Cat® Dealer Ziegler Celebrates 100 Years of Service to Customers

“Sell the best equipment, provide the best service.” That was the philosophy Wm. H. Ziegler instilled in employees when he founded his company in 1914—and 100 years later, the team at Ziegler continues to live those words.

Early in his career, Ziegler sold machinery to railroads and learned that idle equipment cost customers valuable time and money. He realized the key to success was not just selling quality equipment, but also backing it up with prompt service and parts availability.

That was an unusual concept in 1914, when distributors handled sales and manufacturers performed service. But Ziegler pushed ahead, borrowing $1,400 to open an office in Minneapolis to execute his service concept.

It was money well spent. In 1920, the Ziegler Company became the distributor for the C.L. Best Tractor Co. — which merged with the Holt Manufacturing Company in 1925 to form the Caterpillar Tractor Co. In 1925, Ziegler, as well as similar companies that spanned over 45 countries, became the first members of the Caterpillar dealer network. Over the years, Ziegler acquired other dealerships and today represents the full line of Cat® equipment at 21 locations throughout Minnesota and western, central, and northeastern Iowa.

“Over the years, Ziegler has gone through immense changes — horsepower to machine power, economic ups and downs, and vast product line expansions,” says William L. Hoeft, President and CEO. “But the corporate philosophy has remained the same: If the customer is successful, then Ziegler will be successful.”

In 2014, as they celebrate 100 years, Ziegler’s 1,600 employees remain true to their founder’s motto—a focus on customer service that has transformed the company into one of the largest, most successful Cat dealers in North America.

Cat® dealer Ziegler in 1926
Much has changed in the 100 years since Cat® dealer Ziegler was founded — except for the company’s laser focus on customer service.

Machines Can be Bought. Relationships Have to be Built.

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