John Deere Uses Data Analytics to Help Dealers Save Warranty Costs

Data from thousands of connected machines flows through John Deere's central Machine Health Monitoring Center, enabling preventive maintenance that ultimately saves warranty costs.

Deere & Company, primarily known by its brand name John Deere, is the world’s largest farm machinery manufacturer. It also manufactures a range of machines used in construction and forestry. The company has factories throughout the world and distributes its products in more than 160 countries through nearly 5,000 independent retail dealers worldwide.

John Deere is well known as a company that uses data strategically ─ from customer service to product design manufacturing, and  from optimizing supplier and dealer networks to understanding market potential and anticipating demand. In 2019, John Deere ranked 13th overall in the American Innovation Index based on consumer ratings.

Monitoring machine health in real time

In the construction industry, machine uptime is the most critical factor to ensure maximum productivity, while keeping operating costs low. Most of John Deere’s construction machinery is equipped with telematics software that records machine behavior, including location, utilization hours, idle time, temperatures, fault codes, and fuel consumption. The data is streamed to the Cloud in real-time and from there to the monitoring system installed at the local dealership, as well as to John Deere’s Machine Health Monitoring Center located in the Dubuque Works Factory in Iowa.

Having the monitoring system at the dealership helps dealers provide faster and more efficient support to their customers. Dealers can use the recording of the machine to diagnose the machine problem remotely, so that the technician can bring the right parts to service the machine and fix it in one trip. If only software updates are required, the customer can download and install the software on the machine without a technician having to go on-site.

Collective intelligence across dealers and geographies

The machine monitoring network allows John Deere to keep track of the performance of their machines on a daily basis. About 90,000 machines are monitored in real time, allowing John Deere to draw collective intelligence across dealers and geographies.

The advanced data analytics tools detect patterns that match a machine’s problem or any other failure. By monitoring an entire connected fleet in real time, the expert analytics team in Dubuque can see if the same patterns show up on other machines in other geographies.

The team sends an alert to the local John Deere dealer, who then engages with the customer for preventive action to be taken. The intelligence allows dealers to repair machines quickly, with less trips and savings on warranty costs. Customers, too, are able to save on downtime costs.

Improving product design and repair protocols

The Machine Health Monitoring Center in Dubuque Works Factory is positioned strategically near the company’s engineering teams, product experts, and assembly lines. Whenever data reveals an issue that could stem from manufacturing error, the issue can be directly fixed on the assembly line itself. The collective experience helps John Deere develop new, improved maintenance and repair protocols that dealers can leverage. On top of this, data such as machine utilization, operating conditions and duty cycles becomes a powerful input into the designing of the next generation products at John Deere.

Using Location Intelligence for market development

John Deere equipment is sold to distributors, dealers, and associated companies for resale around the world. Most of the John Deere dealerships are independently owned. Using Location Technology, the Market Research Group at John Deere delivers market intelligence to Deere’s Dealer Development office, whose professionals advise dealers with data-driven investment predictions.

Take the example of a farm equipment dealership. To accurately predict the commercial value of a potential retail area, AI-powered analysis is conducted by looking at other currently active markets with similar characteristics of land cover, customer sales, and demographics, and projecting potential revenue for the new area based on past performance. These insights allow dealers to see opportunities at a granular level, boosting the odds of dealer success.

Other variables used when selecting probable locations for retail sites are, for instance, if the site can be easily accessed by target customers (such as those in big farm areas) and whether the site is within comfortable proximity to direct competitors. The data can also be used to decide which products to stock and which to be made visible from the road.

John Deere also uses Location Intelligence for its online and direct mail marketing campaigns. For example, homes with a few acres of grass are targeted with high-end lawnmower or small utility tractor promotions.

By providing continuous support and working closely with its dealerships, John Deere has created a healthy retail network with worldwide annual revenue of USD 37 billion.

Use of Data Analytics in John Deere

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