LOGISTICS IS KEY TO REPAIRING AND MAINTAINING AGGREGATE AND MINING EQUIPMENT
One of the biggest problems for mines and quarries has been getting parts. In the past, the answer was to make do. Any major mine usually had a blacksmith and carpentry shop. If something was immediately needed or had to be repaired, mine managers would take it to the shop and ask the craftsmen to fix it.
However, there were still parts that had to be shipped in. And, getting something delivered was difficult. Mines could use the telegraph, which often cost $.75 a word, provided the telegraph was nearby. Of course, ordering by telegraph assumed that paying for whatever was being ordered had been taken care of. Without a modern banking system that includes wire transfers and credit cards, ordering usually entailed a letter with either a check drawn on a bank back east or cash. Then it might take months for the manufacturer to get the order and process it. No matter what, it took a long time to get anything.
Over one hundred years ago, when Virginia City and the Comstock Lode were the heart of Nevada mining, parts for the massive pumps could take nearly a year to get. Orders had to go to factories in Europe, payments had to be arranged, the parts had to be shipped around the Horn to San Francisco, and the parts then had to be moved over the Sierra Nevadas. In the case of really heavy or bulky parts, special arrangements had to be made to move them.
Poor parts support was just considered part of doing business on the Comstock Lode. It would take over a century before businesses began to realize the importance of logistics to productivity.
Life for Nevada miners is a lot easier today thanks to shipping and logistics. Carlin Trend miners don’t have to wait months, weeks, or even days for a critical part. In many cases, the part may only be hours away.
No one provides more mining support than Cat Logistics. Cat Logistics has distribution Center in Elko, Nevada at the Newmont operation. This 162,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art distribution center will serve as the master distribution center for Newmont’s mining operations in North-central Nevada.
Although the distribution center is at a Newmont operation, it’s also a source for Caterpillar parts and service for the whole mining industry. That means that critical heavy equipment parts that would normally impair production when they fail can be quickly shipped to a mine site.
Caterpillar Logistics Services is a part of the Cat family that many miners may not be aware of. Cat Logistics provides supply support to 180+ countries on six continents, with a network of 110 offices and facilities in 23 countries. Although one thinks of Cat and heavy equipment, Cat Logistics solves all sorts of parts and manufacturing support problems. Automotive, aerospace construction, and mining companies, among others, can get quick solutions to problems without lengthy down time. In May 2012, Caterpillar announced that it would sell the majority interest in third party logistics to Platinum Equity.
Cat Logistics was formed in 1987 at a point in time when companies were beginning to realize the importance of logistics. Japanese manufacturers had mastered concepts like “Just in Time” delivery and American companies were beginning to realize that a good supply support program had a measurable impact on the bottom line.
The advantage for mining and aggregate companies is that they can focus on mining and aggregate production and leave the support function to experts. They provided a team of professional logisticians who could provide the best parts support for a lower cost than an in house operation. As Steve Larson, Chairman and President of Caterpillar Logistics Services said, “We understand the positive impact superior logistics services can have in an industry where equipment uptime is essential.”
Although Newmont had an extensive logistics team supporting its worldwide operations, they knew how important heavy equipment parts and maintenance was to productivity. By bringing in Cat Logistics, Newmont could remain focused on mining. As Newmont noted, “Newmont is continuously working to improve our performance. Our partnership with Cat Logistics will result in better equipment availability, increased employee productivity, and lower inventory carrying costs.”
The Cat distribution center has a 10 year agreement with Newmont that began in 2008. Its workforce works four shifts and keeps the facility open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are a total of 13 docks so materials can move in and out without problem.