Technical expertise and applications knowledge, through a team of product specialists and skilled field service personnel, has seen Multotec grow its market share in Botswana. “Multotec’s permanent presence in Botswana is underpinned by the level of service support that is being rendered to customers,” says Kris Vergote, general manager, Multotec Botswana.
From initial small beginnings with a Multotec Wear Linings branch in September 2008, the operation has grown to a fully-fledged Botswana company, Multotec Botswana (Pty) Ltd.
“We currently operate four mine site offices at Jwaneng, Orapa, Damtshaa and Letlhakane respectively, with our main office in the town of Letlhakane. It has always been Multotec’s operating strategy to position ourselves close to our customers’ operations, and to ensure that our people have an in-depth understanding of the culture of the country in which we operate,” Vergote points out.
“Empowering our people is considered paramount to the ongoing success in Botswana and an extensive investment is made in skills development and training, not only from a product perspective but also when it comes to other aspects of the business such as administration and management,” he adds. Multotec sees this as a sustainable business model which will see the local operation able to grow and support its customer base in the country.
Vergote explains that the business in Botswana has developed very quickly and currently the most significant portion of Multotec’s turnover is around field servicing. Dedicated field service teams with all the necessary expertise and skills are in place to provide the high levels of support which Multotec customers have come to expect from this South African based OEM. While each field service team, led by a manager, will typically be allocated to specific sections of the plants the individuals are trained across a spectrum of products.
“A major differentiator for customers is that the Multotec field servicing teams are multi-skilled and thus able to work across a number of our products. This is an advantage to the customer as it means that they will have continuous access to personnel with the necessary technical expertise and applications knowledge to support the full process plant in terms of maintenance and servicing,” says Vergote. Multotec technicians cover the full range of company products from cyclones to screen panels and wear linings applications.
As part of its field service offering the company also undertakes condition monitoring that includes screen panel wear rates, cyclones and wear resistant liners on all components of transfer systems on the mine. Monitoring is undertaken using the Multotec Hawkeye® monitoring system. Hawkeye® allows proactive planning and facilitates advance warning on any potential problems or maintenance issues. Vergote says that by using this sophisticated software programme it is simpler to reduce unplanned downtime and minimise maintenance and repairs on a plant.
Another important benefit of the field service teams’ interaction with customers is that having skilled personnel close to the customer operation facilitates an in-depth understanding of individual customer processes. This, together with monthly visits to site by Multotec technical experts, goes a long way to facilitating product development and innovations.
“Collaboration between our customers and a range of specialists from Multotec means that an accurate application assessment can be made and a holistic solution aimed at meeting those specific requirements can be provided. In this way we are able to help customers drive down costs while maintaining maximised throughput,” Vergote says.
Future plans will see the Multotec Botswana operation maintain an increased stockholding of product, which will facilitate easy access and meet local procurement requirements. In addition, the company plans to expand its support centre and will undertake light fabrication and ceramic lining work. This will also see the transfer of skills to local employees.