Tech strives for dealer service at highest level
As an 18-year-old who was raised on a dairy farm just down the road from the Vermeer headquarters in Pella, Iowa, Jerry Bandstra wasn’t impressed after his first encounter with a Vermeer baler. Thirty years into his career with the company, it’s safe to say that mindset has changed…a lot.
“In 1972, I was 18 and knew Gary Vermeer when they first tried to bale corn stalks with a 605 baler. It definitely didn’t work well at first,” Bandstra said. “If somebody would have told me then ‘You’ll be working for that company for 30 years,’ I would have said they’re absolutely crazy.”
Since then, Bandstra’s passion for farmers’ and ranchers’ success and a knack for understanding the engineering ins and outs of hay equipment — especially large round balers — has driven a diverse career over the last three decades. In his education and experience since, the Vermeer service technician has learned from both successes and failures, always keeping his focus on what he can do to help his customers (Vermeer dealers) to be their best.
Bandstra has long been involved in engineering Vermeer products and shares six patents relating to hay and forage equipment. He used his farm experience and machinery expertise in his work first as an engineering technician, then later as a service technician.
“I always want to learn. That’s ingrained in my background,” said Bandstra. “I have always worked to understand what our engineers are doing and what they want to accomplish for our customers. We live and breathe this equipment.”
"I have always worked to understand what our engineers are doing and what they want to accomplish for our customers. We live and breathe this equipment."
Today, Bandstra spends much of his time working directly with Vermeer dealers. With such a rapidly evolving product line in the forage industry, he sees the importance of well-equipped dealers to not just answer customer questions, but provide the highest level of customer service possible.
“When we see a problem, we find a solution. A lot of time, that involves a lot of human nature and intuition. It’s backing up our brand promise on customer service with a good dose of common sense,” he said. “That’s where our farm experience is so valuable — we have empathy for our customers; our past experiences help us put ourselves in their shoes, and we get familiar with their expectations.”