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The right energy equipment expands co-op's business

Jared Bookhardt, certified energy specialist for CHS Southwest Grain, fills a tote of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) from his DEF bulk tank.
For a business to be successful, it needs to do a lot of things. At the top of the list are: make a profit and meet customers’ needs. 

For CHS Southwest Grain in Dickinson, ND, both were an issue when it came to diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), which is one of the most efficient ways for diesel engines to meet EPA emission requirements. “Having a reliable, affordable supply is a must for customers,” says Jared Bookhardt, certified energy specialist at CHS Southwest Grain. 

For years, the co-op had been buying DEF in totes from a supplier and just couldn’t make a profit or offer a competitive price to customers. “Our competition got DEF right from manufacturers and we couldn’t keep up in regards to price. We were paying two margins,” says Bookhardt. “Price is really important when people are buying DEF hundreds of gallons at a time.” 

Bookhardt knew they needed to move to bulk, so he called Andrew Manchester, account manager for CHS Energy Equipment who specializes in bulk DEF, bulk oils and fuel tanks. “CHS Southwest Grain thought they had a small DEF operation at about 20,000 gallons per year, but it was very clear they could save money and by increasing their margin they could pay off their equipment in under a year,” says Manchester. 

The sell was easy for Bookhardt. And the decision paid off almost immediately. By installing a 6,500-gallon bulk DEF tank, CHS Southwest Grain went from paying more than $2 per gallon for DEF to less than 80 cents. “We could lower our sale price to stay competitive and still make a great margin,” says Bookhardt. Their first spring, the co-op sold 50,000 gallons of DEF alone and paid off the $15,000 investment in three months. 

“We’re growing our gallons with current customers and gaining new customers every month,” says Bookhardt. “We’re one of the best prices in town, and we just couldn’t do that without our bulk DEF tank.” 

Plus, CHS Southwest Grain can expand its DEF offerings to customers, including delivery. “Before we had our bulk tank, I had to call my competition to deliver to customers. We’ve been able to eliminate that,” says Bookhardt. 

Bookhardt’s partnership with CHS Energy Equipment has grown beyond DEF as well. CHS Southwest Grain sells pumps, hoses, nozzles and other energy equipment – and CHS Energy Equipment is a key source in helping Bookhardt decide what to stock. “The team helps us find the best product with the best warranty so our customers can trust the products we’re selling,” says Bookhardt, who is in touch with CHS regularly for product recommendations and price quotes for his customers. “Since we’ve been relying on the expertise of the CHS Energy Equipment group, our patrons are coming back to us with fewer and fewer issues on their equipment.”  

“Partnering with the CHS Energy Equipment group has changed our business. We’re able to make more of a profit and we’re able to offer new services to our customers,” says Bookhardt. “They’re a great resource for us and are true experts on all of the equipment our customers need to run their businesses.”  

To find out how CHS Energy Equipment can help your business, call 1-800-852-8186.