The recent Electra Mining Africa event gave us the opportunity to meet the new man at the helm of Scania, and find out about the company’s ambitions in the sector
With Scania being one of only two truck manufacturers present at the 2016 Electra Mining Africa exhibition, it was the perfect opportunity for the company to show its support to the industry – as well as for the company’s new MD, Raimo Lehtiö, to meet customers and industry role players.
Lehtiö, who joined Scania South Africa in August and is also responsible for eight southern African countries, brings with him 15 years of service to the Scania organisation. Most of this has been in the Baltic, Eastern European and Asian markets. He’s now looking forward to driving Scania’s southern African operation – where increasing its presence in mining and construction are big priorities.
Having been active in the local mining segment for five years now, Scania South Africa draws on the expertise of its parent company to bring something a bit different to the sector.
“Our products fit the role very well. However, our approach is a bit different – the vehicles are important, but are not the only part of the picture. We have a ‘total service’ approach; from finance to driver training and all the services in between,” Lehtiö explains.
Scania Total Support in mining ensures that technicians are on site with the customer as much as possible.
“This is crucial as they are often far out of the cities and we need to be able to support their vehicles,” Lehtiö notes. “The vehicle’s abilities are, to a large extent, influenced by how well the drivers are trained. The Scania vehicle management system helps us to tailor and optimise the vehicles for the customers.”
Alexander Taftman, product and marketing director, explains that it’s important to understand the nature of the industry. “Mining is a supply chain of commodities and there is a Scania to optimise every stage of that chain; whether it involves moving the commodities, support vehicles, or even down to gensets that supply power, or pump water,” he illustrates.
On the Scania Electra Mining stand, the company exhibited many of these options. Of its multiple chassis options, a typical 6x6 rigid chassis attracted attention, although not quite as much as a rather serious looking 4x4 personnel carrier. This robust vehicle is locally built to customer specification and fully complies with all mine-related safety requirements – such as roll-over testing.
Scania’s solutions for the mining industry even extend to autonomous vehicles, which are running in many European mines at the moment. “Scania has vast knowledge in this regard and there’s really nothing stopping this technology coming to mines in South Africa for use in closed areas on mining premises,” Lehtiö says excitedly.
That’s probably a long way off, though. His plans for the near term are to enhance support to neighbouring countries and, perhaps, to move it all the way up to the all-important Copper Belt.
“Our trucks have proved themselves in harsh conditions and our business approach in South Africa is good. I look forward to taking the company forward,” Lehtiö concludes.