Technical Field Expert

Published on Wed, 12/28/2016 - 2:12pm

Technical Field Expert

By Steve Weisman

For cattle producers across the country, reliable fencing is a must. That’s why so many producers turn to Bekaert (fencing.bekaert.com). Dating back to 1880 with barbed wire, Bekaert has continually expanded over the subsequent years to become an expert supplier of wire fencing for the agricultural market. Bekaert’s fencing products, which are American-made and produced in its Van Buren, AR manufacturing facility, are developed based on years of best practices and set the bar in terms of quality and durability.
In addition, Bekaert fencing products are protected by a wide range of coating solutions. These solutions range from Class 1 galvanized to Bekaert’s advanced coating of Zinc Aluminum, Bezinal®. Bekaert offers coating guarantees up to 40 years. At the same time, realizing that fencing must meet the needs of each individual producer, Bekaert offers expert advice to help its customers not only select the right product but to also provide help when installing the fencing.
As a matter of fact, Bekaert’s first priority is making sure the customer’s fencing project is successful the first time. With a sales force that has a combined 200+ years of experience in the fencing industry, Bekaert is looked upon as the true fence pros. One of the helpful fencing installation tools is Bekaert’s YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/draadbuddy). Several installation step-by-step videos provide key information for proper fence installation.

At the same time, a new addition to the Bekaert website is a link called “Ask the Fence Pro.” This is an extension of Bekaert’s belief of meeting the needs of its customers, all the while revolving around the running thread of “Better Together.” It is here that Steven Sarson, Bekaert’s technical fence installer expert, offers online technical support. Sarson, who has been with Bekaert for the past 16 years, has a passion: building fences. He enjoys helping producers with their questions.  
The Fence Installation: Frequently Asked Questions Library has several topics and answers about product lines, fence animal applications and installation suggestions. For instance, Sarson recently gave producers tips of the four top things livestock producers should consider when buying a fence:

1. Get it right the first time.
Consider these things when choosing your fence: animal type, terrain, location, and stocking density. Each combination will lead you to different configurations and products so it’s important to take the time to identify your specific requirements.

2. Fence Strength
Bigger isn’t always better. Although smaller in diameter, lighter high-tensile fencing products actually exceed the breaking strength of heavier, larger diameter low carbon fencing products.

3. Fence Longevity
Rusty fence — no thanks. Use Class 3 or Bezinal® coated wire to guarantee your fence will last up to 30 years. And don’t forget — your accessory materials are just as important and should also be galvanized.

4. Fence Value
Best bang for your buck. High tensile fences are stronger, longer-lasting, require less posts, install faster and easier, virtually eliminate maintenance, and cost less per foot than standard low carbon fence. All this leads to a lower total cost of ownership saving you dollars in the long run.    
Anyone from producers to weekend warriors with a specific fencing question can fill out a short form and submit the question to the Fence Pro. Sarson will then respond back to the producer with an answer. If need be, Sarson can call the producer to provide a one-on-one conversation.
Sarson believes that teamwork is the best way to handle fencing issues. “It’s really about learning from each other – production, sales, management and customers – all working together. I think I have probably built as many fences over the phone as I have built in person!”
In addition to the online service, Sarson also enjoys getting out and working with customers in person. “We do a lot of fencing demonstrations all over the country. They are very rewarding, and I’ve always enjoyed teaching and working with others, whether it’s with an individual, two or three people or a large group. I find it rewarding working together and putting it all together. Some of the most innovative ideas have come from our customers.”
Meanwhile, Keith Taylor, who has been with Bekaert for over 24 years, brings his knowledge of production processes to the customer. “Over that time, I’ve worked all the way through the different areas of fencing production. Most recently, I’ve moved to a position in which I listen to what our customers say and bring their suggestions back to our plant.”

Taylor’s position allows him to travel with the sales force to visit customers, to trade shows and to fencing demonstrations. “At Bekaert, we want to know what the customer is saying. Fencing is always changing, and we’re trying to make the best product that we can. For instance, I will take their suggestions for new products back to the plant and see what our engineers think.”
At the same time, Taylor is there as a troubleshooter. “If there are problems, we want to know what the issue is. We want to catch those little things and come up with a solution and fix the issue right away.”
Taylor says customers have appreciated what he is able to offer them. “We want our customers to know that we at Bekaert are always listening to their suggestions and looking for ways to constantly improve our products.”
For Curran Lehr, Bekaert’s Regional Sales Manager for the Mid Atlantic states, the year that he spent as a full time installer over 12 years ago has been extremely important for him to help his current customers. “I actually worked for one of our current customers, and we installed all kinds of fences. Probably the most common was the eight-foot tall deer fencing. That has really helped me understand the needs of both contractors and installers, especially when it comes to technical issues.”
Lehr believes communication helps on both ends. “Knowing the installation process gives us a better link with both the distributor/dealer and the installer. At the same time, we get valuable feedback on how products work, installation issues and also suggestions to make Bekaert products even better.”  

For more information about fencing, go to the Bekaert website (fencing.bekaert.com) or check out the new Bekaert Fencing Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bekaertfencing/).