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Tadano’s Showstopping Support Strategies

With the number of customers continuing to increase and a growing population of cranes across the country, Tadano Oceania invests in strategies designed to deliver the highest levels of product support, service and parts availability. Jason Civich, National Parts Manager, Nathan Regester, National Service Manager and Joe Arena, National Product Support Manager explain further.

Jason has been working with the Tadano brand for 13 years and has been the National Parts Manager since 2018. He discusses his role today, the challenges his team faces and how the Spare Parts department supports Tadano Oceania’s interstate and international operations. “We have four branches in Australia with Brisbane being our largest operation and head office and with our Western Australian operation not far behind it. We also have facilities in Sydney and Melbourne and dealers in Adelaide and New Zealand,” he said. “We’ve identified what machines we have in the various regions, and we focus on the continued supply of recommended and critical spare parts for the machines in those regions. These include the serviceable parts such as oils, filters, belts and other fast-moving items. As these parts are being used by the various operations, our inventory control systems automatically replenish the parts from our stock holdings in our larger branches, being Brisbane and Perth,” he said.

“We also closely monitor the availability of critical spare parts which we call ‘showstoppers’. These parts are critical for machines working on site, and we have to ensure they are available to minimise a cranes’ downtime. In Western Australia, for example, we have a large population of cranes in the Pilbara region and if there is an issue, we offer a next flight service using Qantas to get parts to them in time critical situations. “There are a lot of things that can go wrong with machines, and these are not just related to operator error.

Today’s cranes feature complex electrical and hydraulic systems which can falter, and we use algorithms to understand what parts we are consuming in any particular region. We stock those particular parts to minimise downtime and increase customer satisfaction. Because we are supporting our service department as well as providing product support, we try to ensure we are holding the right amount in the right locations,” said Jason. Jason adds that from a global perspective, parts availability and supply chain disruptions are still a significant problem. “Being able to source parts from vendors, particularly in Europe, continues to be difficult, and my team works closely with our service and workshop teams; providing them with the right information and enabling them to provide customers with accurate timelines relating to services, major inspections or 10 year rebuilds. “We work in the same way with our field service technicians. We’ve already diagnosed and identified the issues that the particular machines are having and have supplied those parts to our field service technicians. If they do happen to come across an additional repair, we use Qantas for the next flight and our field service technician intercepts that part to expedite the job,” says Jason.

“Our spare parts team includes a number of parts supervisors and between us we would have close to 50 years combined experience in the crane industry. This group has a very high skillset and includes some of the best interpreters in the industry. “We work with the utmost urgency and pride ourselves on response times to the customers. We don’t want to leave them hanging so we offer them the best possible service. I am talking to our team every day and we are focused on our goal of getting the customer’s machines up and running in the quickest possible time,” he said.

Nathan Regester is the National Service Manager and has been working with the Tadano brand for 13 years. He explains how Tadano’s Service Department works closely with the Parts Department to ensure parts are available for scheduled works. “We work very closely with our Parts Department and that’s critical for our element of the business. We are also working closely with our customers; we schedule the works in advance and pre-plan all the parts to ensure they are available before we get the machine into the workshop.

Minimising downtime for the customers is our ultimate end game and we don’t bring equipment into the workshop if we haven’t got the parts available, for whatever reason,” he said. The service teams understand major inspections are significant investments for customers and meticulous planning is required to ensure the crane gets through the workshop as quickly as possible. “Wherever possible we like to conduct a pre-inspection of the machine before it comes to our workshop. This is so that we know the parts we are definitely going to need, and this inspection enables us to identify other issues so that we can pre-organise the required parts and have it all ready before we bring the crane into the workshop. When it does arrive, we have the parts ready which helps minimize downtime,” said Nathan.

Tadano operates a highly successful apprenticeship program which is ably assisted by a highly experienced team of Service Technicians. “We currently have seven apprentices in the business, all at varying stages. Some are about to complete their time with others just starting. We’re obviously actively recruiting as well. “Wherever possible we try to bring on our own technicians and we have a number of senior technicians who have been with the business for a long time. They mentor the younger team members sharing their knowledge and experience. All our technicians receive ongoing training, including factory training, and we are continually focused on the growth of our team members,” said Nathan.

Tadano operates four significant workshops which are in Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. “Queensland and Perth are large and relatively new purpose-built facilities, and both boast large workshops and yard space. This means we can handle multiple major jobs including insurance, accident repairs, plus the general day-to-day servicing. “New South Wales and Victoria have slightly smaller but fully equipped workshops, which are ideal for minor servicing and repairs, and scheduled major works for these two. We also operate 15 fully mobile service technicians operating from vehicles and we fly technicians wherever we need them to be to support our customers,” said Nathan.

Joe Arena has been in the role of National Product Support Manager for four and a half years and he has been associated with the Terex and Demag brands for over 20. He explains the importance of his team within Tadano
Oceania. “Tadano’s Product Support team is passionate about our products, and we share this passion with our customers. We support them in all areas of operation including maintenance and technical enquiries and provide information that enables them to get the most out of their cranes. We aim to support our customers the best we can and take into account each customers’ particular set of circumstances to achieve the best result,” said Joe.

Joe explains and emphasises the importance of product support from Tadano’s perspective. “Product Support is very important within the Tadano organisation. If there is an issue, our customers know they have our full support and there will be someone available who can quickly resolve things. Product Support is a key part of the partnership we have with our customers and our aim is to keep their cranes operating safely and efficiently,” he said. The Product Support team is responsible for many disciplines within the Tadano organisation, and these include the commissioning of new cranes and providing customers with a high level of training to help them get the best out of their cranes.

“Our team provides phone and email support answering any technical questions our customers may have. Each team member has over 10 years of experience which means we have the skills and knowledge to tackle the deepest technical challenges. Tadano Oceania also has a close and strong relationship with our overseas factories, allowing us to provide fast and accurate response times. We also support our customers 24/7 for urgent breakdown assistance,” said Joe. Tadano Oceania currently has seven direct Product Support Team members covering Australia, New Zealand and PNG, and a development program that encourages talented younger workshop team members to continuously grow their skill base to enhance their technical

Joe explains how closely Product Support team works with the Parts and
particularly the Service Teams. “We work very closely with our Service Team, supporting them with ‘deep’ technical issues, as well as training and mentoring our younger team members. We also assist our Service Team with major repairs and crane updates where required. We work closely with our Spare Parts department in terms of understanding component trends, including failures. We also work with the team to ensure we have the right parts in stock and in the right locations enabling quick response times for our customers,” said Joe. He goes on to explain how product support is changing as cranes include increasing amounts of complicated technology, emphasising the importance of training.

“In Product Support we love new technology, we get very excited when there is a new model design as it challenges us to learn new technologies and systems. We work closely with our R&D department, and we invest in diagnostic tooling and simulators to promote our learning and enhance the support for our customers. “Product Support also offers training from the operation of a newly purchased crane through to trouble shooting and maintenance of older cranes. We provide specific courses tailored to our customers’ needs to help improve their business and the operations of their cranes,” said Joe.