QUESTION: What is the role of Komatsu’s
Ripley Parts Operation in Tennessee?
ANSWER: It is the central parts warehouse
for North America and Latin America, with an
emphasis on parts for Komatsu construction,
forestry, forklift and industrial press products.
We also carry parts for what we call “mining
support,” which is inventory related to
Everything – O-rings, engines, transmissions
and some boom-assembly parts – comes
through here and is shipped to our distributors
or one of our eight regional parts distribution
hubs located in the United States and Canada.
We serve Komatsu affiliates globally, too,
but our primary customer base is in North
American and Latin American countries.
Our most important role is ensuring those
parts arrive in a timely manner. The Parts
Operation Department runs two shifts per
day, but we’re really a 24/7/365 operation.
We have a hotline number (731-635-6120) and
staff on-call, so even if customers call during
holidays or off hours, we can still process their
orders and get them shipped. It’s our goal to
have most parts orders in customers’ hands
the same day or the next day.
QUESTION: Why is that important?
ANSWER: When machines are down,
customers are losing money. We understand
that, so our response is critical. The faster
they get the parts, the faster they can be back
up and running. Many customers tell me
that service after the sale is a huge factor in
what brand of equipment they choose, so we
obviously place a heavy emphasis on timely
QUESTION: Why is Ripley, Tennessee, a good
ANSWER: We are strategically located close to
a major freight hub in Memphis. That allows us
to take orders late in the day and still be able to
get parts where they need to be early the next
day, in most cases. For example, if someone in
Washington state places an order at 6 p.m., they
will have it around 10 a.m., depending on what
QUESTION: How likely is it that you will
have the parts on hand that customers need?
ANSWER: Highly likely as we carry about
$560 million in inventory. Our target is
95-percent availability, meaning that when
an order is placed, we have what’s needed on
the shelf and ready to go. Currently we are at
QUESTION: How do you know what
inventory to have on hand?
ANSWER: There are several factors we take into
account. We consider historical demand, and
we collaborate with distributors to understand
their operations and machine populations. We
also use KOMTRAX to monitor data that helps
us anticipate future parts needs. In addition, our
manufacturing plants give us recommended
lists of parts for new machines. All of that
information helps us get a strong hold on what
we need to build inventory and keep parts
stocked at appropriate levels.
QUESTION: What about older machines?
ANSWER: We maintain a good deal of
inventory for machines dating back a decade
or more, so we likely have the needed parts
on hand. If we don’t, we can source parts from
trusted suppliers. We will do everything we can
to make sure customers get what they need.