Advance Projects invests in Komatsu power to maximise new development opportunities
Aldert Nieuwoudt standing in front of the Komatsu PC200-8MO
An enduring partnership that has thrived for a quarter of a century best describes the relationship between Komatsu and highly-respected earthworks and civils contractor Advance Projects.
The story began in 1992 when founding director Aldert Nieuwoudt – together with his brother MC and friend Kobus du Toit – set up their fledgling earthworks business. Starting out with only a handful of people but plenty of ambition, hard work and a careful choice of capital equipment, has seen the business mature and expand as a leader in its field. It’s also worth mentioning that it now provides employment for around 500 people.
Based in Mooiplaats east of Pretoria, Advance Projects has used Komatsu products from the very outset, starting out with second-hand equipment and gradually growing the size of its fleet with the addition of new machines.
“We’re very happy with our products and our fleet of dozers and excavators is literally 99% Komatsu,” says Aldert, who points out that the older machines are still earning their keep more than two decades down the line.
Power and reliability
The company’s faith in the power and reliability of Komatsu was demonstrated during the first few months of 2016, when it took delivery of four new PC200-8MO excavators, three PC300-8 excavators and a single D65EX-16 dozer.
The new additions have been taken on board not only to replace existing equipment, but specifically for use in the development of new projects, and the total size of the Komatsu fleet now stands at an impressive 30 units.
“Business conditions are definitely tight, margins have shrunk and we need to be very enthusiastic when we tender. Despite this, there are some very good reasons to be positive as we have consistently achieved year-on-year growth of 20% over the past three years. We have done this by staying competitive in the marketplace and keeping a very careful eye on operating costs,” he says.
The latter is being further addressed with KOMTRAX – Komatsu’s well-established and technologically advanced remote equipment and fleet monitoring system, which is currently being activated across all of the company’s more recent acquisitions.
Aldert believes that taking the advice of his dedicated Komatsu representative, Karen van der Walt, to utilize this comprehensive plant monitoring system can only be beneficial, as it provides immediate reference to essential indicators like hours worked, fuel consumption, operator performance and the exact location of a machine.
“It is a very handy tool, not only for developers like ourselves, but also for plant hire operators. We operate all over the country and this gives us an immediate reference to what’s going on and where. We need to keep up to date with this type of technology to run our business in today’s conditions.”
Stick to the basics and remain positive
A factor that has enabled Advance Projects not only to survive but to prosper in challenging conditions is to stay with the basics.
“We’re sticking to what we know best. Over the years we’ve built up strong relationships with good developers who specialize in projects within the private sector,” says Aldert whose background in the construction, civils and bulk earthmoving industries, ensures that he knows every aspect of the business from the ground up. He also makes the point that the company has to work to very closely controlled deadlines.
Looking ahead, he has a positive outlook for the future: “If the people in power do what they say they are going to do the economy will pick up, money will be spent through the right channels and there will be a lot of work. We started from very small beginnings and worked late nights and, in a way, nothing has changed.”
Advance’s Fleet of Komatsu Equipment: