In its inception, the John Deere Component Works (JDCW) was structured to be a captive producer of parts for the equipment divisions of John Deere. The factories were required to purchase all major parts internally, and the corporate policy favoured internal purchasing from JDCW for smaller component parts also (Kaplan, p. 136). The high volume production of the 1970's supported this company objective, and supplying the parts internally gave John Deere a competitive advantage.
John Deere met with hard times in the 1980's as a result of the collapse of farmland values and commodity prices. The high dollar decreased exports, reducing income for the farmers and consequently impacting the farm equipment producers. Farmer's that had been encouraged to incur considerable debt to expand and increase land holding were now facing foreclosures and could scarcely afford to purchase new equipment. Resale of the repossessed equipment saw a further drop in the market for new equipment (Kaplan, p.
This drastic downturn in demand resulted in a significant decrease of employees and some major changes in manufacturing approaches, such as just-in-time production. These changes in the industry also required some necessary changes in the decision making process for the factories. With a competitive and price driven market, the factories could no longer afford to operate under the old corporate objectives of supporting the corporation as a whole, they had to act in their own best interest which included buying components at the best price whether they came from other divisions or from outside vendors.
Costing System Ineffective
After placing bids on component parts for another Deere division and losing most of them to outside vendors, the Gear & Special Products Division (a component of JDCW) has realized that they are not competitive. They are beginning to realize that...