Global Expertise Plus Local Dealers Equals ExcellenceWed, 10/21/2015 - 10:58
Q: How does Caterpillar’s wide range of products allow its clients to acquire most of their equipment from you?
A: While Caterpillar has always been a leader in the mining industry, and we are now able to serve the vast majority of mobile equipment needs of any mine or contractor through our expanded product line. When you couple the broadest product line in the industry together with our unmatched support and other complementary services, such as financing, technology and service contracts, we believe we offer a superior value proposition for the vast majority of customers. Furthermore, our unparalleled dealer network, coupled with the strength of our Caterpillar Global Mining team, provides these integrated solutions to our customers, including equipment, parts and services, financing, technology solutions, and a variety of other unique offerings. The synergies provided by these comprehensive packages provide tremendous productivity increase and cost reduction potential to our customers.
Q: What is the main difference between the products and services Caterpillar offers to the mining industry and those of your main competitors?
A: Our goal is always to provide the lowest cost per ton to our customers and our great products are a significant piece of that equation. However, it is the unparalleled support capabilities of our mining dealers and our local Caterpillar teams that ensure that we are consistently delivering on that goal. One key distinction also sets our operations in Mexico apart. Caterpillar and our dealers employ thousands of Mexicans throughout the country. Those thousands of employees are involved in the manufacturing, assembly, parts logistics and warehousing, sales, and technical support of our products. It is the strength and capability of those great people that set us apart. While the strength of the Caterpillar brand certainly helps establish credibility, we are not satisfied by living in the past. This is why, rather than relying on the brand to open doors for us, instead we challenge ourselves daily to live up to and exceed the expectations that come with our brand.
Q: What have been the most recent improvements you have released for mining and metallurgical operations?
A: Caterpillar’s R&D investment is consistently well above other mining equipment suppliers. While that is partly driven by the breadth and depth of our product offering, it is also powered by our constant drive to innovate and develop superior solutions for our customers. Whether that is through technology development like the Cat MineStar System, through innovative new technologies to eliminate blasting in underground hard rock mines, or through enhancements in existing products to reduce costs and improve productivity, we never lose focus on the customer and what those innovations mean to them.
Caterpillar employs more than 8,000 engineers and over 350 PhD-level scientists and technology experts. We hold more than 4,000 active patents and engineer our products on nearly every continent. For those who have not had the chance to tour Caterpillar’s technology center, or see the amazing work happening in our design centers around the world, I can only encourage you to do so. Reach out to your Caterpillar dealer as there is no way to do justice to the fantastic work being carried out by our engineers and scientists through words or numbers alone.
Our ultimate goal is always achieving the lowest cost per ton. That equation is comprised of both the equipment and services and support that come with it. If we cannot provide the lowest cost over the long-run, then we believe that we have failed. That superior value is the foundation of who we are.
Q: Many OEMs focus on either surface or underground mining. How do you ensure the quality of your equipment for both surface and underground mining operations?
A: A major part of the answer lies in the Caterpillar culture and our focus on quality. However, we also recognize that, while there are clearly synergies across the product lines, there are obvious differences as well. This is why we have specific organizations and resources dedicated to each industry. However, the people working on our underground products have deep expertise in underground. The same applies to our surface products. Yet, more importantly, we also have established deep expertise within the individual product families that make up these industries.
Q: In the third quarter of 2014, Caterpillar beat analyst expectations with revenue of US$13.549 billion. How have your distributors in Mexico contributed to this success?
A: The network of independent Caterpillar dealers is the backbone that supports our company. It is nearly impossible to talk about Caterpillar without also talking about our dealers and vice versa. Their success is our success and our success is theirs. We have not only expanded the Caterpillar Global Mining presence in Mexico, but our dealer network has invested many millions of dollars in infrastructure, tooling, and training to better support our customers. This includes new component factories, rebuild centers, training facilities, service branches and facilities, and parts depots to name but a few.
Q: What type of support do distributors receive from Caterpillar’s head offices and manufacturing plants?
A: We have five dealer partners in Mexico: MATCO, Madisa, TRACSA, Maqsa and Empire Rio Colorado. The relationship between Caterpillar and its dealers is unlike anything else I have seen, regardless of what industry. I am not sure I would even use the term support. We have become integral parts of each other’s business rather than simply supporting each other’s efforts. The proof of that alignment is the fact that our Mexican dealers have been a part of the Caterpillar family for many generations and decades. Relationships that outlive the people who formed them can only happen with the sort of alignment I am talking about.
Q: How do Caterpillar’s distributors complement equipment sales with post-sale services?
A: The many millions of dollars in investments our dealers have made and are making are directly related to their ability to provide post-sale support. All you need to understand the importance we and our dealers place on product support is to look at the balance of technicians to other employees. Without exception, employees dedicated to product support represent the overwhelming majority of dealer payrolls.
Q: Mining projects are cropping up across Mexico, from Oaxaca to Baja California. How will Caterpillar ensure that new mines make use of its equipment?
A: Caterpillar dealers and our Global Mining team attempt to work together with customers well in advance of the actual equipment needs. We have the deep expertise and experience to help our customers in the early stages of mine development, even at the pre-feasibility stage. There are several recent examples where we have partnered with customers early in the process and identified ways to optimize mine development costs, reduce capital needs, and drive efficiencies in design well before the first equipment was expected to arrive on site.
When this is paired up with an unmatched presence across Mexico, we believe we are well positioned to support our customers’ efforts wherever they may be.