Part of working in the drilling, construction, and forestry industry is digging deep and bringing things to the surface. This includes the literal as well as the figurative sense.
Well, today we’re unearthing an element you probably don’t want to think about at the moment.
Sure, it’s late August and the sun is probably still shining on your neck of the woods. As an original equipment manufacturer, however, it’s your job to be prepared for what’s about to come. Enter the snowplow. Viking West has developed a line of sturdy forklift-mounted snowplows for the first time so you can be ready for 2016’s winter. The key behind Viking’s snowplow was to scratch an itch in this particular corner of the market.
That itch? Usability.
I caught up with Kevin Reimer to get the low-down on Viking’s brand new line of snowplows.
Kelvin: How do new ideas like the snowplow come into existence, and what are some of the keys behind this design?
Kevin: Like all of our work, these ideas are born out of conversations with colleagues and keeping a finger on the pulse of our industry. We’re really excited about the snowplow, it will be great to see one of our products in a completely new environment.
We’re designing and building it, and while there are a few forklift mounted snowplows on the market right now, we’re taking a new approach. Ours is focused on the end user and it’s designed to be more serviceable than the products currently bared by the market.
One main element is that the main pivot pin doesn’t use linkage to adjust the angle of the blade. It’s a simpler, cleaner design. The tension springs on the blade are tucked in behind the blade so they’re protected from snow and dirt and rocks.
And then cost of course, that’s the big thing and something we’re always cognizant of.
We talk a lot about keeping costs in check, and I have to ask – how do you stay in business when you’re constantly treading that line?
We talk about this a lot, and since providing products within a friendly budget is so important, it’s part of our mission statement and we consider it our duty to stay true to that. So ultimately we do it by providing a high quality, innovative product that’s worth the cost. We create items such as the snowplow to be engineered user friendly. The value is there for the customer. We always take a hard look at what’s on the market during the design process. We look at helpful features and we streamline products to ensure only the most cost effective and user friendly elements are included.
With all that in mind, why did Viking West make the decision to offer the snowplow?
Like we talked about earlier, it’s all about dialogue and filling a niche. One of our longterm customers currently sells this product and they saw an opportunity. They wanted us to improve on their design and therefore improve their margins. We’ve had a great relationship with this customer for years and our mission statements line up – they’re looking to improve what they offer and get better in their corner of the market, and we’re always looking for opportunities to grow as well. They’re happy with what we’ve done in the past for them and they seized an opportunity.
Now we have something new to sell to forklift dealers as well as end users, so it’s going to be a great addition to the Viking West line.