Topcon Solutions Story
The current lineup of 13 TSS locations grew out of the acquisitions seven years ago of several independent Topcon dealerships. One of the early purchases included Griner & Schmitz, a Kansas City-area Topcon dealer with a 100+ year history and a specialty in land surveying. According to Jim Martin, the former G&S manager and current Topcon Director of Business Development, the goals for establishing TSS were many.
“Foremost was the fact that Topcon wanted our own channel for getting products into the hands of customers,” he said. “However, we didn’t want to do that to the detriment of our existing dealers, particularly those with a well-established local history; we always need them to be a part of that effort. But we wanted the many benefits that come from a company-run operation — the freedom to introduce new products, for example. Our stores could also serve as a test bed/incubator for new Topcon products, something we can’t necessarily expect of a dealer. Ultimately, we wanted to take this collection of former dealerships and bring them together with a common mission and a unified, recognizable image for customers everywhere.”
With a number of stores already in place, TSS underwent a major reorganization in 2019 that sought to further prove the axiom “in unity there is strength.” At that time, each store under the TSS umbrella operated semi-independently, with its own store manager. The changes brought about a more unified structure, with a nationwide professional services group for training and support, a single national sales structure, and more.
“Now we have sales managers whose main job is to help salespeople become better at what they do,” said Martin. “We share resources, including training personnel who move around to where they are needed. Rather than having someone at each store expected to ‘know it all,’ we now might have an instructor teach a class at one store and then, two weeks later, be teaching that same class at another store. It’s a far more effective way to handle it.”
In establishing the TSS lineup, Martin acknowledges that the company has also undertaken many of the headaches that an independent dealership would normally assume — costs of overhead, additional responsibility, etc. “While those do present challenges of their own, they are offset by the control that comes with having our own retail outlet,” he said.