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Australian miners call for more spare parts

World Coal,

A new report, Winning And Retaining Business In The Australian Mining Equipment Sector, 2014, has found that Australian miners consider the availability of replacements parts to be the most important criterion when choosing an equipment supplier.

A Timetric survey of mine managers, maintenance managers, procurement managers and other key decision-makers currently working in over 90 Australian mines, ‘availability of replacement parts’ was one of the top two factors when choosing an equipment supplier. It was also the most frequently cited area for improvement. Together with ‘product quality/reliability’, these two factors were consistently rated higher than any other factors when choosing an equipment supplier, regardless of location, mine method, or commodity.

In the survey, respondents were asked to rate the importance of 16 factors that could be categorised in cost, product attributes, and supplier attributes and capabilities. Apart from ‘availability of parts’ (rated an average 8.82 out of 10) other highly rated factors included: ‘product quality/reliability’ (9.13), ‘on time delivery’ (8.14), ‘maintenance and service costs’ (7.92) and ‘average total operating hours’ (7.84). While some of the lowest rated factors were: ‘Lowest price’ (6.30), ‘breadth of supplier’s range’ (6.05), and a ‘complete service solution’ (6.78). Generally factors relating to product attributes, and supplier attributes were more highly rated than factors relating to cost, with respondents placing more importance on high quality equipment that could support the efficient operation of a mine rather than being the lowest-cost equipment available.

In regards to satisfaction with their suppliers, many of the respondents gave their current suppliers high satisfaction ratings due to their ability to deliver spare parts, with comments such as: “Parts delivered on time”, “immediately availability of spare parts” and “more parts available in quicker time frames.”

According to Cliff Smee, Analyst at Timetric, “the key for improving customer satisfaction is by providing a high quality, reliable product and supporting that product with widely available parts together with cost reductions/minimisation.” When looking at areas for improvement, ‘availability of parts’ was the top area of improvement cited by 51% of survey respondents. This was above ‘product quality/reliability’ (42%) and ‘ability to support cost reduction/minimisation’ (47%). However, Smee continues, “when it comes to winning new business, we found the successful suppliers stood out when it came to their ability to build long-term relationships, understand their customer needs and provide better maintenance and service than the competition.”

Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson

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