Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

How’s the service around here?

Tom Wall Published on 10 October 2013

Are you in the “products business” or the “service business”? Not your company … you. The answer for your company is usually pretty easy – that depends on what you sell. But what about you?

Sure, your company might produce and sell things. But chances are, almost everyone on your team, from top to bottom, is in the service industry.



Let’s say you own a dairy. Most of us in agriculture call you a dairy producer. But … you don’t actually produce milk, your cows do. So maybe a milk harvester would be a more appropriate name.

But … you don’t actually harvest milk these days, you have employees who help do that. And even though we call these people milkers, the truth is … they don’t actually milk the cows either. Technically, they prepare cows to be milked and attach a machine that does the actual milking.

So … what is it that you do again? Technically, you run the company that owns the cows that produce the milk that is harvested by the machines that your employees attach. There, that was simple.

So why does any of that matter? Maybe it doesn’t. That depends on how you see your role and each of your employees’ role at your dairy. If you strongly believe that you produce something, then none of this will probably resonate.

But if you can stand back and see that your true role as a leader is to provide a valuable service to another person or an animal, then hopefully all of this will make sense.


In your position as an owner or manager, your true role is to provide a service to the people on your team. You tell your employees what to do and when to do it; you teach them how you’d like it done and explain why it’s so important.

But more than anything, you bring value to your product-selling company by providing services like communication, training, encouragement, accountability and discipline to your people.

And how does that bring value to you and your dairy? Your consistent guidance and support help your employees do their job better.

You see, your employees are service providers, too. Every day, they sell you their time by providing your company with a top-notch service caring for your cattle and your equipment. When you provide quality service to your team, they’re more capable of providing better service back to your animals and your dairy.

A lot of people in the dairy industry like to say that “it’s all about the cow.” And I agree, it’s hard to argue with the creature that’s making 100 percent of the product that you sell every day.

But … day after day, your cows depend on your people and the services they provide them. Ultimately, your product depends on your service, and your people depend on you. PD



Tom Wall
Dairy Coach
Dairy Interactive, LLC