In today’s mining industry, key traits required to succeed are service, safety, competitive cost and quality. DSI Underground Group CEO, Michael Reich, understands this and drives this across the company’s global operations. “At DSI Underground, we aim for excellence, leadership and profitable development in our underground markets around the world. We are committed to conducting our business with integrity everywhere,” he says. Founded in Germany in 1865, DSI Underground Group has firmly established itself as a global market leader, providing ground support products and systems for underground mining and tunnelling customers in more than 70 countries worldwide. The company has more than 1,700 specialised and experienced employees that work with customers to provide next-level services and support. “We approach every customer in every market with the same mindset: local presence combined with global competence,” explains Carlos Leigh, the company’s Regional Chief Executive Officer. “We’ve been successful in this approach and as we increase our service support, we have created trust with our customers. They trust in DSI and the support we provide with our products.” It is this trust and brand recognition that DSI has established over decades in operation that will support the company’s continued growth plans in the Latin American (LATAM) markets.
DSI has a strong presence in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador, and Leigh notes that underground tunnelling is currently a growing market, meaning that it has quickly become a crowded marketplace for companies like DSI. This is where the company’s approach to support services makes it stand tall above the competition. “DSI delivers higher quality products in the market,” says Leigh. “But it’s the technical capability of our teams that makes the difference. We have technical sales teams, and mining and engineering professionals in all of our markets. They are right there at the work sites, communicating and working with customers directly.” Communicating with the customer and understanding the evolving needs of their mining operation is key for any service provider to be able to offer products and support that enables them to operate successfully, and safely. Leigh believes that the evolution of the company’s products and capabilities comes directly from working with such a vast network of global customers. “We find that when a customer shares their needs with us, they join us to develop new products specifically for them,” he says. “In the end though, we see that specific product for that specific problem can be applied to other customers in other mines. Tunnelling customers have the same or similar problems and so over time we build this net of expertise and continue to improve our support around that expertise.”
For Leigh, this net of collaboration is what separates DSI from other service providers as its support to each customer in each market comes from its work with previous customers. But how does the company measure success? The customer is at the centre of everything it does and so DSI ensures it not only listens to its customers from a product perspective, but also looks at how the company can improve its relationship with them. Market intelligence proves key here and Leigh explains that DSI has the best possible market intelligence at its disposal. “The work site is everything,” he says. “We have our professionals at the work sites on a weekly basis, working directly on the operation to see what’s happening in real time. It’s very difficult to follow your customer’s needs sitting at a desk. In tunnelling it just cannot work that way and so we have to be right there in the trenches with our customers.”
Safety is paramount to any company and DSI works towards a very specific goal of achieving zero accidents in its own production plants, and then works with customers to develop the best product and the best support possible in order for customers to achieve their own safety goals. In the Latin American mining market, the topic of mine safety is a particularly pertinent one and Leigh looks at the evolving mining landscape and how significant improvements have been made to enable a growing marketplace for DSI. “The improvements over the last 20 years have been incredible. If you compare with the past, it's much better, but not enough yet,” he says. “I believe this because the market as well is changing. More and more professionals are studying; miners, engineers and technical engineers are all coming from universities with a different view as well. That is improving professionals in the work site, it's improving our own capacities to support our customers, and everything as a package is improving what is meant by safety in mines.”
DSI is a recognised leader and with that position comes a responsibility to define and develop this evolving marketplace. Leigh understands this responsibility. “Our customers expect the best product, the best support, the best service, and the best product development catering for their evolving needs, so that’s what we have to do,” he says. “This is continuous work, and every day is a new challenge to create a much better product, a much better system, and to be at a level that our customers demand from us.”
As the LATAM market continues to grow, Leigh hopes that DSI can continue to deliver its internationally recognised success. One of the company’s key strategic goals over the next five years is to maintain its leading position and Leigh understands that in order to achieve this, DSI must continuously evolve, challenge itself and always be there for the customer. “Our approach will to be there for the growing market. If we can actually drive that growth, perfect – but to be there is the most important part for us,” he says. “In order to do that, we need to improve every day for the changing customer needs and this will only become more demanding in the future. I believe we have the best people in the market and that net of international expertise, coupled with our customer base, which is everything. To be a leader is our responsibility and working with these experts allows us to be more than prepared for that.”