“The products we supply may be quite similar to our competitors and any changes in the product can be easily copied“, says Hari, CEO of Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited. “It is a service which is the real differentiator. It is invisible to competition. Relationships are intangible and a word of mouth can create a forest fire of enthusiasm for your product“. He should know what he is talking about – TAFE sells 50,000 tractors in the domestic market and 8,000 overseas every year. They have an ongoing, company – wide innovation process with a president’s award for innovation. The jury makes a site visit, and the winner and his family have dinner with the president. Tractors at Home, for example, is a program that provides on- site service by teams on motorcycles. The TAFE tractor sections create a Domino’s Pizza type of service by taking the company to the farmer instead of waiting for the farmer to come to the company. “Listen to the customer, he will tell you what he needs“, says Hari. “We are about to introduce a tamper – proof seal which will prevent pilferage of diesel“. Another recent innovation introduced has been the creation of a diesel tank, the inlet of which will not allow gas service stations to fill petrol in diesel vehicles, thereby ruining them.
New tractors applications were created by listening to the customer’s voice. For example, sugarcane harvesting tractor application to increase the productivity of sugarcane farmers has touched the lives of thousands of farmers. Using sophisticated laser technology, the back – breaking task of levelling fields has been taken over by laser levelling by tractors. Tractors have also been created for deep water paddling for paddy farmers in Andhra Pradesh.