Keeping the Industry Movings

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-By Robert Hoshowsky

When it comes to making tough and dependable products, few companies can compete with the Caterpillar name. The Cat brand – known for its distinctive black and yellow logo – is behind quality products that are built to last in all industries that demand rugged, powerful, and reliable equipment, from construction to forestry, and marine to mining.

As the Cat dealer for Western Australia, New South Wales, The Australian Capital Territory and North East China, WesTrac Australia has been committed to providing its many customers with superior quality Cat equipment and products for over 20 years. From articulated trucks to forest machines, stump grinders, hydraulic excavators, off-highway trucks, tractors and loaders to the smallest replacement parts, WesTrac offers fast service, dependable products, superior support, and the know-how needed to get your business going.

With an enormous database of over 10,000 customers, including all the major construction and infrastructure contractors within its territories, WesTrac offers equipment sales, rentals, leasing, and a vast array of new and used products that come with a commitment: finding your company the best and most cost-effective solution for your business. When it comes to available parts, no other company comes close.

“We have over $50M of parts in stock and over 110,000 line items,” says Christopher Chappell, General Manager, Construction for WesTrac Pty Ltd. “We deliver parts to all of our facilities overnight using road transport and air freight. Caterpillar and its dealers are known for their parts inventory holdings and ability to support their customers from stock. All of our 14 facilities also have their own inventory on site.”

Equipment Management Cycle
Unlike other companies, WesTrac doesn’t just sell machinery and equipment, but provides solutions that begin with machine selection, and include comprehensive finance options, monitoring of equipment and vital statistics, active participation in the maintenance process, all the way to the ultimate sale of the machine at the end of the cycle. At WesTrac, this is referred to as the Equipment Management Cycle, a series of initiatives that not only offers the finest product support in the industry, but parts supply, technological solutions, and thoughtfully tailored packages that take business to a whole new level. The result for WesTrac’s customers? Greater availability of equipment, extended equipment life, optimised life-cycle costs on maintenance, and improved cash flow planning, all factors leading to greater efficiency and increased profitability.

“Equipment Management is our tag line for a reason,” comments Mr Chappell. “We really do have subject matter experts available from cradle to grave for your equipment, so we can do a myriad of things to ensure that the equipment you purchase is best suited to the application and task at hand.” With programs that model machine load and haul movement and costs out to 50,000 hours, WesTrac is able to predict downtime, uptime, cost, the best time to repair, and the most opportune time to replace, along with new, used and rental options for larger projects. “We can then dispose of the asset should need be and work in a replacement schedule. We have customers who have a life cycle expectation and we meet or exceed those targets for them, including the whole of life cost of the machine.”

Time-Tested Relationships
Over the years, the relationship between WesTrac and Caterpillar has grown to attain unprecedented levels of respect from industry partners and clients alike. Back in 1925, Caterpillar begins its operations in Western Australia. In 1990, the dealership name changed to WesTrac Equipment Pty Ltd and soon achieved a number of milestones. In 1993, it became only the second dealership in the entire world to test 100,000 machine oil samples in one year. In 1995, WesTrac attained the largest sales of Caterpillar equipment in WA Caterpillar dealership history. The following years saw major maintenance and repair contracts being signed, certification, a state-of-the-art truck testing facility upgrade, the launch of the Caterpillar Institute (a joint venture with Caterpillar that set a new benchmark in industry training), and the opening of branches in WA and the WesTrac Rebuild Centre in Tianjin, China. Continually building on its range of products, WesTrac continues to be an organisation dedicated to providing the finest services and support for the Caterpillar brand.

In 2010 – just a year after celebrating 20 successful years of operation in WA – WesTrac and Channel Seven merged to create Seven Group Holdings Ltd. The company today is as strong and focused as ever, and has over 3000 staff in NSW, ACT, and WA, with over 1,400 more people at WesTrac China (WTC). As a result, the company is able to offer a range of products and services for all its equipment.

“WesTrac has a myriad of systems for maintaining fleets of equipment,” says Mr Chappell. “We have over 2,000 dedicated service personnel who are based both in the field and in workshops. We run to a global standard of maintenance as prescribed in the Caterpillar Owning and Operating manual and repair before failure guidelines, and we have a dedicated preventative maintenance campaign which services the machines at defined intervals in workshops, in the field and on customers’ job/mine sites.”

WesTrac is the only 100 per cent independent company in its industry. An equipment management company, the firm does not “outsource” any key support features for its customers. “We have an in-house oil sampling laboratory, technology products, parts systems, tradespeople, technical support, parts inventory, machine inventory both new and used, importation, and exportation,” says Mr Chappell. “Whilst we have competitors in each of these fields, there is no other organisation that does it all. That, combined with the fact we have 15 facilities spread around NSW so you are never far from the support network that you need to keep your machine running.”

WesTrac believes that in business, you will never make a more important decision than your choice of equipment. Along with performance, reliability, versatility, and the lowest operating cost per hour, WesTrac will be there to help for the life of your machine, whether you are purchasing, renting, or leasing your equipment.

A Wide Range of Clients
The industries served by WesTrac are as varied and unique as the nation itself. In forestry, WesTrac provides its customers with a wide range of Cat Forestry equipment that has been designed, constructed, and supported to help achieve the lowest possible cost per tonne, with products like feller bunchers, harvesters, brushcutters, and mulchers. In construction, customers can choose anything from trucks to motor graders, wheel dozers, asphalt cutters, and more. In areas like mining and quarrying, WesTrac remains the dominant supplier of equipment and associated services to mining industries in WA, NSW and the ACT. For machinery to handle mining, it has to be tough, and WesTrac works in tandem with its mining customers to produce more material at lower costs, increase performance, reduce service time, lower operating expenses, and increase efficiency.

Along with providing machinery and technologies to other sectors including marine, WesTrac is proud of its contracts supplying machines to local governments. Facing tight budgetary restraints, Australia’s local governments are responsible for maintaining almost 85 per cent of the nation’s roads, a tough task in financially challenging times. Recognising these potential obstacles, WesTrac offers a sophisticated program to assist local governments and manage critical machinery costs. Supplying over 60 per cent of local government machinery requirements in NSW, WA and ACT, WesTrac supports its products with a comprehensive network of branches, parts distribution, after sales and field service and hire options for local governments and shires. The company maintains a very transparent tendering process for all local government equipment.

“WesTrac has had a long affiliation with local government, and has won the machines sold to these councils by providing best value for the whole of the machine’s life in accordance with council tender requests,” says Mr Chappell. “We are rate payers in many, many communities within our territory and have infrastructure to support the local government and their assets. We focus on supporting these assets and allow the council to have maximum uptime for their equipment.”

From new equipment to sales of used products, equipment management, comprehensive service, thousands of quality parts, a wide range of purchasing, leasing and rental options, and high-performance Caterpillar brand products to service Australia’s mining, minerals, marine, construction, forestry and government sectors, WesTrac has everything necessary to get business up and running. The company’s objective, says Mr Chappell, is to create and deliver outstanding value to all of it stakeholders, employees, community, customers and shareholders, a philosophy which will ensure the company repeat business for years to come.

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

July 14, 2020, 2:07 PM AEST