Services“Coro­n­avirus crisis shows the bene­fits of Connected Support”

With Connected Support, John Deere sales part­ners can actively support their customers from afar. Matthias Steiner, respon­sible for customer support at John Deere, explains how exactly it works and what bene­fits it offers during the corona crisis.

Mr Steiner; until now, the idea of “Connected Support” has not really been promoted by John Deere. What are the reasons behind this?

That’s true, in the past we have used Connected Support Connected Support at most as a partial feature, for example Expert Alert. In order to provide Connected Support as a service, we essen­tially needed three elements that work together: Firstly, a telemetry-enabled machine, which allows the trans­mis­sion of data collected on the machine being used, as well as the customer’s consent to transmit the data. Secondly, we needed special John Deere tools, able to auto­mat­i­cally eval­uate the machine data; and thirdly, trained John Deere sales part­ners. The sales part­ners can then carry out Connected Support based on the data eval­u­a­tion – some­times even without a mechanic needing to be on-site.

For Connected Support, we need three elements: A telemetry-enabled machine, special tools from John Deere and trained sales part­ners.

Which John Deere machines are telemetry-enabled and what does that mean exactly?

All trac­tors from the 6M, 6R, 7R, 8R, 9R series; the combines from Zweibrücken (Germany) and the USA; as well as the self-propelled forage harvesters and self-propelled sprayers, can be equipped with the JDLink telemetry module.

A total of about 215,000 machines are equipped with JDLink world­wide. JDLink should not be confused with the StarFire Receiver, which is required for preci­sion farming. JDLink is used solely for the trans­mis­sion of machine data collected from sensors attached to the machine, for example. You can think of it as a mobile phone that simply trans­mits data.

Connected Support

Start your work every day with the good feeling that expe­ri­enced and trained experts take care of you and your machines.To Connected Support

Where is the data trans­ferred to?

The machine data is first made avail­able to the customer via their MyJohn­Deere account. John Deere has devel­oped special appli­ca­tions like the Oper­a­tions Centre which allow the customer to read and process their machine data (e.g. fuel consump­tion, perfor­mance values or geographic loca­tions). If the customer has also given their consent, the machine data provided via JDLink can be further analysed and eval­u­ated.

For this purpose, John Deere has devel­oped algo­rithms for error detec­tion and machine opti­mi­sa­tion based on historic and anonymised machine data. These algo­rithms auto­mat­i­cally iden­tify signs of possible tech­nical or perfor­mance-related prob­lems with the machine. If a poten­tial machine problem is detected in this way, the system gener­ates what is known as an Expert Alert, which is forwarded to the respon­sible sales partner.

What happens then with the Expert Alert?

The Expert Alert is trans­ferred to the Machine Dash­board of the sales partner who is assigned to the customer or machine. On the Machine Dash­board, the sales partner can see the status of their customers’ JDLink machines. A list is displayed on a screen and constantly moni­tored. The list is ordered in such a way that the most serious faults appear at the top and are there­fore easy to iden­tify. Each indi­vidual Expert Alert describes both the symp­toms that are appearing on the machine and the under­lying problem. The Expert Alert simul­ta­ne­ously suggests a solu­tion to rectify the fault. It also lists any spare parts required for a repair.

The data from a customer’s machine will only be auto­mat­i­cally analysed by the algo­rithms to generate an Expert Alert and displayed on their distributor’s Machine Dash­board if the customer has given their consent.

Does every JDLink machine auto­mat­i­cally appear on the list or does the customer have to do some­thing?

John Deere takes the topic of data protec­tion very seri­ously. The data from a customer’s machine will only be auto­mat­i­cally analysed by the algo­rithms to generate an Expert Alert and displayed on their distributor’s Machine Dash­board if the customer has given their consent. Only with such consent can customers benefit from the poten­tial of John Deere Connected Support and receive proac­tive support from their sales partner.

With Connected Support, the sales partner can access the customer’s machine display from the office. This means prob­lems with the machine can often be solved straight away.

So, what does Connected Support look like?

That depends on the indi­vidual situ­a­tion. If an Expert Alert appears, the machine is normally still func­tioning. The sales partner contacts the customer and discusses the next steps, for example by arranging a work­shop repair or a repair on the machine directly at the customer’s premises. Some­times it is neces­sary to carry out further diag­nos­tics on the machine to prop­erly prepare for a repair. Service ADVISOR Remote allows these diag­noses to be made without an engi­neer being on site. The repair can be prepared while the machine is still working. This minimises down­time.

Are there other forms of Connected Support?

Some­times a customer simply needs a soft­ware update or is not satis­fied with the perfor­mance of a machine that is still fully func­tional. In such cases, the sales partner can connect directly to the customer’s machine from the office using Remote Display Access (remote support) to opti­mise the machine settings. If neces­sary, the sales partner can also carry out a soft­ware update with the help of Service ADVISOR Remote.

The North Italian distrib­utor AgriB­er­tocchi assists a customer in adjusting their new John Deere 1725NT maize planter directly from the office.

John Deere Connected Support also serves to keep machine down­times as low as possible and to fully exploit the machine’s perfor­mance poten­tial. But what does this have to do with coro­n­avirus?

As we all know, northern Italy has been very heavily impacted by the coro­n­avirus pandemic. Strict lock­down rules are in place and our sales part­ners are not allowed to visit their customers. Our Italian marketing manager told us about an instance near Bergamo where a new type 1725NT maize planter was deliv­ered to a contractor. The initial set up of this machine is very complex and time-consuming and was completed solely using Remote Display Access. By the end, the machine was perfectly set up and the customer was fully able to work. Without the Connected Support of the John Deere sales partner, this would not have been possible in current times.