Now celebrating their 10th year in business, David Kais founded Kais Contractors in 2004 with a single grader. Today the company owns 23 graders and has become the largest Caterpillar grader hire business in the state, specialising in final trim work using Topcon GPS and LPS technology.
“We have had a close working relationship with Topcon’s Australian distributor Position Partners from the very beginning,” Mr Kais explained. “We operate both LPS and GPS Topcon machine control across our range of CAT 140H, 140M and 14H, 16H and 16M machines. We’re 100% Topcon and we’re 100% CAT.”
When the company first started out, LPS and GPS machine control was not as common on job sites as it is today. “We’ve seen a huge change in machine control adoption in the last 10 years, now its pretty much a requirement for all major projects we work on in the North West and we’re beginning to see it come fitted with machines as standard from the factory.”
Mr Kais explains that although new Caterpillar graders come factory fitted with machine control, they prefer to retrofit Topcon systems. “We purchased some new M series machines late last year, which are fitted with a basic machine control system,” he said.
“We choose to remove those systems straight away in favour of Topcon, to ensure that our clients and ourselves get the next level up and have everything setup to the highest standards so we achieve the tight tolerances and budget requirements that the job demands,” he added.
When asked why Kais chooses Topcon, Mr Kais explained that it is largely due to the back up service provided by Position Partners, alongside the reliability and ease of use of the Topcon systems for his operators.
“Whether it’s a new install, site setup or technical problem, the service and support team at Position Partners give me peace of mind that whenever we need them they will jump onto it as fast as is humanly possible,” he said. “That is of key importance to our business as we need to keep the machines humming along day in, day out and keep our clients happy.”
When quoting for new work, Mr Kais always recommends the use of Topcon machine control. “We find it is the market leader in terms of reliability and ease of use – certainly that’s the feedback we get from our clients. It’s a cut above the rest!”
However advanced technology, Mr Kais says, is only one half of the equation. “Position Partners really forms the backbone to our LPS and GPS capabilities. If their team wasn’t able to keep it running at an optimal level and support it, the technology wouldn’t be half as valuable to us or to our clients.”
The company chooses to hire all of their machine control systems from Position Partners – which offers an extensive hire range across their product lines – as it gives Kais the flexibility to tailor the machine control systems to any given product or specialist application.
Kais also makes good use of Position Partners’ remote service capabilities with Tokara Service. “In a region like WA where a lot of the work is in remote areas of the North West, Tokara enables the team at Position Partners to support the machines from their office in Perth, whether it’s to configure the machine on site, upload software, troubleshoot an issue or train the operator.”
Feedback from Kais’ operators on the Topcon systems is very positive. “Some of our operators have 30-40 years experience and have been using Topcon for many years. It’s the system they are comfortable with and they find it easy to use, plus the remote service capability is a great tool for them to solve any problems they might run into.
“With the younger generation, we give them in-depth training with Position Partners’ Campus training courses so they learn about the latest technology early on.“We believe regular training for all our operators is essential, even if it’s just a refresher course to learn some new features, because when they’re out operating the machine the more they can handle the system themselves and feel confident with it, the fewer problems we will run into. Training is a cost cutting exercise, both for us and for our clients.”
In closing, Mr Kais summed up his experience with Topcon machine control by saying that they simply couldn’t complete the jobs on time without it. “I also couldn’t ask for more from Position Partners, we have a fantastic business relationship and I value the backup support and technical expertise they bring to our company.”
By Gina Velde