Over the last few weeks, I’ve invited Case IH experts, Bill Preller and Alan Forbes, to explain the five steps of Case IH’s Customer Driven Product Development (CDPD) process and how it influenced the development of the new Case IH Early Riser® planter toolbars.
This week, we continue to explore the Case IH Customer Driven Product Development process—this time with the help of Dale Simpson, Case IH marketing manager for seeding, who will walk us through how the CDPD process influenced the development of crucial seeding components to help farmers work within those tight seeding windows.
The Case IH Precision Hoe™ 800 air hoe drill was one of the first Case IH seeding products developed by the CDPD process. As farming trends shift toward working more land, fewer contiguous acres, increased road transport, greater seed varieties, and higher seed costs, Case IH wanted to provide farmers with the necessary seeding equipment to keep up with these demands.
To get there, Case IH started with the first and most critical step of the CDPD process—one-on-one customer interviews. This step took our seeding product development team members – including engineers – to farms throughout North America and Australia to interview farmers growing high-value, small-seed crops on large acreages.
As anticipated, the interviews produced hours of recorded conversations, as well as hundreds of pages of notes. Our job was to carefully sift through these comments to find the “nuggets,” that is, the producer requirements that would guide the development of the new Case IH Precision Hoe 800 and help us make good seeding equipment even better.
Finding and Prioritizing the Nuggets
Sifting through the notes and audio from these interviews to uncover unmet needs or wants required teamwork among those of us from marketing, engineering, and manufacturing. By working together, we pulled out common themes and insights expressed by farmers to create a list of needs and requirements. This list was formatted into a survey for farmers to rank these requirements by importance. Some of the leading “nuggets” for the Case IH Precision Hoe 800 included:
- Availability of greater working widths
- Seed placement accuracy
- Residue clearance during seeding
- Ability to adjust the machine quickly for different seeds
- Improved transportability
- Improved ability to store machines inside
- Less soil disturbance
Delivering on the Nuggets
We listened, learned, and used these nuggets as a product development guide for Case IH engineers to improve the Case IH Precision Hoe 800. Such improvements include:
- Wider working width in 50-, 60-, and 70-foot options – allows more ground coverage and productivity in the field
- Patented parallel link row unit – offers better depth control, and seed and fertilizer placement to improve stands, especially in uneven field conditions and tough no-till residue
- Angled, double-shoot knife opener – works with parallel linkage to provide precise seed and fertilizer depth placement, separation of seed and fertilizer bands and the ability to handle dry, liquid or anhydrous ammonia fertilizer
- Single shank design – delivers both seed and fertilizer on one shank, which improves residue flow and field finish
- Fold-back frame – allows for quicker folding and unfolding, narrow transport width and improved transport visibility
As Bill Preller explained a few weeks ago, CDPD is an ongoing process, even after a new product is launched. Because farmers provided such valuable feedback, Case IH product management teams and engineers continue to study and refine these suggestions to offer you the latest equipment and technology to help you farm the way you need to.