Melanie Knapp Controller, Oliver Manufacturing

Purchasing equipment for your seed operation, regardless of type or function, is no small investment. In some cases it can tie up a large amount of capital, which can put small- or medium-sized businesses in a hard spot — no matter the financial environment.

Couple this with the fact that on-farm income has declined each of the past four to five years, which impacts farmers’ ability to spend and invest in their operations, and that directly impacts seed and equipment companies. There’s a whole domino effect, and we, too, have had to make adjustments.

As such, customers have been asking for longer terms on their capital investments. As a family business, we care about each of our customers and do our best to accommodate their needs. This includes assessing individual customer credit terms. However, we also acknowledge the financial and operating risks that come with offering extended terms, as we pay for labor and raw materials up front in the manufacturing world.

It is our responsibility as a company to recognize that we are not in the financing business; we are in the manufacturing business, and our business is making equipment to help customers with processing solutions that meet or exceed their expectations.

To help address this financing challenge Team Oliver stepped outside of the norm. Oliver has since teamed up with Pinnacle Capital Partners to offer customers more financing options and increased flexibility. Now, depending on customers’ needs, they can defer payments up to 180 days, make monthly payments or even seasonal payments.

Customers don’t have to go to their bank or tie up a line of credit to take advantage of this option. Pinnacle treats the equipment being purchased as the collateral, meaning customers don’t have to provide additional collateral.

We’ve tried to integrate this partnership with Pinnacle into our process and customer service model to make it as seamless as possible. This can all be done with the click of a button on our website. It’s a win-win-win scenario for all three parties involved.

While a tough economic environment takes a toll on the people involved with added stress, concern and often longer hours, it forces us to evaluate our practices and look outside what we would consider the “norm.” Often times, you can find new and better ways of doing things. During times such as this, when customers are more conservative with their dollars, what might you be able to change for the better?