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GAME Equipment LLC: Providing All the Winning Pieces
GAME Equipment LLC (GAME) is a company based in Napoleonville, La., that in 2012 set in motion its second expansion in a 12-month time period because of its ongoing success as a specialized supplier. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) categorizes the company under farm equipment manufacturers, but GAME doesn’t supply gear found with cornfields or amber waves of grain. GAME custom-builds agricultural equipment specifically for the sugarcane and pineapple industry. David Chadwick, CEO of GAME, explains, “Instead of trying to be everything to everyone, we’re everything to a few.”
Those “few” are broken down into two groups. One group is large corporations that own sugarcane and pineapple plantations all across the globe; the majority of GAME’s pineapple business is from the Dole Food Company Inc. (Dole) and Del Monte Corporation (Del Monte Foods), despite the two of them being fiercely competitive. The second group is large sugar plantations located in the areas of South America, Hawaii, Africa and Asia where sugarcane grows prolifically. In fact, sugar is the most prolific crop by acres in the world, with corn sometimes tied but currently second. GAME provides all with the same level of high-quality machinery and customer service.
A Niche Manufacturer with Diverse Service
GAME can provide tractors and sprayers that are standardized in-house models, or the customer can be provided with a plethora of features and options that the company’s staff will mix and match per each new request. By bringing customers in at the design stage, GAME is able to practice its philosophy of delivering the product as specified with no room for miscommunication.
GAME usually starts with the basic chassis and customizes from there based on customer requests, and the staff is constantly responding and adapting to its client feedback. “We get a lot of customers coming to us and saying that the big guys just don’t know how to listen anymore, but we always respond to customer demands,” says Chadwick. “If they want it pink, they get it pink.” However, at the end of the day no options get in the way of the product’s specific design for harvesting a set type of crop.
Chadwick has been a veteran of the farm equipment supplier market for many years and has seen enough companies rise and fall to know that limiting versatility is a surefire way to kiss one’s business goodbye. He remembers all too well competitors like Big Bud, Steiger, and McConnell going out because of their focus on a single niche market. “They were all about wheat in the Midwest, and in the ’80s midwestern wheat crops hit an all-time low, and what happened?” muses Chadwick. From his experience at Deere & Company (John Deere), Chadwick has brought the idea of designing with a global perspective to GAME.
From the company’s 45,000-square foot headquarters, GAME exports 90 percent of its products around the world. The company has followed the corporations it services into the fields of Philippines, Columbia and Ethiopia to name a few. Distributing to the far corners of said countries is not only time-consuming but costly as well, which is why GAME ensures each and every aspect of the product is in optimal working order to minimize unnecessary expenses and reinforce customer satisfaction.
“We’re building that machine so you can take it to Ethiopia, run it around the clock 24/7 and it will have no problems,” articulates Chadwick.
Understanding and Delivering Customer Needs
To assure its dedication to consummate client service GAME maintains an intimate understanding of the farmers’ processes and requirements. “We truly get into the customer’s head and understand what he wants,” Chadwick confirms. The company doesn’t share the traditional mindset of other manufacturers by assuming there is a hardware store in a village with a population of 30; the farmers and agricultural mechanics serviced by GAME don’t have the luxury of a large dealership down the street. GAME’s ultimate goal is to deliver problem-free equipment, but if an issue arises the company is also ready and willing to provide the solution.
This is why GAME also exports the parts and equipment necessary to keep the machine running so that production isn’t lost during harvesting. The company’s contacts in Ethiopia and other countries stock the parts, which helps end-consumers avoid waiting through many days and rolls of red tape in the customs department. To reduce the number of needed parts, GAME designs all of its models with common components and systems allowing the customer to maintain an entire fleet with the same stock.
First and foremost GAME provides its impressive range of services for the sugarcane and pineapple business, but the company is exploring manufacturing tractors and sprayers for other crops, as well as a sandbagging machine and products for oil field work.
Farmers and agricultural businesses are seeing a slow upswing in the economy, but companies such as GAME learned quickly during the recent recession which fruits and vegetables became labeled as necessities and which were considered luxuries. With this in mind, GAME wants to be able to provide its goods and services to multiple sectors regardless of the economic climate. This is why the company focuses on gear that can have bells and whistles, but at its core provides a solid, integral service at a reasonable price.
When recent financials went into the negatives the farmers in the rugged terrain and climate of a place like Ethiopia weren’t looking for a glossy finish, but for something more utilitarian. “They need to move the sugarcane from point A to point B, and don’t need so many electronics on the dashboard,” says Chadwick. GAME can bring both to the table as needed for the application and as requested by the customer.
Though GAME is currently doing all manufacturing in the U.S., the company is always looking to expand further internationally to strengthen its market share. “It’s a global economy and our competitors are from all over the world,” says Chadwick. Before the company sets in motion any further plans for expansion it will assure that the quality of the product is never compromised.
Currently running at capacity, GAME consistently focuses on each client’s need for a durable product made to exact specifications. GAME Equipment LLC is driven to provide the best for its customers, and will continue delivering equipment and service that withstand the challenging conditions of both worldwide agriculture and the ever-shifting global economic clim