At the John Deere Turf Care factory in North Carolina (USA), the new assembly line is as safe, intuitive and easy to use as the fairway, rough and trim mowers it produces. The custom-built line took three years to plan, yet is based on a simple insight: the easier something is, the better the results will be.
On the new line, operators can walk up to any station and know exactly what to do. A computer display shows them how to proceed and ‘pick lights’ identify the parts they need. Once they’re done, they have to complete a checklist before the unit can move to the next step. As a result, there is virtually no room for human error.
As so often, it took a lot of hard work to make things this simple. Tim Manton, Manufacturing Engineering Manager and his colleagues stripped out the entire assembly line in just two days, then built the new one from scratch in under four weeks. In the process, they installed around 250 new ‘mistake proofing’ items ranging from cameras to integrated torque tools and RFID sensors.
A good machine helps operators do a great job. So does a good assembly line.
To catch any remaining quality issues before mowers leave the factory, the end-of-line audit procedure was completely redesigned too. Thanks to the new transparency and start-to-finish quality control, customers can be even more confident of getting the quality and value they expect from John Deere.