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John Deere

December 22, 2012

Filed under: manufacturing,review — Terry Wohlers @ 20:40

I visited John Deere’s world headquarters in Moline, Illinois on Thursday. What an impressive place! The day started with a tour of the North American Parts Distribution Center. It is the second largest parts distribution center in the U.S. and absolutely massive. Only Ford Motor has a larger one. To give you a feel for its scale, 25 mm (1 inch) of rain on its roof produces 5.7 million liters (1.5 million gallons) of water, which drains into two ponds. The facility represents more than 500,000 different part numbers, consisting of millions of parts. If a customer wants a part from a 1942 John Deere tractor, for example, the company either has it or will find it somewhere.

The morning continued with an extensive tour of John Deere Harvester Works—the most advanced combine facility in the world. No one in the Western Hemisphere has more lasers at work in one facility than this one. John Deere’s largest combine can harvest 18 rows of corn in one pass and sells for $700,000. Every combine in the plant had been sold, and we saw many of them. The painting capabilities are like none other that I’ve seen anywhere. Major assemblies hang from an automated gantry system and are dipped in more than a dozen separate liquid solutions, each the size of a swimming pool. Together, they clean, prepare, and coat the metal parts that must withstand extreme weather conditions for decades.

John Deere is a world class company, with the customer being its highest priority. Employees do what it takes to make them happy. Generations of employees have worked for John Deere and you can tell that they have a great deal of pride and respect for the company. Medical facilities are on site at both places, an indication of how the company values its employees. John Deere has created a brand, reputation, and global market share that few other large American companies have been able to achieve.