Fri, 27/10/2017 - 06:55
Hitachi Construction Machinery Zambia is achieving excellence in all aspects of its operations, adopting an innovative approach to support its clientele nationwide
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Vivek Valmiki
When it comes to products and services, Hitachi Construction Machinery Zambia (HCMZ) uncompromisingly fulfils its promise to provide reliable solutions to customers. With product support teams that are closely involved in all aspects of customer-facing business, the Company maintains a clear understanding of each project’s requirements.
In the early days of Hitachi Zambia, the Company operated as a branch of Hitachi Construction Machinery South Africa before becoming incorporated as a full dealership in October, 2010. Initially Hitachi Zambia operated out of its office in Kitwe - the Copperbelt Province - before recently relocating to its current head-office in Lusaka.
“Our head office and remanufacturing centre are both located in Lusaka,” explains Nawa Mataa, Corporate Director of Administration. “We also have established a presence in Solwezi, working with the Kansanshi Mine and in Kalumbila for the Barrick Lumwana Mine as well as a workshop in Kitwe.”
The main bulk of the Company’s business is focused on remanufacturing key components for customers to utilise, particularly specialising in hydraulic pumps, motors and cylinders, electric motors for excavators and alternators, wheel motors for the Diesel electric trucks, and transmissions for trucks and excavators.
“To put it simply we provide a reliable solution for all Hitachi machines, spanning the length of time from the date of purchase to the date the machinery is decommissioned,” adds Mataa. “In addition to this we recently added a sales department which could cater for construction-size machines, assisting with the demand for small to medium machines in our rapidly developing country.”
Determination, vision and quality
Developing its services to meet the needs of the local market is an aspect that the Company greatly excels in, as well as identifying clients’ needs and shortcomings in order to aid them in developing those areas. This is achieved through a determined vision to provide a top quality service to its customers, investing in tools and equipment to improve efficiency.
“Our in-house design teams are exceptional, working around the clock to create a constant flow of new ideas,” continues Mataa. “Recently this has resulted in creations such as electric-hydraulic excavators and battery-powered excavators, both of which are making significant contributions to achieving zero exhaust emissions and lower CO2 emissions.
“We have also worked on creating a hybrid system with energy efficient hydraulics, reducing fuel consumption by approximately 15 percent compared to standard models.”
Alongside the call for designs that aid in creating lower emissions, the mining industry in Zambia in particular is demanding a lower cost-per-hour for operating overheads. With Hitachi Zambia’s electric drive system totally manufactured by the Company itself, such requirements have once again been achieved seamlessly.
Mataa describes: “For example, the trolley assist systems on our dump trucks utilise overhead power lines to allow the truck to drive electricity from the power grid, and subsequently results in increased ramp speeds while also decreasing fuel burn.”
Nationwide customer retention
Its drive to achieve excellence and innovation in all aspects of business has aided Hitachi in achieving a nationwide clientele, some its largest customers including Barrick and FQM in the north-western Province.
Mataa affirms: “When it comes to construction the majority of our clients are involved in various projects in Zambia, including dam construction, housing projects, specialist projects that include the improvement of water reticulation and sewerage under the Millennium Challenge Account, and agricultural projects, to name a few.”
The Company has strived to create a successful strategy for customer retention across the country, with one of its tactics involving setting up the remanufacturing centre in Lusaka to attract new potential customers. The premise of this strategy is based on the need for improved component turnaround, guaranteeing high levels of machine availability for a customer’s fleet.
“Our remanufacturing centre has allowed us to provide services not only to customers who have bought new machines from HCMZ, but also offer the same quality service to those who purchased their Hitachi machines through global dealers,” explains Mataa. “All of these dealerships are part of a network of our esteemed clients and strengthen our drive to offer reliable solutions to both mining and construction consumers.”
The Hitachi Group’s investment in the country was not only placed with the hope of further domestic development, but also to ensure that young locals are being developed and taught the relevant skills required to run a large-scale facility in the industry.
“A combination of the skill levels we are training for and the fact we are part of an international organisation has made our employees particularly desirable in both the local and global market,” continues Mataa. “We have also created a gateway for recent graduates, through an internship programme that bridges the relatively sizable gap between academia and industry.”
The Company also encourages employees at all stages of their career within the Company to work on its numerous corporate social responsibility projects (CSR), a factor which has always been a huge part of HCMZ and a good way to give back to the community, schools and hospitals.
“In a broader context, we have been involved in a select few projects in all our branch locations; namely Solwezi, Kitwe and Lusaka,” states Mataa. “These projects have been covered in partnership with Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) which is aimed at improving livelihood, health and education of households in selected areas of our location districts between 2014 and 2016.”
Since the beginning of 2017, the Company has been running its CSR projects independently through its branch locations. The aim of this action is to build good relationships with partners and communities to improve the image, and to enhance the credibility of Hitachi Zambia.
“Currently we are trying to focus our efforts on projects and infrastructure donations, feeling increasingly optimistic that with amplified financial and political stability our clients will continue to invest in Zambia,” concludes Mataa. “Alongside our clients, the support and future support of the Government and its partners - such as Millennium Challenge - is extremely exciting for our Company and those working in the industry moving forward.”