Tuesday’s Top 3: Precision, Automation and Driving
Today wrapped up our second full day abroad, and it was filled with a firehouse of information about how CLAAS services their customers through part orders and machine manufacturing. While I haven’t been through many factories in my life, today I was blown away by two things: precision and automation.
Those kickoff our Top 3.
While most of us in the ag space think of precision as in precision agriculture, for today’s post, I’m taking it in a different direction. I spoke with six farmers today for interviews and 67 percent all mentioned the same thing: both facilities – the machinery production plant and global parts hub – were immaculately clean. The employees take great pride in their work, but also their work space, which tells me that their attention to detail is impeccable. Think about it? If you are piecing together a massive forage harvester or combine, you would have to have razor sharp attention-to-detail mindsets. And, that’s not for just one person, it’s everyone on the team. That takes precision.
Automation goes hand-in-hand with precision. Here are a few details of the technology in the CLAAS plants:
- The main production facility is one mile long.
- The workers use bikes to travel back-and-forth to save time and increase efficiency.
- The assembly line is automatic and driven by a system of magnets underneath the shop floor that keep parts moving.
- They assemble 25 combines per day and about 15 forage harvesters.
- They have a state-of-the-art hydraulic, computer system that locates and distributes parts at its global parts hub to help fill customer orders worldwide.
- That system cost about 20 million euros. They plan to expand that part to increase their efficiency.
While that is only a snapshot, it was impressive to everyone that made the trip.
While driving from Hareswinkel to Hamm, our bus driver told us that we were on the Audubon. That stretch of roadway did not have a speed limit and the driver mentioned that people will drive as fast as they feel comfortable or will top our their cars. The first two letters of the license plates dictate what city they are from in the EU and there is a letter that indicates what country. For example, the letters “BE” would mean you’re from Berlin and “D” would mean you’re from Deutchland. Then the bus driver said Germans are crazy drivers.
Tomorrow we will head to another factory where CLAAS is hosting a focus group session and looking at more equipment.