Construction focus

24 April 2008

The formation of Sandvik Mining and Construction's construction segment brings together a range of products and brands under one organisational roof. But as the construction segment's president Thomas Schulz explained, the new structure is not so much about an internal reorganisation, but is aimed at doing things in a way that matches customers needs much more closely.

“From now on we are looking at things more from the customer side than the product side. Sandvik Mining and

Construction has identified four different niches;

• quarrying

• tunnelling

• surface civil engineering

• demolition and recycling where we can offer a huge competence to the customer,” he said.

Within these niches are a host of famous and familiar products. Quarrying encompasses surface rigs, rock tools, crushers and screens, and breaker booms. The tunnelling niche includes underground drill rigs, again along with rock tools, haulers and loaders, roadheaders, breakers, stationary and semi-mobile plants. The breakers and cutter crushers are of course a key product in the demolition and recycling sector, as are crushers and screens. The Surface Civil Engineering focuses on rock excavation with surface drill rigs, rock tools, hydraulic breakers, mobile crushing and screens.

Systems & Solutions

All these are held in high esteem in the construction sector, with track records that stretch back decades. However, Sandvik Mining and Construction's new structure goes beyond offering these highly regarded products, and is focused on how they can fit together to offer a coherent system in each of the four niches.

Mr Schulz said, “We've been offering a lot of added value to our customers for many years in the form of high quality product competence, service and back-up, but what we also offer is our knowledge of applications and processes. We are experts in our niches, with competence in for example drilling, rock tools, crushing and screening, but we are also experts in how all these areas fit together.

“For example, a customer may need to buy a new primary crusher, but the specification of that will have a big impact on systems up and down the process - from drilling and blasting to screening and secondary and tertiary crushers. Because we have knowledge of all these processes, we can help optimise the whole system, not just sell a crusher. That helps customers genuinely get the most for their money.”

He continued, “We have so much knowledge in-house about how costs will change if you use a different drill rig, or hole size or crusher, and how that will impact on other parts of the process. When I talk to customers, it is always about getting the process working as efficiently as possible, and out of that comes the products they need - this Pantera (drill rig), this Rammer (breaker) or that Hydrocone (crusher) or whatever.”

Another important area that Sandvik identified is the way in which different customers use the same product. A particular breaker, for example, may be used in all four sectors - breaking boulders in a quarry, scaling in a tunnel, demolishing concrete and excavating rock - but the four individual customers will be very different types of company, with different needs.

“There is not much similarity between a demolition and recycling contractor and a quarry operator. Quarries, and therefore quarrying customers, stay in the same place for decades, and have certain requirements for spares, service and so on because of that. On the other hand, a drill and blast or a demolition contractor is very mobile.

“Two customers may have exactly the same piece of equipment, but we recognise that the type of support they need from us could be completely different. Serving both stationary and mobile customers requires two different approaches, and that is something that's now reflected in our structure.”

Access to Experts

As far as Mr Schulz is concerned, it's clear that it's all about the customer, but making this shift in emphasis work means some new challenges for Sandvik Mining and Construction's employees - particularly the people on the frontline that have to make things work for the customers.

“We are investing a lot in competence development. Our aim is not to create people who are experts in everything - that would be impossible! - but to get people who have expertise in one area and a basic understanding of the whole processes, and of what can be offered. Our sales people can then call on each other - experts in other niches - to refine the final proposal,” he said.

Expanding on the point he added, “The key goal is customers will recognise we are serving them even better. We are coming from a very good level of service and products already, but we want to improve that, and I hope customers will notice an improvement over the coming months. That's difficult when you're starting from a high level, but we believe it can be done.”

Looking beyond the next few months, this new focus is likely to steer Sandvik Mining and Construction in new directions. Taking a more application-oriented approach is likely to highlight areas where equipment can work better together, and perhaps areas for new products.

“We are developing our different products more closely with each other, and using our application expertise more. We're pulling everything together more - we supply high quality products already, now we're moving much closer to providing full systems and process solutions that will provide the maximum profit for the customer.” concluded Mr Schulz. •

Latest News
Tech company updates software for surveying robots
The update introduces a Data Logging feature which provides users with additional capabilities
Wind turbines transported in Greece
Huge wind farm shipment unloaded at Greek port
Jekko appoints South African dealer
SkyJacks new dealer for Italian manufacturer