Changing the game, one tire at a time.
On a typical day at Webb’s Machinery in Lamont, Alberta, employees see delivery of massive agricultural equipment and hundreds of tires that could weigh up to 1,800 kilograms each. When they arrive, tires need to be unloaded, stored or moved around.
This is pretty much what the company has been doing since it first opened its doors in 1933. What has changed since then is the volume of top-brand agricultural equipment that the business sells, resells and rents. Annual sales have gone from $2,687 in a single store to millions in six locations. And that kind of traffic has boosted the number of tires that come through the door – from dozens into thousands.
Changing tires with the times
What is also different now is the dealership’s method for handling tires, thanks to a game-changing invention by an Alberta farmer, Darcy Goossen. His brainchild, The TireGrabber, is a three-armed machine that latches firmly onto tires from tractors, sprayers, combines and other heavy machinery. Capable of handling more than 1,800 kilograms, it has made working with tires safer, simpler and more efficient.
“When I jump into the skid-steer now, unloading is a one-man operation with The TireGrabber,” says Dave Wilchak, Lamont service manager. “It’s easy to hook up to hydraulics so when a truck comes in with a load, the driver takes the straps off and I just grab the tires one at a time.” If tires are piled flat, he grips the top one, picks it up, deposits it on the lot and grabs the next one.
Wilchak adds that it usually takes only one other person to help guide tires onto their rims when using The TireGrabber. This is a far cry from the forklift days, when it took three or more workers to lift, angle and balance tires on the pallet forks. “Reducing the number of steps in the process and using a tool that does all the gripping and lifting makes the whole job faster and safer,” he says. “And the cost savings are huge when you need fewer people at an hourly rate of $145 (or $2 per minute).”
Some customers just need The TireGrabber for short periods, so they can rent the product from Webb’s. These include tire businesses and farmers who use it for sprayer tire changeovers.
“For a busy place like Webb’s Machinery, The TireGrabber is a great piece of technology that supports our goals of providing employees with safe and meaningful work,” says Wilchak. And that attracts exceptional teams who provide outstanding customer service – from the heart.