Top job thanks to top Cat

Innovation through technology is being credited with allowing a Dalby farmer and civil contractor to not only win competitive contracts and elevate the professionalism of his work force, but gaining him a reputation for finishing jobs on time and under-budget.

Simmich Farming’s Mick Simmich has just taken ownership of his latest Caterpillar 140M all wheel drive motor grader and said contractors who did not stay ahead in technology would find it increasing difficult to remain competitive.

Mr Simmich, who runs the business with his father Barry and brothers Mark and Kerrin, credits his Cat machines for allowing his team to set a new benchmark in service in completing one of Toowoomba’s largest ever bulk earthworks projects.

“There were 176 house blocks and 160 of them had different levels, throw into that 4-5 roads and a roundabout and it was a huge job,” he said, “Surveys from engineers working on the job said we set a new standard achieving what we did in a three to four month timeframe. If we didn’t have the technology that we have with those machines – it couldn’t have been done.

“The last five years have seen a real pick up in the changes in machine technology. The technology means in busy times we can always find machine operators and are able to run an efficient work force. The GPS controlled machines offer so many benefits and we find our blokes really look forward to the new equipment – especially those who are technology focussed – they are certainly excited by more buttons to push.

“But the bottom line is always keeping our operating costs down which we have achieved through Hastings Deering Cat offerings like product link which allow us to see significant savings in our fuel costs – from between 15% and 20%.

“When we reduce our operating costs we can pass them onto the customer. If we can save our customers 20% because we are more efficient then it keeps us relevant and competitive. Sometimes we have to spend more so they can save. It has kept us so busy we have not had to look for work – it finds us.”

The Simmich’s have a client base of 80 and the machines are also used for agricultural earthworks on their own properties where they grow cotton and grain. Mr Simmich said he has a great relationship with Hastings Deering Toowoomba who has sold him more than 10 Cat machines in the last two years.

“Parts and reliability is a big thing in this business: we just have to be able to keep running,” he said, “And the guys at Hastings always go the extra mile.

Hastings Deering’s Toowoomba New and Used Equipment Sales Representative, Shane Meagher said Mr Simmich bought one of the very first Caterpillar 336E Hydraulic Excavators that had factory installed Caterpillar Grade Control.

Mr Meagher said his team was seeing an increasing uptake of the new technology as machine owners could see the benefits of reduced fuel costs and leaner operations in tougher economic times.

“In the competitive marketplace of increased costs and low margins, owners are looking for any opportunity to save, by both increasing productivity and reducing direct costs,” he said, “The advanced technology options now being introduced on Caterpillar products are assisting owners to do both of these.”