"We are focused on improving the uptime of our products by focusing on strengthening the company’s client-attention capabilities and prioritizing the incorporation of technology."
Could you provide us with the company’s most recent developments?
FE: Distribution and rental are our main businesses. When we last spoke, we were experiencing a boom in mining. All the markets related to mining have fallen since. We continue to focus on making the company sturdier and more efficient. The company’s cash flow processes have been developed through digital transformation and the LEAN Technique. The pandemic accelerated industry trends such as remote operations and electric mobility. Augmented reality is a process we are using to provide assistance and technical support to our clients. Fortunately for Chile, the country is geologically well endowed and conditions are favourable for mining. For this reason, the country is projected to benefit from technological advancements. We must set the stage by promoting the cultural habits that will ensure a swift transition.
JR: We are undergoing an important process of transformation, and our focus is to work closely with partners and manufacturers to align our objectives.
What does SKC offer in the autonomous machinery space?
FE: Remote-controlled machinery is crucial in today’s mining environment. Equipment diagnosis, for example, is a task that is done increasingly through remote means. Brands are developing products with a focus on track-and-trace and telemetry in order to monitor equipment better and conduct maintenance proactively. Our office handles remote maintenance for the machinery we commercialize that incorporates these technologies.
To what extent has the industry recovered from the pandemic?
FE: Mine production in Chile was less affected than mining elsewhere in the world. However, mine construction activities in the country were severely impacted and even halted. In general, however, recovery has been rapid - thanks to the strong rebound of copper prices that reached an all-time high. Regardless of whether or not we are in a super-cycle, we must make the most of these prices. Fortunately, the market recovered quickly, and the forecasts going forward are also encouraging. We expect strong demand for copper and lithium to satisfy the world’s electric mobility needs.
What can you tell us about your after-sales services and their significance to your Chilean operations?
FE: Our supply network is composed of 11 nationwide branches offering product and after-sales support. We also have on-the-ground mechanics who work for SKC to provide preventive maintenance to machinery and advise clients accordingly. TPS and other LEAN processes are very important in allowing us to provide better support to our clients.
JR: We are focused on improving the uptime of our products by focusing on strengthening the company’s client-attention capabilities and prioritizing the incorporation of technology. It is very important for the company to help operators improve their productivity. SKC helps companies become more cost-efficient and improve safety. We use a set of key indicators to monitor progress in matters of safety and the environment.
Where do you see the highest growth potential, and what is your strategy to facilitate this growth?
FE: Chile’s investment plan for the next five years accounts for US$70 billion, of which 36% is dedicated to mining, 29% to public works and 14% to energy. The project pipeline is strong. Although we have exposure to mine construction, our business focus is on projects already in production that require maintenance. We believe that SKC must generate new business, primarily by making using of digital capabilities. Despite the challenges that are in store for Chile and the world, we are optimistic because there are interesting opportunities. We must move aggressively to become a service provider involved in helping clients navigate operations and taking care of their needs holistically.
Do you have a final message to our international readership?
FE: Adaptability is the most important company trait in today’s business environment. We must focus on listening to clients in order to discover opportunities for collaboration and improve our capacity to be adaptable. We want to incorporate technology and tools that can make SKC stronger. One major focus for SKC is to place the employee experience at the top of its priorities. Teamwork has become a central part of our work in preparing our staff towards innovations and new technologies.