Editor’s note: Niels Dybro compiled this report from a number of sources at John Deere. Dybro is a staff engineer at John Deere’s Moline Technology Innovation Center. The one-year SDM program discussed below, which leads to the Graduate Certificate in Systems and Product Development, features three courses from the SDM curriculum system architecture, systems engineering, and product design and development—as well as a capstone project.
Deere is the world’s leading provider of equipment for agriculture and
forestry and a major provider for construction, lawn and turf care,
landscaping, and irrigation. John Deere also provides financial services
worldwide and manufactures and markets engines used in heavy equipment.
Since it was founded in 1837, the company has extended its heritage of
integrity, quality, commitment, and innovation around the globe.
Deere has been involved with the MIT System Design and Management
Program (SDM) for over four years. John Deere recognizes that systems
engineering is a critical competency for managing the complexity of
current and future products and services. Its goal is to move from a
component-centric organization to a systems-centric organization, one
that seamlessly integrates mechanical, electronic, hydraulic, power,
information, and communications technologies.
SDM certificate program candidates in our diverse, decentralized
company, we have organized a Nominating Team consisting of engineering
managers and senior engineers who advocate the systems engineer
approach. The Nominating Team members span each business unit and most
of the design engineering centers in John Deere. Each team member
identifies potential SDM certificate candidates in their business unit,
often working within the business unit’s human resources process. Then
the team member works with the individual’s supervisor to ensure the
candidate’s qualifications using a matrix, similar to a trade-study,
with must-have "needs" and scored "wants" criteria. These include a
range of qualities, from basic engineering skills to leadership and
systems thinking abilities.
Finally, the team meets to
review all candidates and their evaluations to make sure each is
qualified, and we can reach consensus on the pool of candidates as a
whole. At that point, we inform the candidates so they can decide
whether they have the interest and can make the commitment to the
Over the four years John Deere has sponsored
students for the SDM program, 40 engineers from around the enterprise
have participated in the certificate program, and four are currently
pursuing master’s degrees.
Here are three examples of what certificate candidates do at John Deere and what they have learned from the program:
is the test laboratory automation lead for the John Deere Power
Systems’ Engine Engineering Test facility located in Waterloo, IA. In
this role, she is responsible for developing and coordinating all of the
software, databases, and applications in the automated engine test cell
Flanagan completed the SDM certificate program
in 2009, and is now a member of the 2010 SDM master’s program. She has a
bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.
the certificate program, Flanagan’s cross-unit team developed an
architecture for a sensor network optimized for the worksites that John
Deere serves. Creating a network that provides a means for worksite data
to be collected is a critical enabler for an integrated decision
support system for customers.
is a senior engineer in Advanced Research and Development. He has been
with John Deere for 12 years and has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s
degree in mechanical engineering. He is currently working on a robotic
military vehicle program in the roles of lead systems engineer and lead
mechanical engineer. He is involved in the development and integration
of drive-by-wire solutions onto base production utility vehicles and the
integration of high-level robotics technologies. He interfaces with
technology partners to incorporate customer-specific payloads and with
military customers for requirements gathering, demonstrations, training,
Haun was in the first SDM certificate
program group to be sponsored by John Deere. His team’s capstone project
utilized tools from the program to select EPA Tier Four engine
emissions solutions for the 25 to 40 Hp tractors. Through Pugh concept
selection, they found that they needed to change their focus from
assigning values to criteria as in a typical decision analysis to
developing new concepts.
is senior systems engineer in JD Intelligent Vehicle Systems. He has
been with John Deere for nine years and has a bachelor’s and master’s
degree in agricultural engineering. He received his SDM certificate in
The coursework was a great supplement
to what he does in his day-to-day work, which involves ensuring the
precision farming products that John Deere develops will meet customer’s
needs and expectations in the field. To do that, he is responsible for
identifying the stakeholders and documenting their needs along with how
they expect their products to meet those needs.
also leads or participates in concept selection, product architecture,
make/buy and re-use decisions. His three-member capstone team’s project
was a crossdivisional effort to merge GreenStar precision control with a
Compact Utility Tractor, thereby providing customers with hands-free
final grading capability. The resulting prototype was called GradeStar,
which utilized many of the SDM tools in a real-world application.
anticipate that by sending people through the SDM program we will
create future engineering leaders for the company. We also believe we
now are near critical mass for making a lasting impact on John Deere’s
business through deployment of common vocabulary, common tools and
methods, and people who can spread this knowledge among the workforce
for even greater benefits.
Friends all her moneys
3 years ago