"Our product innovation process involves gathering client feedback and submitting it to the factory, which determines which ideas to pursue based on economic considerations."
Can you provide an update on MC System’s offerings?
Our product line is versatile and can be used with various types of heavy machinery, such as excavators, graders, bulldozers, asphalt pavers and drills. Recently, we have made advancements in our excavator products, specifically with our ability to connect with the new generation of Caterpillar machines known as Cat Next Gen. Our solution complements the Caterpillar systems and has allowed excavators to become semi-automatic.
Another exciting addition to our portfolio is our new digital safety 3-D system, which creates a CAD file that maps out walls and other zones. When an excavator's bucket comes into contact with a virtual zone, it will trigger an alarm or stop entirely.
Can you tell us more about your product innovation process?
Regarding software improvements, our product innovation process involves gathering client feedback and submitting it to the factory, which determines which ideas to pursue based on economic considerations. We work with local suppliers and integrate what is necessary for solutions that do not require factory support. We work with various suppliers, including Leica, to enhance our offerings and provide the best possible solutions to our clients.
Our technical expertise allows us to offer tailored solutions, and these new products are exciting examples of how we continue to enhance our portfolio.
What trends have you seen in the demand for your services?
The pandemic has caused setbacks and lost time, and we are just starting to return to normalcy in the last few months. While we had a spectacular year in 2019, the mining industry faced challenges in 2020 and 2021 due to reduced investments and contracted access to mines. Compared to Europe, Chile's local mindset tends to avoid investing in technology during times of crisis. However, we anticipate this mentality will change in the next few years, particularly as investors and mines face new workforce crises. Therefore, while the pandemic setback took us back to 2017 levels, we expect demand to increase in the coming years, particularly in roads and infrastructure, which is almost mandatory.
How can Chile improve its workforce crisis, and how have those issues impacted the company?
Improving salaries is one way to address Chile's workforce crisis, but it is also a matter of shifting the culture. As a foreigner, I have noticed that people in Chile are always dissatisfied with their salaries, even if they are pretty good. They tend to take on extra jobs or hop to another company for a small raise instead of proving themselves in one company. This trend makes it difficult to find specialized professionals. In France, people tend to stay longer in their positions, leading to highly technical professionals. Incentivizing people to commit to one position long-term and fostering a sense of responsibility can break this cycle. These issues have impacted our company as we need highly skilled professionals, but skilled labor is challenging due to the workforce crisis.
What differentiates MC System, and what is your strategy for 2023?
Our strategy is to continue advising our clients and offering unique solutions. We intend to work more with tunnels, such as in the subway, as we have done with the Americo Vespucio Oriente 1 (AVO 1) project excavators. We carried out the digital design of the tunnel with the vault to help operators not over-excavate. If the operator over-excavated, the holes must be filled back with concrete, which makes the project much more expensive. That is what we did in AVO 1, and because our clients were satisfied with the results, we are now installing a system with OHL. For AVO 2, which is starting now, they are ordering their machines with our 3-D solutions for excavators. These projects usually take 2 or 3 years, so we have an excellent outlook for 2024 in addition to other road and mining projects.
We are also adding software from AGTEK, the Hexagon division, which helps clients quote according to the cubic meters they must cut or fill. Our solution allows you to calculate this with just the customer's drawing, unlike the traditional method, which requires a topographer and hours of work to do the project in CAD.