Atlas Copco Construction Tools Inc. recently took another big step toward making nationwide support a reality with the completion of a new regional service center in Austin, TX.
Covering the southern and western United States, the new center is fully equipped to support Atlas Copco’s hydraulic attachment dealers in the region.
It also provides direct support and service to end users of the company’s products in Texas.
Atlas Copco executives recognized that many users of hydraulic attachments were having trouble finding professional service support to keep them up and running.
The early response confirmed their thinking, with new customers — most responding through word of mouth — bringing in all manner of hydraulic breakers for service and repair.
In order to expand service coverage and sales representation, managers at the new service center established relationships with several dealers in Texas.
Because these equipment suppliers are sometimes more focused on selling heavy machinery, such as large excavators and wheel loaders, the service center was created to also serve as a sales outlet for end users to ensure that hydraulic breakers and other Atlas Copco products are actively promoted.
From a sales perspective, the center has the geographical advantage of being located in Texas, home to a significant percentage of the nation’s rock quarries. As a result of the booming quarry business, there is great demand for hydraulic breakers.
“We’ll definitely be pushing for sales through the service center,” said Keith Becker, national service manager west for Atlas Copco. “If we keep our focus straight and resources where we need them, I can see us eventually doing as much business as some of the top Atlas Copco dealers in the country.”
In addition to its function as a sales outlet, the center supplements its relationship with existing dealers by serving as a warehouse to ensure fast local deliveries of parts, accessories and even breakers.
Under some existing arrangements, some smaller dealers don’t carry a large amount of Atlas Copco inventory, but will arrange for a sale or rental through the Texas service center if a customer is looking for a breaker or other product.
Becker believes the arrangement is beneficial to everyone involved.
“It’s a way for dealers to free up space on their yards and cash on their balance sheets, it keeps our inventory fresh, and the customer is always getting a pretty current unit,” he said.
While sales in the Texas service center have growth potential, product support is where the center is making its mark.
For example, immediately after a sale of a hydraulic breaker attachment, Atlas Copco offers assistance with the installation of the unit on the customer’s carrier to prevent any initial problems from an improper set-up.
The center employs a full-time regional service technician, whose primary responsibilities are installing new products and responding to service calls in the field. Two in-house service technicians also travel as the need arises.
The center encourages customers to call about a problem with a breaker or other product before they come through the door since it allows the service center employees to make a better decision about the next step.
In cases where a breaker has a leak, worn-out bushings or some other pressing need for repair, the breaker needs to come into the shop.
In many instances the problem may just be a matter of the breaker not being correctly set up. Having a service technician devoted to the field gives customers a convenient service alternative, and it could save them a lot of money.
“Sometimes there is a fine line on deciding what to do,” said Becker. “It may cost them a little more in the beginning for us to go out and do some troubleshooting, but it’s certainly better than spending thousands of dollars to tear down and repair a hammer that didn’t need to be repaired.”
Service in the field provides a financial benefit to end users, and eliminates other hassles that go along with an equipment problem.
Diagnosing an issue and providing on-site service in the field can be done far more quickly than the time it takes to box up a breaker and have it shipped, repaired and sent back.
With the Texas service center strategically located in the heart of quarry country, service can be expedited even further, minimizing downtime for the customer.
The layout of the service center has the company’s service workload in mind. The facility accommodates an overhead crane to easily move breakers and other equipment, contributing to an efficient work environment.
The center also features a wash bay and a service truck that is equipped to assist end users in the field.
The commitment to customer service at the center goes beyond servicing only Atlas Copco products.
In fact, according to Becker, more than 90-percent of the repair work at the Texas service center is done on competitive units. Being open to providing this expanded service not only keeps the center busy, but also creates the potential for new customers down the road.
Atlas Copco expects that the wide service coverage provided by the new Texas center, in coordination with the company’s existing regional service center in Ohio, will enable the company to gain even more customers as they begin to realize the advantages and benefits of Atlas Copco’s unique offering.
“We’ve got the right people in place to make our center a success,” said Becker. “If someone pays us a dollar, they’re going to get a full dollar’s worth of service, nothing less. It basically all comes back to being fair to the customer. I’m extremely excited about this service concept, but more importantly, so are our customers.”