Komatsu supply chain focus

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Improvements in business practice an unexpected benefit of pandemic response, Komatsu says

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Higher work productivity and efficiency of solutions in supply-chain management as well as machinery maintenance in the mining and construction industries are likely to become permanent outcomes of response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Komatsu has announced.

The manufacturer says that greater emphasis on agile  supply chain methods, a ramping up of E-commerce ordering, greater reliance on sophisticated machine monitoring allied to customer support centres, and the flexible deployment of key staff to areas of immediate need, have all become part of a rapid evolution process over the course of just two  months.

"We are already planning for life after Covid-19 and it will contain efficiencies which we have developed as a response to the pandemic," Komatsu Australia’s executive general manager of people and strategy Colin Shaw says.

This includes substantial change to the company’s parts supply chain process, says Komatsu, which has optimised the relationship between regional branches and centralized distribution centres by the use of predictive modelling techniques.

A recently inaugurated ‘Start Safe’ policy, intended to meet and exceed workplace safety requirements, has adapted well to the current challenge.

"Meticulous process detail goes right to the heart of good customer relations," Shaw says.

"Once a machine has been serviced and cleaned, a tag indicates its condition, which gives customer’s confidence that every consideration has been taken to ensure the health of their employees.

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Komatsu’s technicians have been Covid-19 trained and certified. Paramedics have been employed at key manufacturing sites and split shift protocols have been introduced, ranging from separated workplaces and crib rooms through to designated machinery disinfection time between major operations.

Customer communication identified potential areas of vulnerability in their operations and Komatsu had worked directly with its staff to find solutions.

Komatsu Australia now has a supply-chain task force with access to global factories to visualise and plan responses to the fast-moving consequences of the pandemic.

"At any moment, we have more than a dozen potential scenarios in planning to ensure that our response time is minimised, and that we are not totally reactionary," Shaw says.

"We are learning a lot and already our findings are being translated into new training programs that will pass through our network."

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