Manufacturer emphasizes dealer support, solutions at tech summit

Jack Zemlicka, Technology Editor

As the integrated solutions manager for a growing John Deere dealership network, Jeff Buyck of Gettysburg, S.D.-based C&B Operations, acknowledges that customer service is an evolving process when it comes to precision farming technology.

While patience can be a virtue when negotiating a technical difficulty, one thing farmers don’t like to do when they have a problem with a display is wait for help. This is one of the reasons Buyck recently began offering Deere’s new Remote Display Access program.

For $350 per year, subscribers are able to connect via the Internet from the tractor cab with dealer technicians or farm owners to solve navigation problems without having to wait for someone to physically service the device. Dealer technicians can remotely see the same display as the operator and walk them through a resolution.

Buyck says the Remote Display Access has cut down on travel time for C&B technicians and increased their availability to customers. Instead of driving perhaps 30 miles to spend 30 seconds fixing a problem, he says, Deere customers with the Remote Display Access can be up and running in a matter of minutes.

“As a dealer of tomorrow, we are always constantly looking for ways to reinvent ourselves,” Buyck says, “and we’ve come to realize that the next step for our dealership is going to be improving the way we service our customers through the delivery of that service.”

“We're changing our dealer organization. We're asking them to step up and do
these kinds of services. What we're providing is
the infrastructure."

— Jerry Roell,
Director of FarmSight for John Deere

Remote Display Access launched in June and was one of several precision farming advances John Deere showcased at its technology summit in Des Moines, Iowa on June 28-29.

The platform was used to expand Deere’s FarmSight Services, a customized data management product, for growers. New features include, a centralized web portal where growers can manage and share data and John Deere Mobile Weather, a real-time program that uses mounted sensors to relay relative humidity and wind speed while in the field.

The new products, designed to improve farmer efficiency in the field, increase the obligation of dealers to learn about the technology and make sure they deliver the service support, says Jerry Roell, FarmSight director for John Deere.

A critical element in the success of the new technology, Roell says, is dealers embracing the tools to help growers make the right decisions, which in turn results in quality customer service.

“We’re changing our dealer organization,” he says. “We’re asking them to step up and do these kinds of services. What we’re providing is the infrastructure.”

Buyck says C&B provides internal and external training on Remote Display Access for precision technicians to make sure they are well equipped to answer questions from customers.

The last thing Buyck’s says he wants is for someone to spend the money on the service and not be able to reap the rewards.

“That customer is going to rely on us to make sure that new machine is spraying at its optimum,” he says. “Remote Display Access is going to allow us to access their input and be proactive with their needs.”

While the program is garnering favor with Deere dealers like Buyck, there are a few wrinkles to the new technology.

To utilize the system, operators need John Deere’s GreenStar 3 2630 Display and be subscribers to JDLink Modular Telematics Gateway – Deere’s Internet-based program that monitors machine performance.

Dealer access to Remote Display Access is also at the discretion of the operator, which means that technicians cannot simply check in on a farmer’s display if there is a problem, without authorization.

“A dealer cannot have access unless a farm manager approves it,” Dave Mulder, senior product manager at John Deere Intelligent Solutions Group, says. “There has to be that agreement and relationship with the dealership. So the farm managers are still totally in control.”

Still, Buyck says those are minor obstacles to overcome and Remote Display Access has been a popular feature on new combines sold by C&B because operators have been able to quickly identify and solve display problems, as well as increase equipment uptime.

“It’s a beautiful thing when we know exactly what to service on the machine if there is an issue,” Buyck says.