Loadscan – Adapting for International Success in the COVID-19 Market
Founded in 1998, Loadscan Limited (https://www.loadscan.com/) are a Waikato-based business that globally export highly accurate payload measurement systems across the mining, civil, bark and mulch industries. In addition to distributing their products across New Zealand, Loadscan exports to more than 35 countries, with the United States being their key market. From recognising the competitive ‘who you know and what you know’ style of business of the USA, Loadscan has developed a high level of brand recognition in the market that enabled the business to grow significantly over the past nine years. The secret to their success is the Load Volume Scanner (LVS), an automated drive-through volumetric measurement system that accurately generates 3D images of each truck payload. This data is then seamlessly integrated into their proprietary load management software for further analysis. Through this process, Loadscan’s LVS systems ensures that the cost per tonne of each payload is optimised to maximise their customers profitability. As Loadscan’s CEO Carey West says, their product is “developed for the industry by the industry.”
As our 2018 finalist in the ‘Best Emerging Business – Goods Exporter’ category, we wanted to examine how Loadscan has managed to perform against the unprecedented obstacles presented by COVID-19 in the global market. In an interview with Carey West, it was revealed that the business has ultimately found success against the challenges brought by COVID-19.
To understand how Loadscan has adapted to the effects of COVID-19, it is important to understand how they operated in the US market prior to the pandemic. Beginning with their active agents in the US, Loadscan’s products were purchased by customers based on the product’s proven quality and performance. In order to export their products, Loadscan needed to import and build the technical components in NZ before exporting them to the US where the heavy steel components are manufactured, and final assembly takes place. As a result, West and his staff from NZ were expected to travel to the US to build, deliver, and sell the final product face-to-face with their customers. With this dependence on travel and their lack of US-based technical support, it became abundantly clear how COVID-19 would disrupt the status-quo and require significant change to their business model.
Like many New Zealand export businesses impacted by COVID-19, Loadscan faced significant issues exporting their equipment in time to meet customer demand. Being unable to travel directly to their markets, they were unable to sell and install their equipment. Additionally, the effect of COVID-19 throughout the world created communication challenges between Loadscan’s various supply chains, which only served to exacerbate supply shortages.
In order to adapt to these crucial issues, West implemented three key changes to the business’ operations. Firstly, the budget from their former travel budget was redeployed into digital marketing and developing technical tutorial videos so that customers can install the equipment themselves. Secondly, offshore staff and partners were empowered to take more responsibility in overseeing the sale, assembly, delivery and installation of Loadscan’s LVS systems. Lastly, and most significantly, West is expanding Loadscan’s operations and will be opening a distribution hub in Houston, Texas on January 1st, 2022. This will enable Loadscan to solidify their supply chain network and build rapport with their customers in the US market by employing Americans and contributing directly to the American economy. The success of these changes has been a significant increase in sales orders, much reduced travel expenses, and a valuable expansion of their manufacturing capability.
A Story of Success:
While the unprecedented effects of COVID-19 revealed Loadscan’s critical supply chain and export issues, the crises ultimately provided an opportunity for the business to innovatively adapt in new ways. As West explains, “You have to accept that the pre-COVID market is gone and adapt to the new market in front of you”.
West would also like to let our readers know of Loadscan’s offshoot business ‘Mine Payload Technologies’ (https://minepayloadtechnologies.com/). This business was specifically created in 2021 to provide the mining industry with specialised mining-specification LVS systems.