John Deere Ottumwa Works

Ottumwa, Iowa –

John Deere Ottumwa Works manufactures round balers, small square balers, pull-type forage harvesters, mower conditioners, and self-propelled windrowers. Spread across 120 acres, the Ottumwa, Iowa, facility has over 850 employees and makes over 10,000 units each year.

Results presented by Ray Spihlmann (Manager of Manufacturing Engineering OFP); Beth Takemoto (Project Lead); Joel Devore (Brake Engineer Support) at the QRM 2011 Conference.


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QRM Background

Focusing on the “primaries”, a section of the plant that included six laser cells and ten brakes, engineers at John Deere implemented QRM to eliminate frequent hot orders, reduce high amounts of rework and cut lead times.

Working with students and faculty at the UW-Madison Center for Quick Response Manufacturing, the project team identified a “Focused Target Market Segment” (a group of parts where reduced lead time would provide the most benefit), analyzed past orders and lead time data, and modeled scenarios to determine a better factory layout and costs and benefits of the proposed changes.

After implementing the recommendations, the company achieved the results listed below.

Business Results

  • Project complete on time and $50,000 under budget
  • Three day Manufacturing Critical-path Time (MCT) reduction; 46% MCT reduction through brakes and 69% MCT reduction through 12LA Laser
  • Eliminated Class A defects on 12LA Laser
  • Reduced travel time to queue tower
  • Standardized tooling for brakes

Process Time Results

  • Average laser process time from 56 hours to 33 hours
  • Average wait to process at press brakes from 104 hours to 56 hours
  • Total process time from 162 hours to 90 hours

Comments from Operators on the Shop Floor

“We have seen reduced scrap.”

“We can catch bad parts immediately.”

“The trucking capacity constraint is eliminated and I can focus on finishing orders.”

“We have less hot parts due to flexibility.”