A visionary partnership

Building strong relationships in business is vital to thrive and innovate. QUBE and WesTrac have been working together for nearly 10 years now – and it’s a partnership that’s paying dividends for both parties.

QUBE is Australia’s largest integrated provider of import and export logistics for the Australian resource industry. Operating in over 130 locations nationally, they have a 6500+ strong workforce and a very big fleet.

Huge, in fact.

Todd Emmert is the Director of QUBE’s Bulk Division, headquartered in Perth. He oversees a company which operates a fleet of bulk material loaders. Qube’s fleet includes around 1000 prime movers, 3500 trailers and about 950 bulk material handling equipment, forklifts and cranes. All these are replaced on a useful life basis, so you’d expect a turnover of around 10% every year.

“In our industry the key changes have been driven by people’s desire for seamless logistics and the removal of interfaces,” Todd explains. “We’ve seen equipment become more fuel friendly, maintenance intervals extend out and data capabilities expand dramatically. Because of this, we’re able to manage the business better as we can see things earlier.”

Planning ahead is definitely the key to success, “For us it’s important to understand technology and how it’s being delivered, and how it can help us deliver,” Todd says. “We’re in a constant conversation with customers about their needs, and parallel conversations with equipment manufacturers.”

Cat 972M XE Wheel Loader

“When the two things come together, where we’re getting ideas from the manufacturer and delivering these back to the customer, that’s where we can really start to deliver what the customer wants.”

Increased efficiencies are one of those drivers of every business and this is where QUBE’s latest key buy really strikes the right note. Their recent purchase of four Cat 972M XE Wheel Loader machines was an Australian first.

WesTrac Account Manager Lawrence Hayles was excited by the opportunities offered by this sale. “One of the key drivers for QUBE was looking to cut costs, and fuel is one of their highest costs.

We’d been looking at bringing the Cat 972M XE into our market, so when QUBE looked into buying them, it was the perfect opportunity to bring them into Australia.”

“The fuel efficiency in these machines is massive – a 25% saving is a conservative estimate,” Lawrence says. “They’ve got a constant variable transmission and while traditional diesels run at around 2200 rpm, these run at 1400rpm. They’re very quiet and fuel efficient.”

“The quietness is another asset for QUBE as they work in ports and residential towns, so the noise reduction really is an added benefit.”

VisionLink – seeing what’s happening

Driving further cost efficiencies through technology is important to QUBE. “With VisionLink we can better monitor productivity, idle time and equipment misuse. They’re all a significant cost to us, so it’s important to stay on top of them,” Todd says.

“VisionLink is very simple to use as its windows-based so everyone’s familiar with how to use it. If we see that a certain operator is not performing to a high standard, we can identify and retrain that operator,” Todd explains.

QUBE use VisionLink

Essential oversight of an operation, no matter where you are is one of the key selling points of VisionLink says Lawrence. “You know where your machine is at and what it’s doing. You can assess the amount of fuel it’s burnt and whether it’s operating outside the parameters it is meant to because you can set up geographic and time boundaries to keep an eye on things.”

“The days of being inefficient are gone.”

Scheduling in customer value

QUBE also reduces inefficiencies using a Customer Value Agreement. “A CVA gives us certainty over cost, availability and the quality of the machine,” Todd says. “We know what the costs are, and we can manage them.”

“When we look to boost our fleet we consider a range of variables. The quality of the product, total ownership costs and after-sales service to support us. We don’t just look for the cheapest price tag.” “A CVA works for QUBE and WesTrac because it’s a fixed price so they know how much the machine will cost over its lifecycle,” Lawrence adds. “We’ve got highly trained personnel and we structure services and work in with QUBE so they’ve got maximum uptime and planned maintenance downtime. We work with them to achieve their goals.”

“If a customer needs to be sure of a cost and not worry about day-to-day running of a machine, then a CVA is a real benefit for them,” Lawrence adds. “They’ll get their machine maintained to the maximum level at all times as we can plan the right maintenance schedule for their machine and their operation.”

The future holds promise

As QUBE has continued to grow, so has its relationship with WesTrac. “Our relationship was there before QUBE was formed – it was part of the relationship with the companies that we’d acquired,” Todd says. “We value those relationships, particularly with key staff and their focus on ensuring they can support our equipment in the field long after the original sale.”

“We like to run our business like its family owned, and we know that WesTrac will look after us.”

What does the future hold? “Excellence,” says Lawrence. “The XE is a big leap ahead for us, in terms of the decrease in fuel use and increase in productivity. QUBE is what I’d call a visionary customer, they’re very keen to trial new models and technology – including going down the line with semi-autonomous vehicles in the future.”

The future looks bright.


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