2018 Marks a Renewed Commitment to Customer Support
Many of our customers in the mining industry faced struggles over the past few years. In 2017, the market flattened out and began turning upward. GIW Industries Inc. was not exempt from the market’s volatility. Although the year was not without its challenges, GIW was able to assist our customers in achieving some major successes. Here’s a recap of the past year and a look toward what the rest of 2018 has in store.
Highlights and successes
The most significant highlight of 2017, according to GIW President and Managing Director Wolfgang Demmler, was the speed of the turnaround in the mining market, especially in oil sands and hard rock mining.
“We saw an increase in commodity prices and oil prices — a trend that started at the end of 2016,” Mr. Demmler said. “That’s very positive, and we expect that to continue for the next two to three years.”
Along with the market upswing, GIW experienced a significant increase in orders last year. This led to the opportunity for GIW to develop a custom solution for a major Canadian oil sands operation near Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Like many oil sands operations, this customer’s facility faced frequent, costly shutdowns due to underperforming and malfunctioning pumps. Its existing pump struggled to achieve 1,300 hours of runtime before requiring part replacements. Experts at GIW developed a customized GIW Minerals TBC-67 High Pressure Pump that achieved more than 4,000 hours of operation between shutdowns. The TBC-67 pump was so successful that the customer will introduce similar product enhancements to GIW pumps at other sites. “We’ve proven time and time again that we are able to build a pump that offers the best wear life in the market,” Mr. Demmler said.
It is GIW’s customer-centric business model that enables the company to customize slurry pumps ideally suited to the end user’s needs. To further serve our customers, GIW has introduced an improved ordering system. “We have connected some major customers with our online ordering tool, the KSB Web Shop,” Mr. Demmler said. “This is a win-win solution because it will speed the order processing efforts on both sides.” GIW plans to roll out Web Shop to other international customers who are running SAP.
In addition to these successes, 2017 was not without opportunities for improvement.
Ironically, one of the biggest challenges in 2017 came as a result of the market upswing and increase in orders. “We had to ramp up our capacity to fulfill the demand,” Mr. Demmler said.
By the end of the year, the company had doubled its output capacity compared to mid-2016 but, according to Mr. Demmler, there’s still a long way to go.
“We’ve invested in the foundry and distribution center over the last two to three years, but additional investments are needed. We’ve begun a heat-treatment replacement initiative as well as an investment in new machines to handle the increased load,” he said.
GIW leaders are assessing internal inventory and production planning to ensure enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are operating at optimum efficiency. They are also implementing an improved forecasting system to manage demand, especially parts supply.
Looking to the future
Mr. Demmler expects a strong 2018. The focus will be on ramping up capacity so the company can fulfill demand and refill stock.
Customers who want to take advantage of the improved markets will benefit from GIW’s focus on shorter delivery times. “We’re developing a quick-ship program,” Mr. Demmler explained. “Our goal is to deliver up to four pumps, of our standard range, in four weeks.”
Mr. Demmler and the entire team is committed to supporting their customers. With a tradition of forward thinking, customers can rest assured knowing GIW will support them long into the future just as they have done since 1892.