Heads Up, Winter: Viking West Has Entered the Snowplow Game

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.

Snow.

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.

snowplow snow blade
The Viking Snowplow: here’s the snow blade

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.

How so?

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.

3 Things We Love About Creating Attachments for OEM’s

Friendly reminder: you only have a couple days left to buy flowers, chocolates or something shiny for that special someone in your life. Don’t forget!

Take it from us, there’s nothing better than a surprise on Valentine’s Day. That’s why, despite our constant worry we’ll forget to go to the flower shop after work tomorrow, we can’t help but think of all the things we love about working in the drilling, construction and forestry industries.

No, we don’t plan on giving a box of custom tooling products to our partners, although a shiny new core bit welded on top of a ring might just…

Ok maybe not.

In honour of the special day, here’s three things we love about making attachments for OEM’s.

1. The Creative Design Process

Why did you initially enter the field in which you work? Our experience goes back a long way before the creation of Viking West a couple years ago, and a lot of it was because of our passion for the simple act of making new things. Technology, whether it’s considered sophisticated or simple and clever, has gifted us the ability to leverage our engineering expertise to create attachments and products that are useful to our industry.

There’s nothing like the look on a customer’s face when they use a brand new product for the first time, especially when it’s accompanied by a bouquet of fresh flowers. (Ok, that last part doesn’t actually happen, just king sure you don’t forget.)

2. Unique Customers

Another element we love about our work is meeting interesting new people. When we travelled to Las Vegas for the Groundwater Conference in December of 2015, we were blown away by all the intelligent, hard-working people with whom we spoke.

It was so refreshing to meet people working harder than ever to right the ship in light of the current economic turbulence. Our industry was built on innovation, and we love the fact that this spirit is burning brighter than ever.

Here at home in our day to day operation, we’re simply appreciative of the fact we get to work with unique customers. Everyone requires something a little bit different, and we enjoy the new challenges with which we’re faced. It makes the work exciting, especially when we ship a brand new attachment out the door with a customer’s unique branding. Just like receiving a box of chocolates, if the box had a custom logo welded to the lid!

3. Helping People

What’s the driving force behind your job? Service? Quality? We operate by those tenets every day, but ultimately our work is all about creating attachments that help people. Valentine’s Day is all dependant on relationships, and for a workplace or office, it’s the professional relationships you create with clients and customers that truly count. Every company in the lower mainland, all over North America and truly all over the world does better business when they cultivate their relationships with customers.

Empathy is the driving force. If you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and better understand their perspective, you’ll have an easier time finding creative ways to save costs, time, and energy.

Efficiently taking care of your responsibilities is one thing, developing your passion for the work is another element entirely. When you love what you do, not only is it easier to drive to work every day, but others take notice of that passion as well. Sure, not every day is wine and roses, but committing to the big picture and working towards internal goals as well as customer checkpoints is its own reward.

Especially when there are some flowers and candy involved.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!