RDO minimises construction equipment downtime

RDO Equipment’s Mark Kuhn explains the company’s Australian relaunch of John Deere machinery, with new excavators and dump trucks rolling out across the country over the next year.

RDO Equipment is set to shake up the Australian construction equipment market through the launch of new equipment from international original equipment manufacturer John Deere.

From new excavators to dump trucks, the latest equipment and spare parts is being progressively rolled out across the country.

Since 1968, RDO Equipment have grown from a single dealership to operating 80 dealerships in the US. RDO Equipment arrived in Australia six years ago and have focused on establishing John Deere as a major brand in the market. RDO is also focused on its national footprint of facilities and spare parts strategy in preparation for the launch of its range of excavators.

RDO distributes both the John Deere and Vermeer brands across Australia from eight locations including Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Albury, Townsville, Darwin and Launceston.

The company import John Deere machines to offer the latest John Deere engineered equipment for Australia. One of the company’s priorities when importing machines is to alleviate construction industry stress associated with machine downtime and lack of spare parts.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2017-18 Australia imported $4.244 billion worth of civil engineering equipment and parts. It is imperative to ensure sufficient parts are imported simultaneously as shipping for spare parts can significantly extend downtime.

For rural companies, this complication is exacerbated as often parts are kept in major cities, hours or days away from rural machines.

RDO Equipment’s General Manager of Sales, Mark Kuhn, told Roads & Infrastructure one aspect of the company’s strategy to reduce downtime is to have parts located in all facilities.

“We try to ensure we have the one-day stock in each location and that’s really our goal,” he says.

John Deere has an existing parts depot in Melbourne, home to over 46,000 line items that RDO will stock across its branches, where supply will depend on the area’s size, population and equipment.

Mr. Kuhn said if there are customers working on large projects in remote areas, RDO will endeavour to plan ahead for support.

Remote diagnostics are also a part of RDO’s strategy. This will be a feature on all of the larger John Deere equipment.

Remote diagnostics enable support staff to connect to equipment, no matter the location to decipher any issues and find solutions with the customer. This capability will also be an optional feature for all smaller machines.

RDO’s strategy is to progressively introduce John Deere equipment into the Australian market and ensure parts availability. RDO will stagger equipment arrivals to ensure enough parts are available to support all machines.

Currently there are many John Deere wheel loaders and backhoes already in operation in Australia – this month dump trucks have arrived and dozers are expected by January.

Excavators are expected to be on offer in Australia in April 2020, with the range starting at 13 tonnes and increasing to 40 tonne machines.

Mr. Kuhn said a clear point of difference for all John Deere machines will be the engine and machine design.

John Deere designs and builds engines specifically for each range of equipment, taking into account the pump loads and torque curves, for example. “John Deere builds a great product starting with its fuel-efficient engine. They’re known for getting extended life out of an engine and the competition just isn’t able to meet that,” he said.

“When you’re buying an engine from a manufacturer and putting it into a piece of equipment, it’s not going to be designed specifically for that machine. That’s a big Deere difference, our engines are designed for performance and to provide optimum pump capacities for the various types of Deere equipment,” Mr. Kuhn said.

He noted another RDO Equipment difference is the company’s emphasis on support.

“We look to form partnerships. This isn’t about selling equipment today, it’s about putting the customer first and people that want to go above and beyond the norm, that’s what made us successful in the United States and we are striving to generate the same culture in Australia,” he said.

“We really want to build a business that is about partnerships and supporting customers”.

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