Management Team Voices



VP: Building machines that help customers achieve their goals is what it’s all about

Measuring Success

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. Why?

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.

Measuring Success

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.