John Deere was recently ranked second in the InformationWeek 500, a title the company has earned by committing to huge technological advancements that have changed the way farmers view machine diagnostics.
According to InformationWeek, John Deere's revolutionary remote diagnostic technology can be used in both its agricultural and construction vehicles, and is expected to provide operators with never-before-seen customer relations. John Deere tractors are sometimes used in extremely remote locations, whether its a wheat harvester in the sprawling fields of Kansas or a corn farmer in the middle of Argentina. These operations are typically hours away from any John Deere service center - or a mechanic of any kind - which can lead to crippling downtime if a machine malfunctions.
However, with Deere's new service, a dealership can call a farmer, wherever they are, to tell them about a certain part that is wearing out, or that it is time for routine maintenance. This allows the producer to call a mechanic to fix the problem before it causes serious damage.
According to the news source, more than 40,000 Deere machines in 43 countries are equipped with remote preventive monitoring systems. The program began in 2011, and has already proven to capture machine readings, clear fall-alarm codes and even fix a problem remotely if it is found in the vehicle's software.
The technology is a marvel in the agricultural machinery world, however it did not arrive without struggles. One of the toughest challenges, the project's leaders said, was to coordinate their planning, deadlines and processes with other teams at John Deere, including the product engineering and marketing divisions.
"We had to align with these other product cycles and make sure we were ready to deliver it at the right time when it was ready from a marketing standpoint," said Patrick Webber, vice president of IT for John Deere. "As you do more of the consumer-oriented applications, you have to have really good discipline to make sure you're going to hit your dates, because you're working with a broader community."
John Deere is no stranger to high-tech equipment. The company's Green Tech business offers innovative landscape and irrigation management tools that aim to make agricultural management more efficient and cost-effective than ever before.