In focusing on training and aftersales service, Cummins – a global leader in the manufacture, sales and servicing of diesel engines and related technology – has created a skills and service ecosystem to ensure sustainable business.
As a company that works across a variety of industries, including mining, construction, commercial and recreational marine, power generation and agriculture, Cummins continues to leave behind solid footprints in two specific areas, namely training and aftersales service.
Cummins service operations director for Africa John Shuttleworth believes that these two areas are what create a sustainable business solution for clients. “Offering a total solution rather than the hit-and-run approach is a specific business strategy at Cummins. Training in critical skills and aftersales service is key to the continuous working of our technology for every client,” he explains.
“This training is also vital for clients to have the skills when needed. Not only does it reduce down-time but, importantly, it creates jobs in the communities in which we operate, developing and employing local talent to ensure full-circle economic participation in those communities.”
Shuttleworth continues: “Our customers know that we represent a premium product, and they expect a premium service. This means we are able to diagnose technical problems efficiently and correct the problem as cost-effectively as possible. Training is essential in ensuring that technical staff have the necessary knowledge and tools to operate equipment and to conduct a professional repair.”
Training and after-sales service go hand-in-hand, given the skills shortage in South Africa and across the continent. “There is a definite need for development and Cummins is committed to being a part of the solution by contributing to the work force and participating in reducing the unemployment rate,” he continues.
In order to do this, Shuttleworth highlights the Cummins apprenticeship programme, where young people can be trained in any one of the company’s typical qualifications. Technical centres are located in different parts of the continent. The one in Kelvin, Gauteng, is a world-class facility that offers hands-on training for any service technician or engineer in the type of technology used by Cummins.
All technicians must have problem-solving skills to deal with the technically-advanced equipment that marries electronics with engineering systems. “Technicians today are typically equipped not only with a toolbox, but with a laptop and software to diagnose issues,” Shuttleworth says, adding that this is why training in the use of Cummins systems is so vital to a sustainable business.
“Cummins has a very rich history in terms of making a difference in the context in which we operate,” Shuttleworth adds. “In growing our market, we have a high regard not only for people, but also for the environment. Our holistic approach to service and training requires us to be a responsible corporate citizen in all markets.”
Combining social and environmental concerns is what sets Cummins apart, and makes it attractive to companies wanting to do business with others practicing good corporate and environmental citizenship.
Part of this, says Shuttleworth, is being able to assist clients with ageing equipment, wherever they may be on the continent. “Where a client needs to keep a piece of equipment operational, our technicians are often called in not just to repair, but to also provide training on preventative measures to reduce the risk of breakdowns.”
As it is not always possible for Cummins to send a technician to certain areas, fleet managers and local operators may be trained by the company and certified to carry out work on the equipment, thereby ensuring that the recommended maintenance is conducted for warranty purposes.
Cummins has independent distributors and dealers that are also able to train and develop skills for growing business across the continent. “One of our mandates is to contribute apprentices to the manufacturing and engineering space, so that we create a path for them to become a distributor or sole distributor of the Cummins brand product sets.”
Shuttleworth believes that this is what sustainable business is all about. “As we have an aftermarket service, we also have the training and marketing to support these new businesses, which highlights our ethos for developing apprentices in Africa, while building capacity for these new organisations.”
A three-year commitment is required from an apprentice to go through the qualification training, a hands-on process involving both theory and practical skills. Cummins’ ongoing support in every aspect of training and aftersales service is a pathway to success for all concerned.
Established in 1919 in Indiana, USA, Cummins today employs more than 40 000 people worldwide, and has an annual turnover of US $10,8-billion. Cummins has a global network of 500 company-owned and independent distributor facilities at more than 5 200 dealer locations in over 190 countries. Cummins range of engines is used in a wide variety of applications, including mining, on-highway, commercial and recreational marine, power-generation, construction and agriculture. Cummins South Africa is headquartered in Johannesburg, with branches in Longmeadow, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth.
Tel: 011 589 8400