Helping keep industry powered over lockdown
24 July 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202019686
THE ability to adapt has been key to mobile power equipment specialist, Atlas Copco Power Technique’s ability to continue delivering critical services to southern Africa’s mining and industry since lockdown came into effect at midnight on 26 March 2020.
That’s according to Business Line Manager, Portable Products, David Stanford, who said, “We applied for an essential services certificate to enable us to support those essential services customers with whatever they need, whether repairs, maintenance, equipment or spares, in order to keep their plants operational”.
He added that the pandemic and subsequent lockdown had reinforced the value of online platforms as the number one way to keep in touch with customers and conduct business sustainably.
“So, step one was to make sure that all our internal processes and remote communication platforms were solid and functioning properly. The next step was about making full use of the technology at our fingertips, from online customer and dealer meetings to quick turnaround times between RFQ and delivery. We moved our business online a few years ago and are au fait with these platforms and technologies. Subsequently, little change was required on our part and our systems and processes are proving to be extremely robust and reliable.”
The third step was to identify how customers were functioning and to ensure that the Power Technique team complied with their methodologies. “Again, our flexibility enables us to adapt to differing customer needs,” said Stanford.
The company’s after-market team has been equipped with everything they need to go out into the field to assist customers with service, repairs and maintenance jobs to keep their businesses operational. This includes issuing technicians with correct permits and adhering to all health regulations – wearing face masks, using hand sanitiser and practising social distancing – in the interest of both employees as well as customers.
Stanford said that in this challenging market, there are many aspects that are beyond their control such as what projects will go ahead or will remain in the pipeline. So, the team is focussing on areas that are in their control. “Stock for example. We are making sure that we keep on top of it.”
He said that while their containers were locked down at the port for six weeks, they made sure that all necessary paperwork and documentation were in order to avoid any unnecessary delays.
“Once the ports were opened in early May, our supply chain kicked into action; by the second week our containers reached our Johannesburg head office and by the end of May our customers received their products, parts and spares, ensuring minimal disruption to their operations. We are also ready to supply sectors like construction that opened up when lockdown restrictions were eased.”
Another important focus area is Atlas Copco’s regional dealer network in South Africa as well as in the DRC, Madagascar and Mauritius. “Our dealers have run into a number of issues trying to get onto site to perform critical repairs and we are working with them continuously to maximize our customer service.”
Stanford said that regular online communication had further strengthened their dealer relationships. “Keeping communication channels open and staying in touch from our respective homes during the early strict lockdown period has brought the Atlas Copco and dealer family closer together as we continue to join forces to assist our customers during these unprecedented times.”