July 25, 2024

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The value of skilled customer support technicians

2 min read

In the demanding world of mining and quarrying, operations often run 24/7, leaving no room for downtime. Jorge Abelho, Director of Technical Support at Pilot Crushtec International, underlines the critical role played by skilled customer support technicians in ensuring uninterrupted operations.

The value of skilled customer support technicians

South Africa, a major global mineral producer, relies on the seamless functioning of its crushing and screening sector. Abelho stresses that skilled customer support technicians are non-negotiable in this industry.

These technicians, frequently on-site, acquire a profound knowledge of machinery and applications. Abelho encourages crushing and screening customers to leverage this expertise for guidance on equipment setup, operation, and efficient maintenance. This collaboration minimizes equipment failures and the resulting costly downtime.

The crushing and screening industry continuously evolves with technological advancements. Pilot Crushtec prioritizes training to keep its customer support technicians abreast of the latest equipment and industry trends.

“As machines become more complex, incorporating automation, diagnostics, and remote telemetry, we invest heavily in upskilling our technicians. This ensures swift and secure machine diagnosis and setup,” says Abelho. This technical proficiency builds trust with customers, contributing significantly to the company’s growth.

Training forms the cornerstone of their approach. Pilot Crushtec maintains a detailed training matrix for its customer support team, updated monthly. Formal weekly training sessions, ranging from structured programmes to informal discussions, further enhance knowledge.

Additionally, as the Southern Africa distributor for Metso crushing and screening equipment, Pilot Crushtec leverages Metso’s online eLearning portal with over 100 courses. Their aim is to secure RICO certification for every Pilot Crushtec customer support technician, a year-long process requiring assessment by a Metso engineer.

However, this commitment to training comes at a cost, both in terms of time and finances. Abelho acknowledges the challenge of retaining skilled technical personnel, given their high demand worldwide.

Recognizing the industry’s technical skills shortage, Pilot Crushtec launched a training programme for University of Technology students. Over 13 years, more than 70 engineering students have completed the practical phases of their mechanical and electrical engineering studies at Pilot Crushtec’s Gauteng facility.

Around ten of these graduates found permanent employment at the company, equipped with in-depth knowledge of product mechanics, electronics, performance, and maintenance. For these efforts, Pilot Crushtec received the prestigious Employer Excellence Award from Mangosuthu University of Technology, acknowledging their contribution to skills development and transformation in the engineering and mining sector.

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