With John Deere celebrating their 175th year, John Deere Turf Care recently hosted a customer event introducing contractors to the business' products and production processes. A tour of their North Carolina factory was followed by product walk-a-rounds and roundtable discussions touching on pressing Green Industry topics.
Factory tour and demos
Dealers, contractors, and media attending the event were given a factory tour of the manufacturing of the professional mowing, golf course, and precision mowing equipment.
There are 65 welders and 20 robots housed within the clean factory. The Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is systematic and efficient, ensuring timely delivery of products to dealerships. Production is scheduled carefully around dealer orders placed in the beginning of the year and throughout the selling season. Dealers are also able to access the inventory of other dealers in the event that product is not available at the dealer's discretion.
"Pick lights" for each product that is going through the line that tell assemblers which parts need to be used on that particular piece of equipment. Cameras also monitor the work, taking snapshots and assessing whether or not the equipment construction is being done properly. If the camera finds an error, the technician's screen will flash red and halt the process. They then go back over their last steps to correct the error.
Throughout each day, 10% of the daily factory volume is randomly audited. If a piece of equipment is found to have an error, the previous 10 produced on that line are also audited. If there is an error in that group of 10, the 10 before it are also tested. This process is repeated until no errors are found.
Following the Six Sigma business management strategy—removing the causes for defects and variance in manufacturing—all John Deere factories operate with these same processes and procedures to ensure timely production of quality products.
Event attendees were also given the opportunity to demo equipment after a run-through of each unit's features and specifications by John Deere representatives. Representatives from partners Honda and Stihl were also present to talk with dealers and contractors. Stihl handheld products as well as Honda generators and mowers were also available for demo.
Dealers, contractors, media, and John Deere representatives all sat down to a series of five lively roundtable discussions. The discussions covered topics such as financing, customer service and support, service and parts management, commercial work products, and fuel trends.
All participants likely benefitted from the discussion. It provided contractors with the opportunity to interact with and learn from other contractors that are not direct competitors. Contractors were able to learn from their peers and gain more information about what it would be like to work with the John Deere brand and products. Dealer attendees and John Deere representatives gained insight into what challenges their contractor customers face and how they can help them to meet the demands of doing business in the Green Industry.