What Does the Process Look Like? Selling a Custom Terrier

We spend so much time talking with our customers that we sometimes forget this is an intentional method. We started Viking West because we felt the power of teamwork was missing from the drilling, construction, and forestry industries. It takes a great deal of technical expertise to create an attachment for a heavy machine, but it takes nearly an identical dose of field experience to guide that creation.

That’s why it was important for us to get an opinion from the front lines when we were introduced to a brand new company looking for a rig with just the right combination of features. This customer focused on foundations and stabilization requirements, so it was important to get it just right. 

But as it turned out, the right combination turned out to include everything.

Kelvin: The construction season is in full swing. Give us some insight into some of Viking’s conversations over the past couple months.

Kevin Reimer: It’s in full swing alright. I have a giant list here documenting our interactions over the past few months. That’s the best way to stay on top of everything.

Specifically, we just sold a Dando Terrier to a new customer. The deal came about because of our relationship with Dando Drilling as their North American representative. It’s a geotechnical and construction company, and they wanted a very capable limited access machine. They did their research, contacted us and we put together a complete package for them.

They wanted everything. I mean everything, but it needed to work in a confined space. The Terrier we built for them has every single bell and whistle you can get. Absolutely every single option that’s available on the Terrier, they wanted it.

Technically, they ended up with a dual mast percussive terrier rig. They went with a DTH (down the hole) hammer, rotary head, and water pump.

Why is it so important for the rig to be limited access? What are they using it for?

They have a government contract to do geotechnical drilling in government parks. They’re working on lots of trails and pathways so they need limited access. It’s important to not disturb the area they’re in. The Terrier is lightweight and runs on double tracks so it’s mobile and doesn’t cause much disturbance. With all the options included, it’s capable of doing all the types of drilling this company needs to do.

Your business was built on talking with clients and creating helpful new solutions to their challenges. We were talking offline earlier about Viking’s expanding focus, tell us a little bit about that.

It’s not so much an expanding focus, we’ve just been talking with a lot of construction companies and OEM’s this year. Drilling might be the heart of Viking West, but we were built on flexibility, whether that’s in the ground, on the ground, or even under a blanket of snow.

Snow?

Oh right, I’ve got a surprise to share with you in a couple weeks. The crux of it comes back to what you said, the conversations, and those happen in three distinct avenues.

First, we’re talking to equipment dealers on a regular basis about how we can provide them with attachments and guarding packages. We carry inventory to serve our local market and we work with dealers and rental companies to provide them with attachments and guarding as their needs develop. Second, we’re talking with OEM’s on how we can outsource their manufacturing so they can save on their costs. And then our third focus in the past couple months, is the Dando line, which, like we said, one of those was just sold.

Stay tuned to learn more about Viking’s foray into the winter market, coming up in a couple weeks!

What To Do While You’re Waiting For Oil Prices to Rebound

“Crude oil, or “black gold,” is one of the world’s most precious commodities: its price affects the economic ecosystem at every level, from family budgets to corporate earnings to the nation’s GDP.”

That’s Prableen Bajpal, a chartered financial analyst and the founder of FinFix, a financial research and training facility in India. For Bajpal, it’s important to understand the various factors that affect the price of oil. From news cycle responses that fuel one perspective or another to policy changes in governments in every corner of the world, the fluctuation in oil prices can be traced back to a multitude of factors.

Since the summer of 2014, oil prices have been steadily shrinking, which occurred at the end of a “four-year phase of price stability” where crude oil rested at around $105 per barrel.

Well, the days of $105 barrels of oil seem like a distant past as well as, hopefully, a future as well.

But in the meantime, it’s up to you, the original equipment manufacturer, the machine dealer, the drilling engineer, to weather the storm.

How?

Reassign Your People

For thousands of out-of-work men and women accustomed to opportunities galore in the oil and gas industry, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you’re told you’re no longer needed. For years we’ve seen skilled labour and proficient technical skills put to work on a variety of projects. The only problem with these focused skill-sets is that they have a tendency to exclude other skills.

For instance, maybe you’re an expert machine operator, but you struggle with organization. Or perhaps you’re an excellent communicator, but you’re using outdated methods that could be improved.

If it’s safe to do so, assign your people to different areas instead of ditching the work you might think can only be done by a new hire. Data entry, scheduling, inventory – some of these tasks might be foreign to people under your employ, but they’ll gladly give it a try if it means holding on to their job.

Offer More Value Than You Cost

One of the biggest keys to unlocking the economic downturn is to return to the roots by which you originally found success without worrying about income at the end of the day.

This might sound crazy, but the more we focus on the results we want to see in our corner of the industry, the less likely we’re to see those results come to fruition.

The drilling industry, forestry, construction – they’re about building solutions that enrich and improve lives. Somewhere along the line, probably when the price of a barrel of oil soared beyond $100, we forgot the simple fact that our careers exists to provide a service. The days of throwing money at hurdles placed in our path are over, and that means we need to back up our promises with good old fashioned hard work and creative, cost-friendly solutions. If you’re selling something, then you’d better make sure your buyer will receive something of great value or importance.

Because if you can create more value than you cost, then you’ll have a job for life.

Next week we’ll drill deeper into the realities of the current oil economy, specifically as they relate to what we believe is the most important tool of all when it comes to creating value out of thin air: communication.

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!