Workers in the construction and mining industries need vehicles that can endure harsh conditions. Guelph, Ontario-based Hitachi Construction Truck Manufacturing sets itself apart with its truck haulers, which are designed for such rigors.
“There are many features in our trucks which are definitely different from our competitors’,” General Manager of Manufacturing Piyush Agarwal says, citing its axle designs and frames as examples, and these improve product performance and life. “We [take] pride in that.”
Primarily, the firm manufactures vehicles for its parent company, Hitachi Construction Machinery Ltd., which sends them to clients as far away as Europe, Colombia, South Africa and Indonesia. “[We go] all the way around the world,” Agarwal says.
Hitachi recently experienced changes in its market’s demand patterns, Agarwal says. While volumes have remained the same, “You see more product variation on the order board,” he says.
In certain periods, Hitachi has built more mining trucks, and during others, it has fulfilled more construction truck orders. To stay flexible, the company recently expanded its facility in Guelph, giving it 377,800 square feet of new manufacturing space.
“It is pretty big,” Agarwal says. “We should have the capability of manufacturing a variety of different products in the same work stations in varying quantities, [due to the] changing demands in the customer base.” Demand from the mining market has the company busy right now.
The expansion also will help the company boost its business. “Hitachi’s future plan is to have roughly about 30 percent of the world market for mining trucks,” Agarwal says.
Hitachi also enhanced its flexibility by increasing its use of lean manufacturing practices, including cell manufacturing. “It’s quite a dramatic change in how we manufacture [and] how we plan to manage [ourselves] in the future,” he says.
A Positive Outlook
Agarwal praises the leadership and Hitachi, CEO Hideo Kitawaki and the shop staff. “[They carry] tremendous experience,” he says. “The union is very cooperative and [promotes] good teamwork.”
Agarwal sees a strong future for Hitachi. “With the concepts of expansion and [capturing] 30 percent of the world marketshare, I think it’s all positive,” he explains, noting that the company also contributes to Guelph’s economy. “The community as a whole sees us as something positive.”