A remote area contracting and plant hire company is reaping unexpected benefits from becoming an early adopter of a recently introduced online parts ordering system.
Bennett Contracting and Plant Hire of Clermont, 300km inland from Mackay and almost 1000km from Brisbane, signed onto the my.komatsu.com.au parts online ordering platform simply to streamline its day-to-day business with its key machinery supplier.
Instead, it has found a pathway to ordering essential replacement parts for its other machines as well, at a substantial cost saving.
And it has significantly reduced freight costs to its remote depot.
The service has already created savings ‘in the thousands’, all of which have gone to the company’s bottom line.
Consolidation of its parts supply onto one ordering system had reaped substantial rewards, according to Bennett’s workshop maintenance manager, Patrick Anderson.
Komatsu launched the intuitive parts ordering portal on its my.komatsu.com.au customer website just 12 months ago, specifically to assist customers like Bennett Contracting maximise their service and maintenance schedules.
The portal is available to all Komatsu customers as a free of charge subscription.
“I must admit I was sceptical when Komatsu Customer Support Sales Representative Alistair Ross presented it to me,” Patrick said.
“I’m pushing 50 and I’ve been used to doing my parts ordering business over the phone, even though it can be aggravating.”
Alistair helped his client to get started on the portal and to open a range of opportunities well in excess of a streamlined ordering system. “If I order parts worth more than $500, the freight to my workshop is free,” Patrick said. “A reasonable percentage of my orders come from Brisbane so that represents a huge saving, especially if I’m smart about predicting my needs to ensure they meet the minimum freight requirement.”
Bennett Contracting runs a fleet of five 650-series Komatsu graders and two D65 bulldozers at the hub of a hire fleet, which encompasses more than a dozen prime movers and associated lighting plants and generators.
“We’ve just taken on another Komatsu D65 bulldozer to service increasing requirements from the shire,” Patrick said.
“The myKomatsu Customer Portal provides instant access to the online Parts Books for the new machine, so its management has become easier and more visible right from the outset.”
Bennett Contracting services mines, agriculture and council requirements over a 300km radius, and adheres to a strict 250-hour servicing policy on all its machinery, made necessary by extreme operating conditions.
Dust on earth works, particularly, is a major concern.
“The myKomatsu portal has opened great opportunity to us,” Patrick said.
“It offers a range of top-quality components to suit all our machinery, especially regular replacement items like fuel and air filters.
“Some are at prices well below those we’d been paying, and when you take into account the reduced freight charges, it’s a very competitive arrangement.”
Bennett Contracting began more than 20 years ago as an adjunct to the agricultural operation of local cattle farmers Greg and Sophie Bennett, with “a Komatsu grader and a water truck,” according to Patrick.
It has grown to employ more than 30 skilled operators – substantial in a rural community with a population of just 3000 – and according to Patrick Anderson, it is continuing to grow.
According to Alistair Ross, take up of the my.komatsu.com.au portal in Emerald and the Isaac shire has been growing significantly.
“The interruption brought about by COVID-19 restrictions has reduced contact at our branch and made an online service even more essential,” he said.
Customers are able to pay by credit card or on account, and receive live tracking updates via email during the delivery process, starting with an instant confirmation that the order has been received.
“Access to a complete order history, including those made by means other than the online portal, gave customers full transparency of their spend with Komatsu and aids their accounting process,” Alistair said.
“Importantly, the portal has been made extremely intuitively so customers can import and export shopping cart choices at the click of a button without having to manually enter every single part number. “It’s a system that virtually eliminates errors.”