Grayden Leaver is the Director of Sales & Marketing at CJD Equipment, the Australian dealer for Volvo Construction Equipment. He contends that strong dealer relationships with quarry producers will be as vital to the industry’s success as new technologies.
How has CJD Equipment performed during the global pandemic?
We’ve performed well but we’ve been fortunate because of our involvement in various segments that are vital to the economy. The quarrying and mining segments are strong, and government stimulus packages have created opportunities for our customers.
First and foremost, we had to ensure the health and well-being of our staff and customers. We had to change the way we were operating in many areas, due to various lockdowns and the evolving situation.
Has the pandemic changed the way CJD Equipment does business with the quarrying industry?
There’s been more remote communication. We’ve relied on more data when talking about new technologies, and had to supply more information to customers who can’t experience it for themselves.
We were fortunate with the servicing of customers during lockdown periods at various sites. The size of our network assisted us, with field service technicians and resident fitters based in regional locations.
The biggest challenge in the past 12 months has been in managing customers’ expectations. We’ve remained transparent with customers, particularly on issues around stock and rapidly changing shipping times. We’ve managed these challenges as best we could while keeping our customers informed.
With parts supply, we carry a lot of stock in our national warehouse in Melbourne. That gave us redundancy if one of our branches had to close because of a COVID case.
What are the most popular Volvo CE machines in the quarrying industry?
It’s the L150H to L350H size wheel loader. In the past 18 months, the L260H has been very popular. We believe our articulated haulers are world class, and so do many of our customers because the A40Gs and A45Gs are popular. The A60H articulated truck has also become a “must have” vehicle. The EC950E excavator has had a lot of traction since its arrival in Australia, and our EC480E, EC750E and EC950E excavators are popular in the quarrying application.
In 2022, we will be launching our 50-tonne EC530E digger. It’s exciting to step into that 50-tonne size class.
CJD Equipment offers after sales programs and services. Why are these programs successful with quarrying customers?
All of Volvo CE’s programs and services dovetail into pillars of safety, productivity and uptime.
Volvo’s Co-Pilot platform was launched for excavators with Dig Assist, and it’s now in the loader and the hauler, which come with Load Assist and Haul Assist. The applications are designed for improved production volumes, fuel efficiency, reduction in operating and maintenance costs, and ability to upgrade.
With Dig Assist, we’ve implemented boundary limits for slew, height and depth control. Once the machines reach the customer with Co-Pilot installed, current or future software updates can made by our technicians on-site. It’s a future-proofing technology. Co-Pilot is well accepted and we’re looking forward to the next iteration.
How far along is Volvo CE in developing electric engines or alternate fuels for quarrying vehicles?
Volvo has a target by 2030 that 35 per cent of its output is electric machines, and by 2050, they are targeting a large number of fossil-free machines. In terms of electric offerings, there’s the ECR25 excavator and the L25 loader. They’re not available in Australia but there is a lot of work behind the scenes and that technology will eventually filter through the range over time.
How advanced is Volvo CE in bringing autonomous vehicles and automation to the quarrying market?
Volvo run pilots globally in this space. There is semi-autonomous operation in the Dig Assist program with some excavators and in future there will be mapping functions which will make all the machines visible to each other. That will be a huge safety feature; the software will know when machines need to slow down or pick up speed, and it will warn all the operators when passing can be done.
What will be major challenges for the quarrying industry in the next three years?
There will be challenges around the pace of change of technology, and how to support those new technologies, from a dealer perspective. The industry has moved at a certain pace for the past 10 years but the rate of change has increased. There will be challenges around power sources for electric products. Challenged supply chains in the next 12 months will make life more difficult.
How can CJD assist the extractive industry with meeting these future challenges?
Through transparency, ensuring we maintain meaningful relationships with our customer base, and we become a partner of choice to them. We need to continue to supply world class product and technologies, support levels, information and ensure our network has quality people.
As dealers we have to be more intimately involved in our customers’ businesses. The OEM/customer relationship is no longer a transactional one, the relationship is now very collaborative and project-based. That’s something Volvo wants to lead on.
For more information about Volvo CE products and CJD’s programs and services, visit cjd.com.au
This article appears in the January issue of Quarry Magazine.