John Deere’s innovative virtual instructor-led training (vILT) program set to boost customer service and equipment uptime in Europe
In June, 20 German service technicians took part in the successful pilot of a brand-new European John Deere engine diagnostics training program. The virtual instructor-led training (vILT) – hosted by Swiss engine distributor Hamilton AG – brought students from various German John Deere agricultural equipment dealers up to speed on the latest engine technologies quickly and interactively. It’s a clear example of how John Deere integrates innovation not only in its equipment design and performance, but also in service and training.
From idea to reality in just six weeks!
The vILT training could not have been more topical. When the COVID-19 crisis and resulting confinement began, John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) in France joined forces with its network to develop the German-language engine diagnostics vILT program – so that students could continue their John Deere tech training journey during this challenging time.
Working tirelessly together, John Deere US video experts, JDPS France’s training crew, John Deere Germany’s training organization and Certified Distributor Instructor Hamilton AG turned the program from idea into reality – in just six weeks.
“While virtual training is very relevant right now, of course, this isn’t a one-time thing,” says Daniel Coutinho of the John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) international training organization. “JDPS has been running an vILT program in the US market for a while. In 2018, JDPS France developed a “Euro vILT” version to address the time zone and language needs of key European markets. This program won the John Deere Senior Vice President Award of Excellence in 2019.”
Worldwide best-in-class service
The vILT training program is part of John Deere’s mandatory Servicetech Curriculum for all its John Deere-powered, agricultural, construction, and forestry equipment dealerships. “Each dealership must have a few technicians certified in engine diagnostics, to provide proper engine service and increase equipment uptime and customer satisfaction,” Daniel explains. “This is critical to live up to the brand service promise: “Uptime guaranteed.”
The vILT program focuses on engine diagnostics and comprises eight modules of two to three hours each. The engine is covered system by system: from air and exhaust, to fuel injection, to after treatment. When students have completed all modules, they are required to complete assessments and demonstrate their diagnostic skills in a hands-on, 4-day session to obtain full certification.
Nicolas Stirnemann, Technical Director of Hamilton AG and Certified Distributor Instructor: “The vILT sessions are live and include videos, Q&As, charts, simulators and multi-ServiceADVISOR™ simulations. Cutting-edge technology and interactive layouts make it easy for people to share experiences and ask questions.”
Virtual training is an innovative way for John Deere and its network to offer best-in-class customer service. “A training session like this would usually take service technicians away from their work for a week,” comments Thomas Otten, Manager of John Deere GmbH & Co. KG’s Training Center, Bruchsal, responsible for training the German branch/market. “With the virtual courses, they can absorb a lot of precise and detailed information in a short time, without travelling. This leaves them more time to help customers.”
Hamilton AG – longtime John Deere engine distributor for Switzerland and Austria – hosted the vILT training in its own studio in Wängi, Switzerland. Hamilton has been with JDPS the whole way on the vILT journey, are in step with the latest virtual training methods and have John Deere’s latest technologies ‘down to a T’.
Marsha Hamilton, CEO of Hamilton AG, agrees on the importance of innovative solutions like the vILT: “Customers in our markets demand a high level of customer service. Hosting the training for John Deere shows we not only have the necessary expertise but will go the extra mile to support them.”
Nicholas adds: “I’m pleased with the trust that the broader John Deere organization has put in us to lead the German-language sessions. And this pilot training is just the beginning. While the COVID pandemic accelerated the roll out of the vILT program, the focus remained firmly on delivering a great training program and student experience. More of these dynamic, virtual training programs are planned for the rest of the year – for service technicians of other European equipment dealers.”