As a leading provider of world-class service and equipment, Joy Global is one of the biggest names in the mining equipment sector.
The U.S.-based company specializes in high-productivity solutions for surface and underground mining. Its machinery is used extensively for the mining of coal, copper, iron ore, oil sands, gold and other minerals. And while Joy Global has already established itself among the most innovative equipment manufacturers in the world, the company isn’t finished yet.
With a major acquisition under its belt, Joy Global is forging ahead to expand horizons and establish a clear presence in a new market for the company: hard rock. The company’s vision for the endeavor includes a central focus on operational excellence coupled with a refined approach to safety and environmental stewardship.
Entering a new market
Last year, Joy Global acquired the underground hard rock mining assets of Mining Technologies International Inc. (MTI), including all assets associated with MTI’s hard rock drilling, loaders, dump trucks, shaft sinking and raise bore product lines.
The $51MUS acquisition set the stage for Joy Global’s move into the underground hard rock mining sector.
“The acquisition provides a unique blend to our broad portfolio of products and it’s a substantial entry point into this market,” said Josh Wagner, Joy Global’s general manager of hard rock underground equipment.
Joy Global also recognized it needed to secure the most important part of MTI’s success: its employees.
“From day one we knew we needed to get those people on board,” said Wagner. “Thankfully we were able to hire the necessary staff and everyone has been very responsive to us. They understand we’re investing in them and where we want to take this business.”
By combining MTI’s range of complementary products with Joy Global’s proprietary technology and global direct service, the acquisition represents an exciting opportunity for the company to make a significant impact in a new market.
Immediately after the acquisition, Joy Global began working to upgrade MTI facilities and improve conditions.
“We needed to inject some capital to get the two facilities up to a manageable, workable level,” said Wagner. “As we start growing, all those values and opportunities will drive our industrial footprint going forward.”
“What we’re doing now is getting everything ready to set the stage for things to come,” said Wagner.
Vision for excellence
Joy Global has a clear vision for its hard rock business.
The company is currently rolling out its Joy Global Business Systems (JBS) operational excellence initiative, a program dedicated to ensuring operations in every department run as smooth and efficient as possible.
“We’re introducing new practices to improve the organization as a whole,” said Evelyn Maki, Marketing Communication Director for Joy Global. “It’s a cultural approach and it’s ingrained into our employees on a daily basis.”
Based on a lean philosophy, the company is focused on eliminating waste and streamlining current processes. According to Maki, the company strives to simplify and automate processes and keep people safe.
“One of the things we noticed in our service centers is the potential to eliminate waste and make things more efficient. We wanted to clean that up—rearrange and reorganize—to ensure we are operating as lean as possible. Our goal is to be running as efficiently as we can, internally and externally.”
Although still in the beginning stage of integrating the new hard rock division, Joy Global is already implementing its JBS initiative into the process.
“One of the things we stand by today is taking our curriculum and lessons learned elsewhere at Joy Global and applying them to part of the integration process,” said Wagner.
“We want to take this approach to our customers and help them run their mines to maximize production, while achieving zero harm. This essentially feeds into our goal of delivering world-class performance and operating at the best level possible.”
Another important component of achieving Joy Global’s vision for the future is its Environmental Health Safety (EHS) program. The company is committed to an incident-free culture and believes that EHS is a key indicator of organizational excellence and sustainability of its business.
“Starting the process post-acquisition, we wanted to identify, evaluate and assess our current situation in terms of overall environmental health and safety metrics,” said Wagner. “We started from square one. We implemented our key initiatives with a focus on getting out in front of identifying lead indicators.”
According to Wagner, production, quality and EHS are among the most important goals for the company.
“We launched our recording field-level risk assessment program about five months ago and it’s already provided 300 lead indicators. It really provides a lot to our employee base and allows them to take a step back and understand all the risk associated with performing their tasks.”
In addition, employees perform an array of safety initiatives before starting a job. The most notable is the company’s Safe Start initiative, which takes place before each and every shift and project. The purpose of the initiative is to ensure employees assess their current working situations and engage in discussions of potential hazards for the job.
“The program is critical to helping employees from a situational awareness aspect,” Wagner said.
When incidents do occur, Joy Global is quick to address the situation and implement new focus and training courses for employees.
“We try and learn from every situation,” said Wagner. “As things pop up, we tailor new programs to address aspects that may have been lacking before.”
Wagner added, “We also strive to empower our employees to speak up and record safety hazards. We want our people to be heard and able to voice their opinions in regards to safety.”
The next chapter
Joy Global’s move into the hard rock sector is part of its evolving focus on markets and service.
The company is built on a history of providing high-performance equipment, but its goal is bigger than that: to solve mining’s toughest challenges in a variety of markets through a variety of means. New methods will include a greater reliance on data and automation, to help customers maximize production while keeping people out of harm’s way.
Through its established direct service network and smart, connected products, Joy Global is partnering with its customers to adapt quickly to change, reduce downtime and drive results.
“We want to enhance our products and services through our JBS op-ex program, and then grow beyond our traditional markets,” Wagner said.