In today’s busy, competitive environment, conveying downtime is the bane of the quarrying process, especially in remote locations. The experience of 2019 Supplier of the Year recipient Peter Laskey is that the personal touch is still integral to delivering effective customer solutions.
Peter Laskey is on his way to work. Usually, people would be complaining about their one-hour commute in Melbourne’s congested traffic – but not Laskey.
With his car serving as a makeshift office, Laskey is travelling eight hours from Melbourne to Broken Hill in New South Wales. This is not out of the ordinary for Laskey, who has worked as a field applications specialist for Kinder Australia since 2016.
Laskey, who was previously involved with construction work, has been at Kinder since 2011. The 59-year-old now has the responsibility of looking after customers in the quarrying and extractive industry to help fix and improve site equipment. Laskey helps his clients using the wide range of technology Kinder offers to the industry. His role at Kinder also extends to the mining industry and grain handlers.
“We’re mainly looking at situations at the transfer sites with skirting issues, if they’ve got spillage there,” Laskey said. “We also help with belt tracking as well.
“I started [at Kinder] in 2011 as a warehouse supervisor and that’s where I gained a lot of product knowledge.”
Between 2018 and 2019, Laskey visited more than 100 customer sites – with most being from the from quarrying and extractive industries. His work is primarily focused in parts of Victoria and South Australia, but he has driven as far as Broken Hill, NSW.
“Melbourne to Broken Hill was my longest trip,” Laskey said. “That was about 13 hours. Going as far as Broken Hill and offering solutions with their belt cleaning in a mine site there was a pretty huge moment for me. They were having a lot of issues and we seem to have solved those issues. That was really good.”
Supplier of the Year
Laskey enjoys looking after customers in the quarrying and extractive industry to help fix and improve site equipment. Due to his dedication, professionalism and strong work ethic, Laskey was nominated for the IQA’s 2019 Supplier of the Year Award. Laskey considers it one of the proudest moments in his nine years at Kinder. “To be involved and to be recognised was something out of the blue and something that I was really chuffed about,” he said. “I believe in the company that I work for and the industry that we’re in. Both of those are very progressive and it’s a good place to be at this time because I think the expansion [at Kinder] and everything that’s going on – I really like that situation.
“Honestly, it was a shock. I thought it was good of the company to put me up there.” With a new accolade on the wall, Laskey believes his passion pushes him to go further.
“I guess I’m very driven because I want to help people and I want to help this company,” he said. “It’s a family-run business, so I like those initiatives. “What motivates me is being able to represent the company and myself in a good light.” Positive feedback from customers is a rewarding experience in Laskey’s line of work. This has been one of the driving forces behind his business.
“We might suggest something, and they go for that idea – and the next month they’re saying, ‘Can we look at getting another one of these installed?’ or ‘That’s worked really well in that area’,” he said. “It’s offering the solutions and getting customers to come back to us and say ‘Yes, we want to add more of those in’.”
Laskey’s support extends beyond supplying solutions to customers – he also helps run maintenance training programs at sites.
“We also offer conveyor maintenance training in house and also out on site,” he said. “So that’s always worthwhile when you get the feedback there from the customers saying, ‘Yes, that was really worthwhile doing and beneficial for us’, and that’s something I can take back to the field and implement.”
Compelling Business Case
In Laskey’s eyes, making a business case to customers is the most challenging part of the job. This means he must explain why his solutions are worthwhile.
“I know our company is very innovative in keeping up with the latest solutions,” he said. “But making a business case for our products means we as an organisation are highly attuned to industry pain points, our customers are challenged by constant on-site dust emissions and material spillage issues.”
A combined conveyor skirting and sealing, conveyor belt support and conveyor belt cover system is offered by Kinder Australia. “The Essential Seal combination transforms high risk dust and material spillage transfer points into productive, efficient, safe and clean workspaces,” he said. For Laskey, his mantra is simple – be yourself and be honest.
“I reckon its vital because I think a lot of what I do is just myself being myself and if people can see that you’re an open book it’s easy to relate to that person,” he said. “They know what they’re going to get each time you see them and a lot of what I do is getting to know people too.”
“It’s also important that I do get to know the person so that it makes it easier and they feel relaxed and I feel relaxed as well.
“It’s not just ‘Hi, how are you going?’ but just digging a little deeper and getting to know the person. And being a sports nut is pretty easy in Victoria and South Australia where we talk about the football.
“Open and honest communication is paramount for people to trust you.”
Since starting his career at Kinder in 2011, Laskey has grown to be one of the company’s brightest and successful employees. As he continues to drive around quarries both near and far, his goal is to continue learning as much as he can about the industry he helps to keep operating.
Supplier of the Year Award
The IQA awards recognise the industry’s highest achievers who demonstrate leadership and excellence. The Supplier of the Year Award acknowledges an IQA member that works for a quarry supplier organisation. The winner will demonstrate all facets of the IQA’s code of conduct, values and professional standards. They will also need to exhibit the highest amount of professionalism as a supplier.
According to the IQA, applicants for the award will be judged based on the following criteria:
- Broad engagement with the IQA through branches, events and committees.
- Demonstrating the highest standards of professionalism, IQA code of conduct and values.
- Excellence against reaching KPI targets in their work and outcomes.
- A broad range of industry knowledge.
- Participating in and contributing to the extractive industry.
- Exhibiting commitment and leadership in their area of responsibility.
- Letters of recommendation from suppliers, managers and colleagues.
The winner of the IQA Supplier of the Year award receives a framed certificate and recognition through IQA marketing.
Written by: Nickolas Zakharia, Quarry Magazine.