The availability of spare parts is the most important factor for Australian miners when selecting an equipment supplier, according to Timetric’s latest report ‘Winning and Retaining Business in the Australian Mining Equipment Sector, 2014.’

The survey asked 110 managers from more than 90 Australian mines to rate the importance of factors based such as cost, product attributes, and supplier attributes and capabilities, and found that availability of replacement parts was the top criterion, followed closely by product quality / reliability.

Managers were also concerned about the delivery times for spare parts from equipment suppliers, maintenance and service costs and average total operating hours.

"The survey found that respondents were more interested in high-quality than low-cost equipment."

Some of the least important factors were lowest price, the supplier’s range and a complete service solution.

Overall, the survey found that respondents were more interested in high-quality than low-cost equipment.

When asked about their satisfaction levels on current suppliers’ ability to deliver spare parts, many satisfied respondents said that parts were delivered on time, were available immediately and that more parts were available in quicker time frames.

Timetric analyst Cliff Smee said the key for improving customer satisfaction is providing a high-quality, reliable product that is supported by widely available parts and cost reductions.

"When looking at areas for improvement, ‘availability of parts’ was the top area of improvement cited by 51% of survey respondents. This was above ‘product quality / reliability’ (42%) and ‘ability to support cost reduction / minimisation’ (47%)," Smee said.

"When it comes to winning new business, we found the successful suppliers stood out when it came to their ability to build long-term relationships, understand their customer needs and provide better maintenance and service than the competition."