Construction and mining equipment must meet the two most important needs of customers; 1) no downtime, especially that caused by mechanical failure, and 2) larger profits from more work at smaller costs.
After purchasing new equipment, customers have to meet lots of expenses while operating their machines until reselling as used equipment or scrapping them. Such expenses include for spare parts, maintenance service, fuel and operators in addition to the equipment itself. These expenses are called lifecycle costs.
Lifecycle Costs in Emerging Countries (Conceptual)
As lifecycle costs differ depending on the country, region, machine type, way of machine use, etc., it was extremely difficult for us to accurately determine them. While working to understand customers' jobsite operations, we are utilizing a massive amount of data transmitted from over 340,000 units equipped with KOMTRAX (Komatsu Machine Tracking System) from around the world. We are now better positioned to analyze their lifecycle costs.
We are also developing methods to curtail lifecycle costs. Bangkok Komatsu Sales Co., Ltd. (BKS), our sales affiliate in Thailand, commercialized the B-Connect Warranty program, designed to minimize the lifecycle costs of Komatsu equipment, in 2010. By providing periodic service focused on preventive maintenance, we can keep the best possible machine performance, improve utilization rates, and increase their trade-in values. BKS' product support service representatives can learn about customers' jobsite operations and propose ideas to improve their operations.
Based on a survey conducted by BKS in the first half of FY2013, we have found that, among customers of 20-ton hydraulic excavators, compared to those who had not used the B-Connect Warranty program, 21% more program users continued to buy new Komatsu equipment. Common praise for the program by customers included:
During periodic maintenance under the B-Connect Warranty program, BKS's product support service representative reports maintenance findings to a customer and recommends better use of machines.
Komatsu Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd. (formerly, Komatsu Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd.: KSAf) has been working to reduce lifecycle costs of Komatsu machines at mineral sands operations. At Namakwa Sands, in the north-western part of South Africa, KSAf's customer, Tronox, mines hard mineral sands which consist of jircon for manufacturing refractory materials as well as rutile, a raw material of titanium. Due to the hard ground of the mine, the wear-out rate of their bulldozer's undercarriage was drastic, expanding its lifecycle costs. KSAf recommended the use of dual bushings, which feature better resistance to wear and easy replacement, and successfully improved the lifecycle costs.
KSAf has also been improving productivity at Namakwa Sands by using KOMTRAX data. For HM400 articulated dump trucks, they have offered training programs to improve operators' driving skills, based on KOMTRAX data, and have received excellent remarks from their customer.
HM400 articulated dump truck at Namakwa Sands
Our service mechanics inspecting the wear conditions of D375A's undercarriage
Komatsu's service and support offer high value. We welcome Komatsu as a good partner.
Mr. Hannes Du Randt, Mining Manager, Namakwa Sands