Maximize Resources, Minimize Challenges
How two county highway departments in Indiana are doing the most for their taxpayers
Keeping the public happy is the name of the game, and as many people know, that’s no small task. Faced with failing equipment and an ever-growing list of fires to put out, Nick Parr of the Boone County, Indiana, Highway Department knew there had to be a more important consideration than lowest cost. Partnering with West Side Tractor Sales, he found it.
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DILEMMA
As operations manager, any day for Parr is likely to include the best-laid plans and a hundred reasons they go sideways. “Every season comes with its routine tasks, and depending on weather, we have a limited time we can check off all those boxes,” begins Parr. “At the same time, we’re getting calls from citizens about whatever issues might pop up. With 750 miles of road, 190 bridges, and 60,000 residents, it adds up quick.”
On top of a never-ending to-do list, Parr’s biggest challenge has been having the right tool for the job. “As a government entity, all purchases must be procured in accordance with local, state, and federal purchasing laws, and we are required to select the lowest-cost provider that meets the basic requirements outlined in the specified documents.”
When a salesman from West Side started making promises Parr had heard in the past, he was understandably skeptical. “With our past contract, the machine was supposed to perform, maintenance was supposed to be routine, parts were supposed to be available, costs were supposed to be controlled — and that flat out wasn’t the case. With John Deere and West Side, it’s been like night and day — they actually deliver on everything they said they would do.”
Starting with a hard look at the Department’s numbers, West Side was able to tailor a custom financing and maintenance plan that both won the contract and achieves the Department’s goals. “Service is simple. The techs are flexible with our schedule and show up to do all the work. Some of our grader operators keep the machines at their homes, and West Side will travel to them for any maintenance. They just make everything easy.”
Past suppliers would always try to find ways out of covering things, but now we have no problem - when we make a call, Deere is there.
INNOVATE, IMPLEMENT, REPEAT
Parr and Boone County aren’t the only ones benefiting from this personalized approach. Brian Sterner and Rusty Lerch of the Tippecanoe County, Indiana, Highway Department are equally satisfied with West Side and John Deere. “They even sponsored a two-day operator training course for us and surrounding counties,” states Sterner, Tippecanoe County Maintenance Garage Supervisor. “It was geared toward the people running the machines every day, and I know even our experienced operators picked up some new tricks to make them better at their jobs. You really don’t see that extended type of support from anyone else.”
As for Lerch, Assistant Supervisor of the entire Tippecanoe County department with 35 years of experience, it’s the affordability and dependability that make the relationship unique. “What’s nice about our financing program with Deere is it also includes a maintenance agreement, which to me is really affordable. Past suppliers would always try to find ways out of covering things, but now we have no problem — when we make a call, Deere is there.” And just what does that mean to taxpayers? “At the end of the day, it means everyone is happy. That’s the biggest thing.”
THE CHARIOT OF CHOICE
Helping cover a collective 1,600+ miles of roadway for the Boone County and the Tippecanoe County Highway Departments in Indiana are the John Deere 772GP Motor Graders. “These workhorses run year-round maintaining roads and pummeling snow. The six-wheel drive is awesome in the winter,” says Nick Parr, Operations Manager for Boone County. “When there’s a lot of snow, you’re bound to get a truck hung up. Now instead of calling a wrecker, the graders can pull them out, no problem.”
The Boone County and Tippecanoe County Highway Departments are serviced by West Side Tractor Sales, Lafayette, Indiana.