Tractor Zoom turned to CloudFactory for data enrichment services to quickly clean dirty data from farm equipment auctions and equipment dealers. The result? Listings are quickly published, and farmers can find and purchase the equipment they need.
Established in 2017 to create an easy online shopping experience for farmers, agtech company Tractor Zoom helps people find, evaluate, and value farm machinery faster than they ever have before — whether the machinery is for sale through a farm equipment auction or dealer.
By connecting buyers — farmers looking for equipment — with sellers — auction companies and equipment dealers — around the world, Tractor Zoom has overhauled the advertising process and simplified decision-making while increasing available inventory options.
Powering the platform is proprietary software that not only stores real-time data and valuation information about the equipment being sold, but also helps lenders, government agencies, and dealers understand how current market conditions impact value.
From 1,600+ auctioneers and dealers, Tractor Zoom receives data about each piece of equipment for sale. The data comes in many forms — from written descriptions to spreadsheets — and includes everything from make and model to engine hours. Different OEMs use different terms to refer to equipment parts, and these terms often contrast with the terms Tractor Zoom uses internally.
Regardless of where the data comes from — or which terms are used — it all needs to be captured and cataloged in datasets for buyers and processed and standardized in a specific way.
The Tractor Zoom team initially tried to do the work internally, putting in many hours behind computer screens to manually catalog data and pull in images and descriptions.
“We tried applying different AI techniques to clean the data,” says Kyle McMahon, Tractor Zoom founder and CEO. “But we quickly found that the data we ingest from our partners is so dirty that AI solves nothing. We needed clean datasets first.”
As the company started to grow, its team quickly realized there was no way to keep up, says Matt Carstens, customer success manager. “We would’ve been hiring for six months to add at least 10 staff — or hiring people through a staffing agency that we still would’ve had to manage.”
We wouldn't have been able to handle this volume of data if we didn’t have a partner like CloudFactory that could scale with us.
CloudFactory’s data enrichment services now handle uploaded inventory for Tractor Zoom — dirty data and images from farm equipment auctions and specific lots. Our analysts confirm that the provided equipment listing is correct, add key attributes and supplementary information about the machinery, and categorize the listing in Tractor Zoom’s proprietary software. Tractor Zoom performs a quick quality check of the data, and then the listing goes live on the website.
“We may have a piece of equipment described as a JD S680 — and that’s all the information we have,” says McMahon. “We can leverage our internal knowledge to fill in the details, but CloudFactory analysts are also trained to read the description, look at the image, and identify it as a 2014 John Deere S680, for example. From there, they know to look for four-wheel drive and power-bin fold features, as well as engine and separator hours.”
Working with CloudFactory has allowed Tractor Zoom to increase the number of data points captured per piece of equipment, which McMahon says they wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. Today, the company manages the attributes of approximately 30,000 equipment makes and models.
“Because we operate in a seasonal business, one of the standouts with CloudFactory is how quickly they can scale up and scale down based on what we need,” McMahon says. “Their level of expertise plus the ability to scale just made sense for us.”
With CloudFactory’s help, Tractor Zoom has grown from handling $2 billion to $5 billion in assets in the last two years.
“Using CloudFactory to make sure the data is clean, cataloged, and processed the way we want it has changed our efforts,” says Carstens. “It allows us to work with more auctioneers and bring in more advertising dollars since CloudFactory is taking care of the cataloging side.”
“Their team has helped us scale as we continue to ingest data,” says McMahon. “We wouldn’t have been able to scale up that significantly with our own team.”
The company is also able to list equipment on its website sooner so users can find and purchase the farm equipment they need faster.
“We’ve been very happy with CloudFactory’s work,” says McMahon. “With their help, we believe we will continue to scale as we go from $5 billion to $10 billion and $10 billion to $20 billion in assets advertised.”
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