Over the past 12 years, Western Australian-based Lacy Contracting has built a highly successful business based around a fleet of used Komatsu equipment a business developed through a close relationship with the company's Geraldton branch.
"Without the help and support of the people at Komatsu's Geraldton branch, we could never have built up this company like we have," says owner Peter Lacy.Lacy Contracting is based at Cue, in the state's Murchison district, 650 km northeast of Perth, and 420 inland from Geraldton.
It carries out a range of contracting and heavy transport activities for WA Main Roads as well as the region's mines, shires and private companies. Activities include major roadworks, civil works, ROM crusher works, mine infrastructure, and heavy haulage.
The company is also about to enter the crushing and screening business, having recently purchased two screen decks and is looking to purchase a used BR380JG-1EO Komatsu jaw crusher.
Lacy Contracting's fleet includes 24 Komatsu machines all purchased used as well as a number of other brands, also bought used through Komatsu Australia, along with 14 trucks, including tippers, side-tippers, prime movers, tilt tray recovery vehicles and 50 tonne floats.
Its Komatsu equipment includes 11 excavators from 5.5 tonnes to 45 tonnes (PC55-8, PC138-8, PC220LC-6, PC270-8, four PC300-7s, PC350-7 and a PC450-8), seven wheel loaders (WA120-3, WA250-3, WA320-1, WA470-5, two WA500-6s, WA600-6, two SK714 skidsteers, GD655-3 and GD655-5 graders, a D275AX-5EO dozer and an HM400-2 articulated dump truck.
Peter Lacy's relationship with Komatsu began shortly after he started his business in September 2004 with just a skidsteer and small tipper, and one other employee.
"Dean Jones [Komatsu Australia's Business Development Manager Murchison and Midwest] turned up at Meekatharra one day and found me," said Peter.
"The first machine he sold me was a used WA470 loader, and I've basically bought everything else off him ever since, part from a WA320-1 I bought from a local shire and our PC220LC-6 I bought at auction.
"And we've held onto everything we've bought since we started," he said.
Currently Peter has 19 employees on his books.
"We've had up to 40 people, but we're still going pretty strong. We got through the 2008-2009 bad time pretty well, and we've been busy ever since in fact we haven't really ever had a quiet time," he said.
And why has he focused on only buying used equipment?
"I guess I haven't really had the finance to buy new although having said that, our WA600-6 was a Komatsu Premium Used low-hour machine with only 11 hours on it when it was delivered.
"Generally we buy our equipment at around the 4000 hour mark, the price suits my market, and we've found the reliability and performance of our Komatsu equipment to be very good," said Peter.
"Just as an example, we purchased the first PC300-7 digger ever sold in WA a 2004 model with about 6000 hours on it in 2007 and it's now done 18,000 hours with no problems at all.
"We did a hydraulic pump change out at around 13,000 hours as part of our preventive maintenance program on Komatsu's recommendation, but otherwise we've done nothing to it.
"It's been trouble-free, and it's done a lot of hard work; rockbreaking and hard digging," he said.
"Across the whole fleet, performance has been very good, we've rarely had any issues."
Peter does all his day to day servicing in-house, getting major service work done through Komatsu Geraldton.
"Dean, Geraldton Branch Manager Adrian Hallgarth and Kevin Cockburn [Komatsu Geraldton's Customer Support Sales Representative] have been very good for us, very helpful with our GET needs and backup.
"And Nicole Truran [Komatsu Geraldton's Customer Service Representative] has always been great to deal with.
"She really makes it all work, and without her life would be a lot harder! She will even pull a part off a machine to get me back to work overnight," he said.
"The team has always got me going again if I've had a breakdown, and Geraldton field service will always call me if they are coming out our way so we can get any larger service jobs done."
About seven of Peter's machines are fitted with Komatsu's remote monitoring KOMTRAX system, and he's found it very useful for troubleshooting as well as monitoring machines working in more remote areas.
"We used KOMTRAX quite a bit when we had a few issues early on with our GD655-5 grader, which we bought at 8000 hours.
"It turned out that a previous user had carried out some unauthorised work and never told anyone, but we were able to track down the cause and fix it with the help of KOMTRAX.
"It's also very handy for monitoring machines such as our WA600-6 when it's on ROM pad work, seeing what the operators and others are doing with it," he said.
"And if we ever have a theft of one of the smaller machines, we'll be able to track them and see where they go.
"Overall, we've had exceptional service from the likes of Adrian, Dean, Kevin, Nicole and the Geraldton branch; we couldn't have achieved what we have without them.
"And I could never complain about their backup and support," said Peter.