QUESTION: Komatsu has been very
innovative through the years in integrating
technology such as KOMTRAX and
intelligent Machine Control into equipment.
ANSWER: Regarding intelligent Machine
Control (iMC), we started with the D61i dozer,
then expanded it to smaller finish-grade
dozers, the D51i, D39i and D37i. We intend to
launch our first iMC excavator in the United
States in the near future.
Building good, high-tech machines, such
as our iMC products with industry-leading
specs and features, is just the first step. That’s
the minimum any top manufacturer must do.
At Komatsu, our goal is to also provide great
service and, ultimately, offer “total solutions”
to help customers overcome the challenges
QUESTION: Can you give examples of such
Komatsu “total solutions”?
ANSWER: Let’s stay with iMC dozers.
The product itself, with factory-integrated
blade-control technology, is significant, and
to my knowledge, it’s unique in the industry.
But in and of itself, it’s not a total solution.
However, when you factor in KOMTRAX,
Komatsu CARE (complimentary maintenance
for the first three years or 2,000 hours), and
the fact that nearly all of our dealers have a
Technology Solutions Expert on staff – those are
service solutions that I believe are a step ahead
of other manufacturers. Finally, to encompass
the full iMC solution to the customer,
three-dimensional modeling, as well as daily
productivity, will become part of the portfolio.
Our Autonomous mining truck is another
example. It’s not just that we make a
driverless truck that’s already operational in
mines. The total solution is everything that
goes along with it, such as a dispatch system
and fleet-management services.
Those are the types of total solutions
we’re working toward. Are we all the way
there yet? No. But we’re working with
our distributors and customers, so they
understand the direction and can see how
we intend to differentiate ourselves from the
QUESTION: You mention customers, where
do they fit in?
ANSWER: At the very top. They are why
we do what we do. My background is in
design engineering, and I’m hands-on when
it comes to equipment. I like to see it at work
on the job. That’s why it’s my intention to
visit every state and talk to our distributors
and also to their customers. I want to know
what they like and what they need. Most
of all, I want to get facts and see for myself
what’s happening on construction sites so
I’ll know firsthand what we need to do to
improve our customers’ experiences.
QUESTION: What’s the equipment
market like right now and what are you
anticipating for the rest of this year and
ANSWER: It’s a mix. A few years ago,
mining was very strong. This year, it isn’t.
That’s especially true for new-equipment
sales. We still have good parts and service
sales at mines that are still operating, but
we would like to see the mining side of our
business improve. It’s especially important
to Komatsu America because we have the
Komatsu “mother plant” for large, electric
dump trucks right here in Peoria, Ill.
Demand for construction equipment, on
the other hand, is good, and we’re projecting
a strong market for the remainder of the
year and into the future. The total number
of units sold continues to increase, and at
Komatsu, we’re improving market share. We
believe that’s a result of innovations such as
iMC machines, Komatsu CARE, KOMTRAX
and hybrid excavators. As long as we keep
innovating and giving customers tools to
do their jobs better, Komatsu will continue
to be a major force in the heavy-equipment
industry and can become indispensable to