John Deere Expands Access to Diagnostic Tool to Allow Farmers to Perform Repairs | News

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWL) — John Deere is expanding access to its repair software, which farmers have been lobbying for years to get their hands on.

Starting in May, farmers and independent repair shops will be able to purchase Customer Service ADVISOR directly from John Deere through JohnDeereStore.com.

“We recognize our customers’ desire for more autonomy in managing their equipment,” said Luke Gakstatter, senior vice president of aftermarket and customer support for John Deere. “Quality and availability are critical to their operations. That’s why we’re expanding the point-of-sale options for Customer Service ADVISOR to include the John Deere Store website, which will give our customers and independent repair shops direct access to additional standalone repair tools.”

Then, in 2023, John Deere will roll out “an enhanced client solution” that will transfer some functions to a “more user-friendly web experience” and allow farmers to download software updates and embed them directly on select John Deere equipment.

“Connected customers already benefit from proactive maintenance through over-the-air software updates and diagnostic trouble code information available on their smartphone,” Gakstatter said. “The next step for us to digitize and improve the repairability experience is to allow customers themselves to remotely download secure software updates to controllers.”

John Deere spokeswoman Jennifer Hartmann said that Customer Service Advisor The diagnostic tool has been available since 2018 and currently starts at a cost of $1200 but varies.

Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman said the move will make it easier for farmers to repair their equipment.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Lehman said. “In the past, we have received many reports from farmers who have had difficulty trying to repair their equipment, and they simply have not had access to the diagnostic software that should come with their equipment purchase John Deere.

In a 42-page complaint to the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month, the National Farmer’s Union, Iowa Farmer’s Union and a handful of other organizations representing farmers called on the FTC to investigate John Deere over what ‘they believe to be violations of federal anti-trust and consumer protection laws.

The complaint argued that the company’s policy on repairing broken John Deere equipment effectively prevents farmers from fixing their broken machine themselves or taking it to an independent mechanic.

“Not having access to all the diagnostic tools you need to repair your equipment makes it much more expensive to operate,” Lehman said.

The only one who can repair a broken machine is an authorized John Deere technician, which the complaint says makes repairs more difficult and more expensive.

“There’s only a certain amount of diagnostic tools you need to figure out what’s going on, especially as equipment has become more complex and more integrated with technology,” Lehman said. . “To take that first step and fix something, while it might be quite simple and easy, you need to have this diagnostic tool.”

Some farmers argue in the complaint that it sometimes takes weeks for repairs. Waiting for the dealer to fix equipment can be costly for farmers, especially during critical times of the year like planting or harvesting crops.

“It’s one aspect of the right to repair problems so that farmers can repair our equipment in a quick and cost-effective way. This diagnostic equipment is important, but it’s not all,” Lehman said. “We still have a lot of work to do to ensure farmers have real control over their farm equipment and more control over their farming systems.”

In July, President Biden signed an executive order to promote competition in specific industries. He specifically mentioned the agriculture and meat processing industries.

The executive order ordered the FTC to limit the ability of companies to prevent customers from using independent repair shops or repairing them themselves. The White House specifically used an example of tractor companies blocking farmers from repairing their own tractors.

“This is one piece of a whole set of issues around trying to achieve fairness for farmers. We have a huge network of independent farmers in Iowa and across our country, which is very valuable because you want this strong, broad network,” Lehman mentioned. “When there’s a bottleneck between a few controlling hands, you start to see the real vulnerabilities.”

Hartmann said the announcement of the expanded repair resources had nothing to do with the FTC’s complaint or the executive order. She said the company had a “long history of innovation” and expansion “has been planned for some time”.

“E-commerce technology has become a customer preference, and we’re communicating an expanded option to them,” Hartmann said.

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