‘You asked for it… So we built it’. That is the company slogan of Striker, the Australian manufacturer of crushing and screening equipment led by CEO Craig Pedley. The motto reflects his take on the market and the overarching theory that Striker’s business model is based on. Striker is not a company to simply bring a project to market, it reacts to consumer demand, adapts its machines and brings bespoke designs and solutions to projects across the world.
Pedley started the company in 1998 leaving his post as general manager at the Parker dealer in Australia, having worked his way through the ranks. It began as a business to support local customers in Western Australia in the quarry and mining segments and has grown to become a multi-national company, with a portfolio of over 15,000 designs, servicing projects in Australia, the US, the Middle East, China and South East Asia.
By 2000, Pedley had decided to take on the track market and design track machines. His Australian customers said the existing products were too light weight so he came in with a heavy duty track machine under the brand Striker. That assumed a significant proportion of Striker’s business between 2000-08 as the company produced around 800 machines for the Australian market in that time.
In 2008 the global financial crisis hit and Pedley refocused the business from track machines to what he calls max plant machines due to the Australian iron ore and coal boom. For the next 7 years Striker didn’t focus heavily on the track market as it was producing max plant machines for 7 million tonnes per annum (mpta) plants.
Now, it is a different story and Pedley explains it as so, “The world has changed, China has slowed down, the iron ore price is gone, the coal price is gone, commodities have gone and Australia has basically gone into a negative position on mining.
“We decided, we have this magnificent range of track gear, let’s take that to the world market and that’s what we are doing now.”
Having started life as a purely Australian-focused company, Striker has readjusted to target the aforementioned five international markets, particularly focusing on the Americas.
“We’ve re-engineered and re-designed our product range to be a heavy duty Australian product,” explained Pedley. “Then we looked at those markets and looked at the 140 different track machines from the last 15 years and we narrowed it down to 20 core products that we will take to the world.”
When asked to reflect on 2015, Pedley saw it as a crucial transition year as Striker made the move from domestic production to international focus.
“We finished some big projects in Australia. We did a couple of iron ore crushing plants in Australia and we saw the iron ore price and the market in Australia was turning, so that’s when we decided we needed to do the US market,” explained Pedley.
Having previously tried to crack the US market in 2008 only to be rebounded by the worldwide recession, Pedley saw the opportunity to make the move in 2015 and decided to go for it with a range of products. He has since been on the road for eight months between the US, the Middle East, China and South East Asia setting up dealers and selling machines and redesigning and redeveloping the track machines and selling those into the respective markets too.
The key aspect that Pedley has driven into Striker is that it is not a company that will prescribe its products to an ever-changing and advancing market. Striker goes out and talks to customers from around the world to try and understand their needs and designs based on their feedback.
“I say to customers you might buy a competitors’ machine but what do you really want if you could get any machine you wanted? They provide feedback for all the elements they want and that’s what we give to the design team and say let’s design for the market wants,” explained Pedley.
Pedley believes it is crucial to listen to what the customer wants and design around that specification. It isn’t a mass-production business model but it’s about approaching the customer for their needs and designing that.
“We build equipment that will last a long time, we give a five-year structural warranty, and we build it for the customer.”
The factor that really differentiates Striker in the market is how it gives a number of companies and markets input on its products. The HQR1112, a track-powered impactor, had sold around 400 units in China and Australia but when Pedley took it to the US it didn’t fit their needs. He spoke to 30-40 potential customers and took all those comments along with the feedback from China and Australia and combined them all to redesign a machine that all the markets were happy with.
As mentioned Striker’s products live by their reliability and durability, the machines are designed to operate for 6000 hours a year for 10 years and continue to operate. In America crushing machines are unlikely to do more than 1500 hours a year, according to Pedley, and he thinks he has found a solution to junk machine problems.
“If we can design a machine, the customer pays a similar amount of money but can use it for 10-20 years and it still holds residual value, who wouldn’t want that?”
Striker has created extremely durable machines that can operate in exceptional conditions at either end of the temperature scale. Pedley gives assurances that his machines will operate from the -30c temperatures of upper Mongolia to the blistering 60c in Western Australia and the Middle East, with only cosmetic adjustments.
One of Striker’s biggest successes to date and proof of the attractiveness of the business model is a heap leach plant it installed in Indonesia.
The plant went to 16 tenders and they all came back with a standard equipment offer. Striker put in the standard offer but also a non-conforming offer based on what they felt the project needed. The offer proceeded with a lot of meetings and Pedley explaining why the project should design the plant the way Striker believed it should be, and that’s what Pedley felt secured the contract.
“We won the project by working with the customer, we probably weren’t the cheapest but I like to think we won the project because of the features we offered them and the fact we could design a plant based on what they actually wanted rather than off the shelf equipment.”
Pedley always puts in a conforming bid but hopes the customer takes the non-conforming bid, “Our business is about the operator and making sure they can produce material.
“We like to give customers different options, we offer a service which would cost them $1 million from an engineering company to design the equipment, with us its free and they basically get 100 years of free advice.”
Striker are also moving into a new market and making key innovations in its recycling and soil reclamation plants. The company is looking at developing technology to produce a cost-effective solution for soil reclamation at contaminated US sites at a price as low as $200 per tonnes to process.
In terms of the company, Pedley emphasises the important roles his supplies and key partners have played in Striker achieving the success it has so far Caterpillar, Sauer Danfos, Rokonma.
Throughout Striker’s existence, Pedley has ensured that social responsibility and safety are concepts which flow through the company from top to bottom. He says it is one of the most important things they do as a business to make sure everyone goes home every night as well as ensure to give back to the communities they work in.
Under the Striker Foundation, an arm of the company solely focused on community programmes setup by Pedley’s daughter, the Malaysia-based employees’ children are provided with free education and tuition through the four full-time teachers Striker hires there.
“For us it is about the future and giving to people who are less fortunate and don’t have the money to get an education, (and) getting them to have an education,” beamed Pedley.
Pedley didn’t want to take the easy option of just donating to organisations where the money can be tied up in administration. He went a step further with the Striker Foundation and it now does a large amount of charity work in Australia along with sponsoring disabled children, the Malaysian education programme, and sporting activities through a karate school.
“There’s only so much money you can earn and spend in your lifetime and so if you have a few extra dollars put it to people who are less fortunate, this is really important to us.”
Looking on to the future Pedley’s primary target is to cement Striker in the international markets: the US, the Middle East, South East Asia, China and Australia.
The last year has seen about five per cent of the progress of where Pedley wants Striker to be and the next two years are crucial.
“In an overall vision of where we want to be and the products we want to supply we are probably five per cent of the way, the next 24 months will see us achieve 65-70% of what we want to achieve,” concluded Pedley.