“Our company was created with a singular method in mind, a focus on attachment manufacturing that we felt was really lacking in the drilling, construction and forestry industries in the last decade: talking to customers first, creating unique products second.”
That’s Kevin Reimer from Viking West. For Kevin, Mike Schlender and the entire team in British Columbia and overseas, building sophisticated attachments isn’t as difficult as the current economic climate would have you believe.
And it’s that focus that’s steadily catching on with original equipment manufacturers who need to find innovative solutions fast.
“The biggest hurdle OEM’s face is certainly cost,” says Kevin.
It’s understandable, given the economy and the danger to new projects because of budget shortage. Equipment manufacturers and dealers simply don’t have the means to build products without maximizing every inch of their budget. (More on inches in a moment.)
Managing the entire supply chain of equipment and producing items internally is expensive. Most OEM’s generate their profit from assembling and selling the product instead of full turn-key manufacturing.
In short, selling products that account for everything from design to testing to assembly isn’t working right now.
OEM’s want a finished component and they want to go to work.
“We communicate extensively with out customers, and then we take the new item and it goes through our system, which saves significant costs,” says Kevin. Viking West was conceived with a manufacturing process in place that takes advantage of the global supply chain, whereby significant costs are passed on to customers.
Products are then built to customer specifications and at target costs.
“Sometimes I like to think of our team as a sophisticated delivery service,” laughs Kevin. “In this economy, costs are saved with regards to time and space as well as finances.” Viking West operates on a just-in-time basis, where customers receive finished products when they’re required, not before and certainly not after. In this way customers can save on inventory space, which, like all things, costs money.
In the drilling industry, every penny, every inch and every minute conserved will help improve competitiveness.
“One of my favourite parts of the job is collaborating with people all over the world to improve our industry,” says Kevin. “We’re creators at heart, so we love making new things that get the job done and help people. Our clients, original equipment manufacturers and distributors, leverage our engineering to develop existing products, refine and add new features.”
Refinements are made as quickly as a customer can pick up the phone, but truth be told, the design process is an ongoing effort by two parties seeking the same outcome.
“It all starts with the design of a specific product, but we know we’re taking advantage of cost savings across the board when customers start ordering up to 100 components and more.”
Engineering efficiency skyrockets when the design hits the mark just right, because refinements and further development is multiplied while cost and schedule remains intact
Cost Reduction Wrap-up
With this process, Viking West has created an efficient method of making attachments for original equipment manufacturers.
- initial price of items is reduced
- local shipping costs are saved
- internal engineering costs for OEM’s are eliminated
- inventory space is saved, wasted space on the floor in a shop is eliminated
“The process is working well so far, which is a huge testament to the hard work of our industry in the wake of the price of oil,” says Mike Schlender of Viking West. “We’re going to keep working and building new attachments for our clients because they’re spending less than they have in the past, and they’re getting a refined product to a higher standard than our industry has seen before.”
Cooperation and collaboration. For the team at Viking West, that’s the name of the game.