Fit for purpose: Case's custom kit for the region
Case Construction’s man with a plan plots a two-pronged attack of application-specific machines and integrated applications-specific solutions in the Middle East
While one-size-fits-all is often a positive, a few of the products revealed by Case Construction Equipment at Bauma have demonstrated that at least for certain applications, tough choices need to be made.
Case’s flagship backhoe is currently the Case 580ST — a model that is fit for a wide variety of applications. Employing the manufacturer’s S-shaped boom, which distributes load along its entire length, the unit is a robust creation that also incorporates a hydraulic coupler to allow the operator to change backhoe attachments from the cab ‘at the flick of a switch’.
From the outset, however, Case has presented two separate variants of the Case 580ST based on differences in the boom design that make for an application-specific contrast between the type of work each is suitable for.
The first features in-line cylinder geometry on its booms and an inner extendahoe system that both extend the reach and allow for a narrow boom that improves visibility. It delivers breakout forces of 55kN and 41kN at the bucket and dipperstick, respectively, while the boom can extend to 6.65m.
The other Case 580ST variant sticks with Case’s existing boom system, employing over-lapping cylinders that on this model shorten the reach of the boom, but also reduce the machine’s transport height to just 3.5m.
It also has an outer extendahoe, a design that provides more protection for the sliding, moving parts of the boom’s extendahoe in, for instance, wet and muddy conditions.
These subtle but influential differences reflect the amount of thought that Case Construction Equipment has put into the needs of its customers, and at the show, there was one more surprise for the Middle East.
The Case 570ST backhoe is a model that draws heavily upon the core elements of the Case 580ST, but while the latter is optimised for developed market characteristics, the Case 570ST is geared towards emerging markets and has been re-engineered for simplicity, with fewer elements and less electronic circuitry.
Franco Invernizzi, CNH Industrial’s senior director for Africa and Middle East, notes: “The Case 570ST represents more value for money in these markets. A key part of this is serviceability — the machine can be repaired and fixed easily by the operator — and that is extremely important in some localities in Africa and the Middle East.
“The Case 570ST engine is also different. It’s an FPT engine that has two advantages: First, we know the engine better than anybody else, and secondly, we put the same engine in different machines — so you can find the same engine in wheel loaders, graders and dozers.
“This is extremely beneficial for the customer and the dealer — because they have to stock the parts for fewer engines. But the benefits are particularly pronounced for big customers — because when their personnel are trained on one machine, the same expertise carries over to other machines.”
The cab of the Case 570ST is also enlarged, because, Invernizzi explains, in Africa and the Middle East backhoes are often used by workers to travel to the jobsite, and the extra width allows several people to fit in the cab.
Waste not, want not
Another product at the show which Case Construction Equipment hopes has a bright future in the Middle East is the Case CX290D MH, a crawler excavator designed for the material handling segment with an elevating cab structure that allows the operator to view the machine’s work area from a height of 5.0m.
Standing 12.5m tall, the machines has a reach of 11.6m in the horizontal direction and 3.7m deep, with a lifting capacity of 6.1 tonnes in the forward position and 4.2 tonnes facing sideways (at a horizontal reach of 9.0m).
Invernizzi notes: “We have experience when it comes to the handling of waste management in Europe, and we are trying to bring this experience to the Middle East.
“A few years ago, if you met people and mentioned waste management, they looked at you as if you had come from Mars, but now there are big companies in the Middle East that want to be in this segment.”
More than just the machine, however, what Case Construction Equipment is looking to propose to waste managers in the Middle East is an entire solution, and CNH Industrial has already transferred personnel from Europe to Dubai to press its pitch in the Middle East.
Invernizzi continues: “In the UK we are the provider to two of the biggest waste management companies, and we have developed very specific attachments for the Case CX290D MH for this sort of application.
“Indeed, what we try to propose is an entire solution, because if you go to one of the big plants in the UK, our machines handle all the processes: wheel loaders feed the plant, excavators with rising cabs manage the material and backhoes carry out the maintenance activities,” he explains.
“In waste management plants, the machines work for 20 hours a day, so the most important factors are reliability and 24-hour service from the dealer — there is a continuous flow and the machine must never breakdown.
“In the UK, you usually have a backup machine, but in the Middle East that is not always the case and may not be feasible.”
Handily, however, CNH Industrial has just opened up a new parts and inventory warehouse for Case in Jebel Ali, Dubai.
Invernizzi adds: “What we want to do is to go to our customers or potential customers in the Middle East and say, ‘Okay, this is the solution they have in the UK or in France’. We care able to provide the machinery as well as advise on how to set up the process itself.”
From product to application
From a sales perspective, Invernizzi notes that this type of integrated approach is increasingly what its customers both globally and in the Middle East are demanding, and which Case is happy to comply with.
“We don’t want to have product specialists anymore; we want to have application specialists. This is a big change, especially for the Middle East, but it has brought a lot of benefits for us — because now we talk to the customer with the same language.
“We go to talk to the waste management guys with the application specialist, and they talk the same language. It is a totally different mind-set to talk about the design of the process, and this is a big change in the industry. For Case this is a really good thing.”
A second change has been the shift away from a fixation on cost to customer-centric solutions, as Invernizzi explains: “A decade ago everybody was looking at cost saving and moving production from Europe and North America to China and India, and for many years, all of our discussion with our customer was about price, so we struggled to talk quality, reliability, performance, as the customers sitting on the other side of the table were not prepared to do that.
“Now, the most important thing for everybody is customisation, customer satisfaction, matching the customer needs and talking about applications, not cost, not price — and that is a really big change. Now, it comes from the customer — asking for quality, expertise, service.”
He adds that the relationship between Case and its partners has also changed. Now, the only way to find the right solutions for the customers is to go and visit the customers together.
Five years ago, he recalls, he used to spend a fraction of his time seeing customers with the dealers, whereas today the activity takes up half his time: “50% of the time I am together with the dealer to see customers and talk about solutions,” he notes.
As for the CX290D MH and Case 570ST, both are already available in the Middle East. Now, Invernizzi says, it is up to the local team to build Case’s presence among the right customers. This is one of the brand’s objectives in 2016, and by year end, they hope to have some business to show for it.
The Case 570ST is particularly suitable for small owners that “want to grow” says Invernizzi: “The Middle East is not like Europe. In the Middle East you start talking to someone that right now has two machines, and in five years he may have 200 machines. This is the entry-level model. If you want to be part of the Case family, the Case 570ST is the main gate. It is affordable, reliable and sturdy, and the investment is repaid very quickly.”
Finally, according to Invernizzi, CNH Industrial has taken ‘high-level’ people from the competition. He ends: “Right now we probably have one of the best teams in the Middle East. That is probably the biggest sign of how Case is investing in the region.”