QUESTION: Tier 4 Final implementation
begins this year. How will you measure
these machines’ success?
ANSWER: The same way we have with
all new tier-level products. First and
foremost, that means the machines meet the
environmental standards without sacrificing
what customers have come to expect from
Komatsu equipment: efficiency, production
and reliability. Komatsu strives to design
and manufacture machines that maintain or
improve productivity with increased fuel
efficiency at each new level. Our testing
indicates the Tier 4 Final machines will
continue that trend.
QUESTION: You went beyond the machine.
ANSWER: New regulations bring trepidation
to the customer because of the unknown
that comes with them. The machines needed
additional components and systems to
reduce emissions, especially with Tier 4
Interim, which caused concern. To ease those
concerns, we introduced Komatsu CARE,
a program that provides complimentary
scheduled maintenance for the first three
years or 2,000 hours, along with two Komatsu
diesel particulate filter changes in the first
five years. We wanted customers to have
every confidence that we stand behind the
machines and our technology, plus make their
lives easier. The response remains great, and
we recently completed the 10,000th service
interval under Komatsu CARE, which will
continue with Tier 4 Final.
QUESTION: How did you know that
customer concern was there?
ANSWER: Because one of our greatest
strengths is listening to customers in the field.
How can we manufacture equipment that
meets their needs if we don’t communicate
with them? That interaction is invaluable and
has driven such initiatives as our KOMTRAX
Mobile App, which brings critical machine
data to a smart phone or other device.
Customers are more mobile than ever, and
they want that information at their fingertips.
Much of the information that’s part of the
KOMTRAX Mobile App today came from
customers’ suggestions. The system has
evolved from the basics, such as error codes
and hours, to a comprehensive tool with idle
times and operational characteristics.
Customers also helped to develop ideas
such as our “i” or intelligent machines. While
traditional aftermarket GPS grading systems
are good, we saw room for improvement,
including taking away the masts and cables
that can get damaged and have to be taken
down and put back up every day. The GPS
systems are also designed only for automated
finish grading, and customers wanted that
benefit from start to finish without the costs
associated with maintaining masts and cables.
We delivered an integrated system that makes
every pass count and works for even the most
inexperienced operator. Then, we took it a
step further and made sure the dozers have
an optimal blade load with minimal track
slip, so the added efficiency was built-in. The
results and response have been phenomenal.
Again, Komatsu in cooperation with our
Distributors, took it beyond the machine by
adding Technology Solutions Experts. These
highly trained individuals ensure customers
get the most out of the intelligent machines,
from initial set up to choosing the proper
modes for maximum efficiency.
QUESTION: What’s on the horizon?
ANSWER: Looking ahead, we see the next
evolution in hybrid technology. We were the
first to manufacture a hybrid excavator, and
soon we’ll introduce our third-generation
machine. Our customers will continue to guide
us – ultimately, we’re in the customer success
business. In order for them to be successful,
we have to make machines that meet their
standards. That’s what it all comes down to.