BUSINESS SOLUTIONS GROUP 2.0
New leader continues the focus on finding money-saving efficiencies in customers’ operations
QUESTION: Is it fair to say that Komatsu‘s Business Solutions Group (BSG) is entering its second generation?
ANSWER: Yes, it is. The group started from scratch in 2015, based on a conversation with Vice President, Products and Services Rich Smith, who had some ideas he wanted to bring from Mining into the Construction Division. That first discussion wasn't much more than Rich talking through three slides describing his vision, but they turned out to be quite prescient.
Ken Calvert was the team’s leader, with me as his deputy. We hired the initial team members and built from the ground up. We spent the first 18 months trying to make a name for the group and telling customers what we could offer. Eventually, we found our groove and reached the point where people were asking us to do things for them.
This year we’ve experienced a lot of changes, beginning with Ken’s retirement. Additionally, we “graduated” that first team and welcomed several new faces, as was always the plan. The idea isn’t to make a career in the BSG; we think that rotating in new people creates fresh ideas and perspectives. This is like a second version; however, now we have the benefit of a clear direction and established reputation. It’s a very exciting time.
The Business Solutions Group is focusing on creating synergy with other Komatsu teams to help deliver better results for customers. “By working together, we can blend services and continue to streamline the process and increase efficiency,” said Matt Beinlich.
Matt Beinlich says that the defining trait of the Business Solutions Group is the resolve to find the data and information needed to solve customers’ problems.
Helping customers build an efficient fleet through right-sizing is a common task for the Business Solutions Group. “We evaluate the customer’s operation and applications and then make fleet recommendations, which typically saves money while boosting production,” said Director, Business Solutions Group Matt Beinlich.
QUESTION: What are some of the group’s successful initiatives to date?
ANSWER: Two things that we’ve had a significant part in are right-sizing customers’ fleets and developing the Total Cost Assurance program. With right-sizing, we look at a customer’s operation and recommend a fleet that will help them operate in the most efficient way possible by matching equipment to the application. This idea has really caught on with equipment owners.
The Total Cost Assurance idea adapts what the mining industry refers to as RAMPs or repair and maintenance plans. However, there are some key differences between the economics of mining and construction machines. For example, construction machines run fewer hours per year and are rarely overhauled. We worked with one of our distributors, Power Motive Corporation, to understand how they made this concept successful in their territory. We have shared these best practices across the rest of North America. Sometimes, BSG acts more like a proliferator of good ideas, rather than the originator, and we’re just fine with that.
QUESTION: What new areas will the BSG focus on in the future?
ANSWER: As we’ve grown, we’ve noticed some overlap with other groups inside Komatsu. Building upon that synergy is a key goal this year.
For example, when one of Komatsu’s operator trainers meets with an end-user, the trainer coaches the customer on how to use a machine most efficiently. When we visit, we advise them on how to best use that machine within the entire jobsite’s operation. We are doing similar things, although on different levels. By working together, we can blend services and continue to streamline the process and increase efficiency.
QUESTION: What legacy do you hope to establish for the group?
ANSWER: Ken was the perfect person to start this effort and a tremendous mentor, so I hope his fingerprints remain on the BSG for a very long time. He always said that we should strive to be executors. What he meant was that we should finish what we started. It’s really easy to encounter a challenge and give up because there isn’t enough information. When we come to that point, we do the research to find the answer.
That’s been our defining trait so far, and I think that’s why we’re successful. We’re known as problem solvers. Now that our first round of employees is moving into other divisions, I am excited to see how our reputation grows and in what other areas we can help.