and VisionLink enhances the PSSRs’ ability to manage their customers’ fleets and make informed maintenance and service recommendations. For example, if a machine relays a code indicating that a part needs replacing, the PSSR can coordinate with the parts department to make sure the field service tech has the part when he goes to the customer’s job site the first time; reducing machine downtime and field service callouts.
The role of the track men may have expanded and transformed over the years, but the goal remains the same―partnering with customers to provide them with the knowledge and support that will help ensure their success.