Joy Australia completes strategic review

WITH the appointment of an enhanced executive team, Joy Australia has signalled a willingness to learn from past mistakes and tackle the things clients most want — quality workmanship and on-time delivery of repairs.

Staff Reporter

Joining the incumbent directors of Joy Australia — managing director Mark Finlay, director of engineering Brad Neilson and director of finance Graeme Gardiner — are: Ross Dill, who has been appointed as director of HR & business improvement; George Carpenter, who has been made director operations; and Stephen Newson, who becomes director of sales.

Newson has extensive international longwall mining experience, most recently as technical services manager with the Moranbah North mine in Queensland. This is indicative of Joy’s strategy of developing a management team with direct mining and operational experience in an effort to strengthen its relationships with customers.

An important change within Joy’s sales team is the introduction of four specialist product managers, each responsible for one of four areas — shearers, shields and AFCs, miners and haulage, and electronic controls systems — across Joy’s client base.

“When I was at Moranbah North I always said going back to Franklin, USA, or Worcester in the UK for technical assistance should be the last resort,” Newson said. “Australia needs and deserves this kind of support.”

In bringing a dedicated, specialist focus, each product manager will be able to help on-site service engineers with higher level problem solving — the types of problems that in the past were deferred back to the OE specialists.

Potentially, each product manager will play an important bridging role, allowing more meaningful communication between customers, sales staff, and Joy product development engineers, throughout Joy’s various organisations around the world.

In addition, the product managers’ specialist exposure to a range of issues and problems would be fed back into Joy’s global product development team. The managers are: Ken McCallum (shearers); Colin Merriman (AFCs and supports); and Bill Furniss (miners & haulage). The electronic control systems position is expected to be filled in the near term.

Similarly, Carpenter brings a wealth of experience with a range of original equipment manufacturers, including Dowty, Meco, Dobson Park and Joy. Carpenter was vice president of manufacturing at Longwall International when the company was bought by Joy parent, Harnischfeger, in 1996. Most recently, Carpenter headed up Joy’s AFC manufacturing facility at Worcester. “My brief (in Australia) is to bring our operations in line with the business — how should we do our business in New South Wales and Queensland where the problems tend to be different,” he said. “Secondly to improve our ability to deliver our equipment back to customers on time, to the quality they expect and on budget.”

One of Carpenter’s areas of focus will be reducing the cycle time in the ‘repair and return’ business. “We are putting in processes to establish where the disconnects are and working to iron these out,” he said. “It has generally been the way we quote, the way we strip and report, or the way we do the rebuild that takes too long. The focus we are driving throughout the business is centred around the philosophy that when we take in a piece of equipment for overhaul, it is a vital asset of our customer. We need to continuously improve our management of that asset while it is with us.”

Carpenter said an upgrade of the Queensland workshop (at Rockhampton) had commenced, and would include a new hydraulics repair facility, specialist gearbox shop and overall site “process management” improvements, in order to handle the variances in projected work. Project completion is earmarked for the end of June.

Finlay said Joy Australia continues to undergo a strategic review of its operations and align itself to best support the Australian coal industry. “We need to be a responsive business and continue developing a culture internally that focuses on customer satisfaction, is easy to do business with and employs sound business and commercial practices,” he said. “The coal industry has been through significant cost cutting pressures over the past five years. Customer support management has seen many good people leave the industry. We have a focus on developing the skill base here in Australia to manage our operations into the future.”

Originally published in the March 2001 edition of Australia's Longwalls.