General Equipment & Supplies, Inc. is an authorized and certified full-service heavy construction and aggregate equipment dealer with seven locations in the U.S, including Fargo, Bismarck, Minot and Williston, ND, Sioux Falls, SD and Shakopee, MN, with a warehouse in Hibbing, MN. Additionally, the company is expanding its territories to include Iowa and Nebraska in an effort grow their customer base throughout the Midwest. Since it was founded in 1984, the company has held its headquarters at its Fargo branch. It also has two Canadian locations in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Infrastructure development has played, and will continue to play, an essential role in a country’s economic prosperity. For construction firms, it is important that the most performance-driven heavy construction equipment be used. Selecting the right heavy equipment dealer for modernized construction and aggregate work takes diligent planning. It is a decision not to be taken lightly. Choosing the wrong dealer – one that does not deliver on its promises or provide a diversified equipment line – can be detrimental to a customer and its business.
General Equipment & Supplies works tirelessly to be the right dealer, by delivering on its promise of dedication, efficiency, effective communication and profitability, while ensuring the appropriate equipment, from numerous product lines for any given project.
Formerly known as General Diesel, General Equipment & Supplies has grown from a company of 22 to over 250, serving the equipment needs for sectors involved with construction, mining, municipalities and oil and gas.
“All of our sectors with locations take advantage of our service offerings,” says Jon Shilling, General Equipment & Supplies president and chief executive officer. “We have very dedicated and hardworking employees at all of our locations. They focus on maintaining key relationships with our customers, which builds trust and loyalty, and ultimately earns us business in sales, parts and service.”
This securing and retaining of customers based on trust, dependability and integrity is crucial. There is a conscious pledge to keep the customers’ best interest in mind always. General Equipment & Supplies has proven the results of such a commitment in its almost-thirty-five years of service.
“We provide our customers with true solutions,” notes Shilling. “We ask the right questions and partner with our customers to ensure we aren’t just selling them a piece of equipment [but] rather selling them a solution to their problem or need.”
“When we interact with customers, we show a genuine interest in their business. We work in a relatively small market, and it is critical we continue to add new customers and retain existing customers,” adds Matt Kern, vice president of rolling stock sales. “We have a company culture that understands that. We are continually investing in technology and people to make General Equipment & Supplies easier to do business with.”
“We have the technical, application and support knowledge that are unequaled in the industry. General Equipment & Supplies is world renowned for being able to provide turnkey solutions for aggregate producers. This is due to our enormous investment in our people,” Steve Stafki, vice president of service says.
This investment in people is a focus the team takes seriously. They want the right people in the right seats to ensure that customer needs are being met. Current and potential employees must be, “able to commit to our core values,” says Stafki. They want employees to Do The Right Thing, Have Passion, Be Innovative and Work Hard. The company feels a responsibility to, “commit to training the employee on a continual basis.” This, in turn, leads to not only the employee’s success but that of the customer and the company itself.
General Equipment & Supplies also has in-house fabrication. “We build specialized custom power generation units serving highly portable aggregate producers, as well as asphalt and concrete paving companies. Our focus on customized prime power in these markets provides us a unique advantage in the way of giving our customers turnkey power solutions that are designed for their needs,” says Don Kern, vice president of aggregate equipment sales. “Unlike much of what the industry must deal with by means of repurposing standby power that cannot stand up to the harsh environments our clients operate in.”
It is common knowledge that downtime is lost revenue in the construction industry and so is a detrimental situation to be avoided at all times. General Equipment & Supplies’ specially trained service and parts personnel are available at any time to ensure that customers’ projects run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. “We cover our territory guided by the core values ensuring we are available for our customers,” says Stafki.
The use of commercial drones is becoming commonplace in many industries, particularly in construction with aerial photography, surveying and geographic information systems (GIS). In particular, drones now play an invaluable role in reducing safety risks, gathering thermal imaging and aiding in equipment marketing.
Drone use offers a competitive advantage by showcasing any given project and adds business value by maximizing investment. “We are using our drones for marketing purposes such as videos of equipment working in the field as well as unique photograph perspectives,” Kern explains. “In addition, we are offering volumetric services where we can measure stockpile volumes for our customers and are moving toward a complete construction solution for helping our customers optimize job site efficiency.”
Global IT solutions company e-Emphasys is a significant part of how General Equipment & Supplies conducts its business not only for its benefit but for that of its customers in over twenty countries. e-Emphasys has its focus on equipment dealerships and the rental industry and aids these sectors in realizing full potentials through innovative business solutions and enterprise resource planning (ERP).
“The ability to track the equipment life cycle has been the dream of every equipment distributor,” Stafki notes. “Cutting-edge technology combined with world-class support makes our business software the most innovative and intuitive solution on the market. This gives us the ability to cut costs while increasing our coverage and technician efficiency.”
There is enormous pressure for dealerships to keep up with customer demands, particularly in responding to issues and concerns not tomorrow or next week, but today. In the not too distant past, acquiring information or products could have taken hours, days or weeks with back and forth communication. “That’s no longer the reality,” says Shilling. “Our customers need to remain productive and profitable. We understand that, so we make every effort to provide information, be it on equipment, financing, parts or service, within minutes.”
He also notes that the company’s sales personnel are equipped with smartphones and iPads to be constantly connected, even to their own app that, “gives them real-time feedback on equipment inventories, parts availability and manufacturer specs, for example.”
Every successful business knows that there are always challenges to be met. It is how a business reacts that determines success or failure. General Equipment & Supplies is devoted to staying ahead of the technology curve to, “ensure we have the best products and solutions to provide to our customers,” continues Shilling. “We are constantly trying to be more innovative in our field, and we do so in many ways.”
Recently the company hired a smart construction business manager to oversee its sales department in the intelligent machine market to ensure, “we are providing our customers with everything they need to utilize our intelligent machines to their fullest potential.”
General Equipment & Supplies is a member of several associations, primarily the Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) and Associated General Contractors (AGC). “Both organizations provide us with vast resources, including lobbying at the state and federal levels as well as key information on industry performance,” says Shilling. “We then bring this knowledge back to our customers, while working hard for the industry overall.”
The company holds an exposition triennially and hosts annual tradeshows, always adding new venues including the North Dakota State Fair in Minot and RibFest in Fargo, along with small county fairs such as the Polk County Fair in Fertile, Minnesota. “We also are engaging in more and more agriculture venues which have been great opportunities for us to showcase our agricultural products such as wheel loaders and skid steers,” says Kern.
Over the next five to ten years, General Equipment & Supplies will, “build a winning company culture that takes a back seat to no one,” says Jon. “Our customers will feel the company culture radiating from [employees] and want to be part of it as well. We build true partnerships with our customers.”