As mines come to terms with operating under COVID-19 lockdown measures, they have become increasingly reliant on support from their equipment suppliers.
Despite working with a reduced staff complement and having to deal with new logistical as well as health and safety measures, Pump & Abrasion Technologies (PABT) continues to supply and support its clients with the same efficiency it has become synonymous with, general manager SHAWN DONLY tells GERARD PETER.
According to Donly, PABT is aware that its customers are concerned about the negative impact the outbreak could have on their supply chain and their ability to keep operations running smoothly or even at all.
Also, the company recognises that the safety of both its customers and its own staff are of paramount importance. It is with this in mind that PABT has implemented a number of measures to ensure that its customers can ensure business continuity in these unprecedented COVID-19 times.
These measures relate to the supplying of pumps, repairs, technical support and the introduction of new health and safety procedures.
Donly explains that despite working with a smaller team, PABT was still fully functional during the initial COVID-19 lockdown stage.
“During lockdown, we offered support to some of our clients such as coal mines who are regarded as critical service providers. This included assisting with breakdowns and 24/7 technical support,” he states.
“Even though we are only operating with less than 50% of our staff, we are able to, almost without exception, meet the requirements of our customers. Many of our customers are still not fully operational in line with government regulations but as they commence and ramp up their operations, we are confident that we will continue to meet all customer needs without interruption.”
An open invitation to all companies
PABT’s ability to offer its full array of pumps, parts and technical support stems from it foresight to plan and adapt its business model according to its customers’ needs.
A large part of this is down to its high levels of stock availability at its Curve City headquarters in Centurion as well as at satellite branches such as Steelpoort, Limpopo.
“We have always invested heavily in maintaining high levels of stock which differentiates us from our competitors, particularly during this time. This includes having an adequate supply of pumps and spares for our interchangeable Battlemax slurry pump range and Battlesub submersible range.
“We also keep high levels of stock for our entire Curve pump range. Furthermore, we have a very stable supply chain on all of our ranges. Our foundry is 100% operational and as such, our turnaround times are the same as before the pandemic,” adds Donly.
The fact that PABT is well stocked has also meant that new customers are also engaging with the company for their pump equipment needs, particularly those who have older pumps.
“While we support our OEM Curve range, our Battlemax range supports most legacy pumps running in the sector,” says Donly.
Safety top of mind
PABT has also taken into account the fact that its customers are operating with limited staff and the safety of these workers is of primary concern. To that end, it has put in a place a number of solutions to carry out onsite repairs. This includes washing and sanitising all equipment prior to packaging and delivery.
If allowed, PABT is also able to provide onsite assistance while adhering to all of the required PPE and safety measure requirements to fulfil the necessary tasks.
Read more about COVID-19
In addition, the company is also offering off-site repairs to limit the unwanted interaction of the client’s personnel conducting the pump rebuilds and repairs themselves. As an added benefit collection and delivery of all products are offered free of charge.
“We are able to swap out a pump and then repair it offsite, thereby minimising downtime at the mine. Also, if a customer prefers, we can upgrade their legacy pump to our more advance Curve pump range during a swap out,” states Donly.
Many mine sites have restricted access to suppliers on site which Donly says could result in a lack of pump expertise on site. To mitigate this, PABT is offering remote 24-hour technical support where experts are available to assist.
What’s more, this is a free service and is available to all mining companies throughout the world, not just PABT customers – all you need to do is visit www.pabtglobal.com or email the company.
One of the key tenets of PABT’s business is customer service and this is even more crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Customer service is one of the most critical components of our business model and it is how we believe we can further differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
“These are the current needs we have identified and introduced to our service offering and as time progresses, we will identify further opportunities to help our customers.
“As the environment changes and customers’ needs change, we will always endeavour to be at the forefront of providing innovative solutions,” adds Donly.
As such, innovation into developing more cost-effective products is ongoing, Donly explains. “Even now, our R&D department continues to look into new innovations.”
It is this innovation and the proven cost savings of its Curve pump range that Donly believes will assist PABT in making more inroads into the market.
“During difficult economic circumstances, companies are under pressure to reduce costs. Our Curve technology undoubtedly provides the best Total Ownership Cost (TOC) saving over other slurry pumps.
Mines are looking to save money by reducing their power consumption, reducing parts usage and reducing maintenance costs, and this is what drives them to invest in our more technologically advanced Curve products,” he concludes.