Prioritizing Reliability in Heavy Machinery SolutionsMon, 10/21/2013 - 13:29
The efficiency of any mining company depends heavily on the efficiency of its suppliers – weak links in the supply chain can put a halt to operations, thus decreasing the company’s overall productivity and profits. “The reason why our customers prefer our company is our reliability,” says Manuel Félix, Operations Vice President of Road Machinery. Part of the company’s strategy to maximizing the reliability of its equipment comes in the form of the MARC contract it offers. Through the contract the company guarantees the availability of specified equipment or machinery and agrees a preventative maintenance plan for each piece of equipment in the mine. The MARC contract is the most comprehensive maintenance scheme that the company offers, though it provides many different levels of post-sale service. “The basis of any contract is to reach an agreement by which both parties benefit. A contract should always be guided by the win-win idea,” explains Félix.
Its commitment to the post-sale service is considered by Félix to be the company’s pillar of success. “Road Machinery’s comprehensive service after sale or within a lease agreement is remarkable. We focus our efforts on availability and reliability, and cost reduction, and have skilled and specialized labor to attend to any complications with the equipment that we supply. Our two parts and repair service centers, or electromechanical workshops, combine quality and professionalism to provide immediate and accurate solutions to our customers. The centers are located strategically in Mexico, and the service is provided by technically certified personnel,” says Félix. Through its post-sale service the company also analyzes internal and external processes related to its customers’ machinery, working together to understand their expectations and short and long term goals. The collaborative element of Road Machinery’s approach is considered by Félix to be essential.
Road Machinery’s first contact with Mexico’s mining industry was supplying the Cananea mine in 1978. However, the company’s first real presence in Mexico came much later in 1991, when it opened an office and a warehouse in Cananea, with 13 staff members selling equipment, parts, and services to mining companies. The company expanded into the rest of Mexico in 1996, when it established administration, sales, service and parts departments for trucks, loaders, excavators, and other equipment. Todayit is a fully integrated products and services provider focusing on the Komatsu brand, a Japanese manufacturer that has been in the business for almost a century. “Being a distributor of Komatsu heavy machinery is already an advantage, since Komatsu’s reputation speaks for itself. The brand is very reliable and is subject to many quality tests, helping it to remain a pioneer in this industry,” says Félix. “Road Machinery has successfully leveraged the quality and reliability of Komatsu machinery to build its own name, and today the company has corporate offices in Mexico City, a sales office in Hermosillo, and two service centers in the cities of Cananea and Saltillo. The company also has direct service offices in the mining projects it works on, for example at Goldcorp’s Peñasquito and Grupo Mexico’s Buenavista del Cobre.”
Road Machinery also benefits significantly from the close relationship that it has with its parent company, the holding company Mitsui. Félix compares the role that the Mitsui group has played in Road Machinery’s development to that of a mentor: “The Mitsui group has extensive knowledge in various sectors, and for Road Machinery Mitsui has been like a leader, providing confidence, promoting good character and looking out for our safety. At the same time, Mitsui has given us the freedom to experiment and gain knowledge individually. We are now specialists in a very important and strategic sector, and we know that Mitsui will support us and help us to become as successful as it has been.”
Looking forward, Félix highlights the importance of continuously striving to be a leader in this field, and of remaining committed to the development of the mining industry. This concept of continuous improvement is well understood by Road Machinery as something that is essential for the company to continue delivering greater efficiency and reliability for its customers. “To achieve this we need to cover more areas of function and knowledge. We realize that this cannot happen overnight. It is a process, and one that we are certainly working on,” says Félix. Achieving maximum efficiency remains a key component if this goal is to be reached, and technology has its own role to play here. The company currently uses Payload, Komtrax and Komtrax Plus, sophisticated software programs that allow more efficient operations not only in collecting hauling data and monitoring the condition of the machinery, but also in controlling equipment via remote control. “These systems have facilitated the quality of our operations, keeping us informed and synchronized with our clients’ operations, and helping us to be a decision facilitator,” says Félix.