Contractors braved the Carolina heat to test drive some of John Deere’s latest equipment.
RALEIGH, N.C. – At a John Deere event in mid-June, contractors said communication was one of the biggest challenges they were facing while operating their businesses.
A contractor from Cleveland said workers would wait two weeks to tell him they needed string for their string trimmers. One of the solutions presented for his problem during a roundtable discussion, which was part of John Deere’s 2014 Quality FIRST Factory Tour, was to have one person check the vehicles before roll call every morning.
The New Jersey-based contractor had one employee come in at 4 a.m. and make sure all the trucks were fueled up and stocked for the day. If one crew was weed whacking, he had to make sure they had the equipment they would need for the day. He said having one person in charge of it all made it easier to keep track of everything, and basically eliminate the chance a crew would get out to a site and realize they needed something.
The other challenge frequently discussed at the event was finding employees with valid driver’s licenses, will pass drug tests and would work for industry wages. One solution was to hire in mass and keep the best ones.
“We hire a bunch of guys at the beginning and it’s like a football draft,” the New Jersey contractor said.
Along with business discussions, contractors and dealers had the opportunity to see how the equipment they use every day is made, as well as try out new John Deere equipment and speak one-on-one with the John Deere staff.
During the week, four sessions were held, each lasting two days. The first day started with a factory tour at John Deere’s Turf Care in Raleigh, N.C. The hour-long tour showed the process of building commercial mowing and golf equipment from start to finish, highlighting the fabrication of the Mulch-On-Demand deck, the different steps in the paint process and the welding done by robots.
Following the tour, attendees were taken outside to test drive gators, tractors, mowers and construction equipment.