Slowdown helps fight off competition

GLOBAL hydraulics specialist Enerpac has found the commodity price downturn to be particularly helpful in fending off competitors who are making serious moves to encroach on its turf, its bolting products manager Patrick Molloy has told International Coal News.
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Anthony Barich

One positive result of the prolonged downturn in the coal sector has been the emergence nearly two years ago of the Enerpac Service Vehicle that was introduced in the Bowen Basin in 2013 fully equipped to bring mobile audit and maintenance services to time-starved mining, energy and infrastructure construction worksites.

According to Molloy, it was also a way of “keeping up the pressure” on the company’s business in both the Bowen and the Hunter Valley, where nearly every mine site has made use of it.

The mobile unit was the fruit of a joint venture with Cooper Fluid Systems, equipping a Mazda BT 50 mobile workstation with testing, tool performance verification (to original calibration), certification and other widely needed technologies to save busy customers time by bringing to their workplaces services vital to safety, reliability and avoiding downtime.

“Just about all the mine sites are taking advantage of it. The response has been excellent,” Molloy told ICN.

“If we looked at it from a purely sales perspective, it has dug out some application and sales in the Hunter Valley and Bowen Basin that we would not have got without that vehicle, as it goes right and site and looks at all our applications.

“There is more involvement following its return, but in the slow down period it’s the sort of thing you need to do to get every advantage you can.”

“It’s working very much in our favour. We’ve got a lot of competition out there trying to take what’s traditionally been our market.”

The company has also used the slowdown to take the microscope not only to existing markets but other geographic locations where its presence has not been so strong, like Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.

“I don’t think there’s anyone who has not seen business drop off,” Molloy said.

“We’ve used the time to look out existing markets and ways we can be more active in them, as there are always opportunities that, when things are running at a million miles an hour, that you skip over.

So we’ve gone back in there and had a closer look at opportunities, because with our products the things they can be used for is almost never-ending.

“That’s generating quite a lot of new business, and good business. We’ve looked at geographical areas that we haven’t been active in and promoting those a lot more, like Papua New Guinea (gold, nickel, oil and gas) and New Caledonia, with the Goro project and Koniambo nickel projects, and some of the other major industrial sites up there.

“We’re also having a closer look at areas within Western Australia and the traditional places where we go.”