A comprehensive Bridgestone tyre support centre officially opened on 14 November in Port Hedland, reducing freight costs and providing a range of services to keep the wheels turning at our Westerm Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) operations.
Following years of close collaboration between our regional supply and operations teams, and the Account Management and regional tyre teams, the new Pilbara Solutions Centre offers vendor inventory management (VMI) and logistics, tyre repairs, rim and wheel refurbishments, and field engineering and training.
Daniel Sharpe, Yandi Maintenance Manager, says the centre is a great step forward.
"The Pilbara Solutions Centre has great potential benefit for WAIO with immediately visible positives including a robust QA and safety focused wheel and rim repair facility," says Daniel.
"There’s also the potential to reduce road train traffic from Perth to the Pilbara, thanks to future vendor managed inventory (VMI) models."
The centre’s proximity to our mine sites is a major logistical advantage.
Tyres for WAIO are currently shipped to Fremantle (approximately 30 kilometres from Perth) then freighted 1,200 kilometres by road to our warehouses and mines in the Pilbara. Now, the tyres can be unloaded at the Centre in Port Hedland reducing the road trip to our operations to 300-400 kilometres .
Localised tyre repairs will also bring significant savings.
A high number of tyre failures on earthmoving haul trucks occur in the Pilbara due to rock cut damage to the tread or sidewall. Each tyre repair, typically only costs 10 per cent of the cost of a new tyre.
With a repair service available regionally, tyres can be repaired quickly and returned to operation within a much shorter timeframe.
The centre will also refurbish wheels and rims.
Wheel refurbishments are a critical control and consistently monitored by risk owners and the WAIO GTS/engineering teams.
It’s also likely to lead to higher standards of wheel maintenance and increased intervals before requiring rims/wheels to be tested for cracks and other damage, which means greater truck availability.
With Bridgestone field engineers now located regionally, the speed of product development is also expected to increase.
Another significant advantage is access to training. As a nationally recognised registered training organisation, Bridgestone Earthmoving Tyres Australia will provide training to new personnel and upskill the existing workforce.