Komatsu America Corp Is Bringing Manufacturing and Field Service Together
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The manufacturing and field service industries go hand in hand. It's up to truly innovative companies to find ways of providing not only the products other businesses need but also the maintenance and service provisions that keep them up and running.
One industry that relies on the smooth provision and continued operation of machines is in construction. This sector needs a range of heavy machinery to complete the building projects which provide housing, commercial property, and more to the nation's populace. Any downtime for just one of these machines can cause a ripple effect which can set projects back months or even years, so anything which can be done to keep them in prime operating condition should be welcomed with open arms.
As one of the world's leading suppliers of construction machinery, Komatsu America Corp is on the front line of this need and has been finding ways to fulfill both simultaneously.
Komatsu America Corp
A facility in Peoria is one of Komatsu's Mother plants — a location recognized by the organization for its development capabilities and positioned as a key contributor to global production. It is here that the company's famous super-sized electric-drive dump trucks are created.
Primarily used in mining operations, these huge vehicles are larger than a 3,000-square-foot, two-story house. The largest model stands roughly 26-feet tall and features tires that weigh more than 1,000 pounds. The factory employs an innovative manufacturing process as well. Where previously the facility utilized a stall-build assembly process — it would simply park the frame and finish the truck over the next three weeks — their innovative air system is like an air hockey table from the arcade, flipped upside down. Pinholes of air allow them to glide 40-50 tons of truck along the line with ease, making the entire process far more efficient.
"It's [a] true craftsman that make the frame of the truck," said Manufacturing Operations General Manager, Peoria, Jim Mathis. "Our people are some of the most talented in the industry. Distilleries needed talented welders that could fabricate high quality. As time passed, the goods produced here have changed, but the incredibly skilled workforce has remained. We see it as a real strength of the community, and it made Peoria the perfect fit for Komatsu."
Naturally, such an impressive product needs an equally impressive maintenance and service regime to make sure it remains working to its greatest potential. Any unplanned downtime for such an expensive vehicle will make a serious dent in its return on investment. To support this role, Komatsu has constructed an enormous spare parts warehouse to operate alongside the Peoria manufacturing plant.
This warehouse stores more than 3,000 components, which helps Komatsu respond to service needs with agility, better serve its customers, and create a more efficient workstream by reducing logistical challenges. One of the biggest pain points for industry is having to wait for spare parts to arrive to repair essential equipment. With the addition of this massive warehouse, the risk of this occurring is kept to an absolute minimum.
Not content with creating an enormous spare part offering to support its manufacturing business in Peoria, Komatsu has also developed a new range of extended care and maintenance programs which are now available to its American customers.
Named the Komatsu Care Plus programs, they "provide model-specific detail, outlining maintenance items serviced, repair coverages, program benefits, and terms and conditions," according to a press release. The Komatsu Care Plus and Komatsu Care Plus II programs both provide automatic scheduling for maintenance services, genuine parts, certified labor, machine inspections, and regular oil sampling. The Komatsu Care Plus II program also includes Komatsu's Premier Extended Coverage for those customers seeking to budget better through fixed repair costs.
"We developed our Komatsu Care Plus programs to offer a complete end-user solution that is hassle-free for our customers, and still encompasses other services Komatsu provides such as financing, certified labor, genuine parts, and telematics," said Manager of Genuine Care, Felipe Cueva . "Through the MyKomatsu interface, customers have visibility into their machine's program coverage, care report, and service completions. By providing consistent and complete service records, machines will be eligible for the Komatsu Care Certified equipment program allowing customers to request a higher resale value for their equipment."
Under the two programs, repair and maintenance service can be performed by any authorized US Komatsu distributor, regardless of where in the country the machine was purchased.
Making sure manufacturing and field service work together harmoniously is an essential component of keeping industry moving forwards. Thanks to its innovative factory and adjacent spare parts warehouse, and new service programs, Komatsu is looking to achieve just that.
You can hear Komatsu America Corp's Vice President of Product and Services Division, Richard Smith, speak at Field Service Amelia Island 2020, taking place in August at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, FL.
Download the agenda today for more information and insights.
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