ServicesQuiz: Spare Parts for the World

John Deere’s Euro­pean Parts Distri­b­u­tion Centre (EPDC) in Bruchsal, Germany, ensures that farmers all over the world are quickly supplied with the vital spare parts they need. But what happens behind the scenes at John Deere’s largest dispatch and logis­tics centre?

A tractor has to run – espe­cially at harvest time – and farmers all over Europe expect this from their machines. But break­downs and wear and tear happens, and this is when farmers look to their dealers to quickly get them back up and running.

John Deere offers solu­tions like its Expert Alert to detect fail­ures before they occur, however, even proac­tive repair doesn’t mean much without the right spare parts being avail­able. To ensure farmers aren’t left wanting, the 650 members of staff at the EPDC work day in, day out to ensure that spare parts always arrive where they are needed – and as quickly as possible.

New parts incoming

At the centre’s incoming goods depart­ment, staff at 14 docks receive parts from external suppliers and John Deere plants from all over the world. The parts are regis­tered, repack­aged in several steps, and then made ready for storage. Around 94% of all goods are stored on the same day of arrival. When partic­u­larly urgent parts arrive, they are sent directly to dispatch without going through the ware­house, speeding up the process to get the parts to where they need to be.

Can you guess…

On average, how many lorries arrive at the incoming goods depart­ment each day?

  • 20 lorries per day
  • 30 lorries per day
  • 45 lorries per day


Around 45 lorries arrive at the incoming goods depart­ment every day, with 75% coming from within Germany and 25% as imported deliv­eries.

Space-saving storage

Most parts are stored in the high-bay pallet ware­house; an auto­mated process involving a loading robot that accepts the parts and sorts them into avail­able compart­ments. The ware­house is almost completely dark as the robot does not need any light to find its way around. The height of the EPDC building allows for the storage of many parts in a compact area.

Can you guess…

How many different types of parts are stored in the EPDC

  • 150.000 part types
  • 270.000 part types
  • 350.000 part types


At the EPDC, about 350,000 different types of parts are stored. John Deere ensures that spare parts are avail­able for at least 15 years after a series has been discon­tinued.

Rapid pace

The so-called high-frequency zone A0 is the most active zone in the EPDC. In this area, staff pick 60% of all goods dispatched from the site. It is where smaller parts are stored, and where staff pick and assemble them for each order. To do this, they run through the main aisle with an elec­tric trolley and collect the parts they need from the side aisles. A ‘purchasing list’ has all the items in the correct order of their storage loca­tions.

Can you guess…

How quickly staff can pick parts for a ‘machine-down’ order and get them ready for dispatch?

  • Within 45 minutes
  • Within 60 minutes
  • Within 120 minutes


It can take as little as 45 minutes to have parts for a ‘machine-down’ order picked and ready for dispatch.

Ready for take-off

When parts are shipped by air freight, every minute counts. That is why the EPDC has its own secu­rity area for packing air freight. Only specially trained staff who have been checked by the German Federal Avia­tion Authority are autho­rised to work in this area. Oper­ating a secu­rity area means parts are not required to be scru­ti­nised at the airport, and there­fore make it onto the plane and to the retailer more quickly.

Can you guess…

How much faster the secu­rity area makes the air freight process?

  • Half a day
  • A day
  • Two days


The air freight secu­rity area makes the process at least one day faster.

On-route to the dealer

EPDC staff currently load fully assem­bled ship­ments at 17 docks; 360 vehi­cles leave the centre every week, including 140 lorries, 200 trans­port vans, and 25 containers. To accom­mo­date the strong growth of the EPDC, John Deere is currently expanding the capacity of the dispatch area by 11 addi­tional docks. This will give staff more space and capacity to send out goods to customers even faster.

Can you guess…

What propor­tion of all EPDC ship­ments go to coun­tries within the EU?

  • 70 %
  • 80 %
  • 90 %


80 % of all ship­ments go to coun­tries within the Euro­pean Union. The remaining 20 % is sent to coun­tries outside.