M&D Construction Group’s Plant Division continues to play a key role in helping the group achieve its core values of “being safe”, “doing it right”, “finding the best way” and “doing what we say”. These core values provide this leading multi-disciplinary construction company with its strategic competitive edge.

The Plant Division is led by Mark Drury, who has implemented far-reaching changes at M&D’s plant yard in Kya Sands, where state-of-the-art equipment is housed and maintained, over the past two years. This has helped to optimise the performance of the Division. Drury, a seasoned plant manager, was recruited by M&D management in 2020 to help improve the already-high availability and reliability of equipment in the Plant Division’s fleet. “Our Plant Division remains a core component of the group by enabling us to maintain high levels of productivity and efficiency on all of our contracts. We own all the machines that are essential for the optimal performance of the various group divisions, namely Infrastructure, Pipeline, Oil & Energy and Special Projects, on their contracts. This means that there are well over 200 items of plant in our fleet, spanning loading and hauling, road construction, pipelaying, lifting and utility equipment through to smaller machines, such as portable welding units. Moreover, we keep machines for large concrete works, including a batching plant, concrete mixers and screening equipment,” Drury says.

The various interventions that the Division and support services have introduced will also help M&D achieve its goal of fully establishing on site within four weeks of being awarded a contract. This is a very ambitious benchmark that the group has established for itself. However, M&D’s rapid growth over the years can also be attributed to its determination to challenge what is considered to be the norm in the construction industry. This has enabled the company to continuously provide unrivalled construction services to private and public-sector client bodies in the Southern African Development Community region.

The various interventions introduced by Drury have already yielded impressive results as is evidenced by the high productivity levels that the various divisions maintain on their worksites.

A key component of Drury’s strategy is to either overhaul or replace earthmoving equipment in the Plant Division’s fleet when they have reached 12 000 operating hours to ensure high plant reliability and availability. Over the past two years, M&D has been renewing machines in its fleet and “sweating assets” to ensure that the group derives the most value from them by the time that they are assessed for possible replacement.

In line with this policy, M&D recently acquired two new Volvo Construction Equipment articulated-dump trucks(ADTs) from Babcock Equipment.

M&D took delivery of the Volvo A30G ADTs in the beginning of April 2022. They will work alongside the two Caterpillar 725 and two new Caterpillar 730 ADTs in the Plant Division’s fleet.

Drury says that the Volvo A30G ADTs are very fuel efficient, which is the main reason the company decided to procure them. “They are among the most fuel-efficient ADTs currently available in the market. Operated by skilled M&D personnel, I believe that we will be able to conserve up to 3l of diesel an hour. This is a tremendous saving in diesel over the entire lifecycle of the machines, enabling significant efficiencies on our various contracts. Certainly, this also supports our long-term strategy to significantly reduce our carbon footprint,” he says.

M&D continues to only partner agents of premium equipment brands. Among these companies are Komatsu Southern Africa; Bobcat Equipment South Africa; Barloworld Equipment, which represents Caterpillar; and now Babcock Equipment. They provide tried-and-tested technology, backed by a strong technical aftersales service to minimise downtime on M&D’s many construction sites. Machines from these suppliers also have a good resale value when well maintained and serviced. However, Drury notes that the division is also always open to exploring and testing new technologies in the market to ensure that the group remains at the cutting-edge of industry practice. A case in point are the tests that the division is undertaking with another motor-grader brand that offers significant value for its price. There is potential to deploy the machine on less onerous projects that would otherwise be undertaken by the division’s Caterpillar units.

The division’s equipment is operated by a team consisting of more than 80 skilled and experienced M&D personnel. These operators undergo regular training to hone their skills and competencies, while also ensuring that they conduct their work in a healthy and safe manner. This has remained a key advantage for M&D especially on its many mining infrastructure projects. These are high-performance sites where the company’s teams must also abide by the client’s own stringent occupational health and safety standards.

The team is complemented by five skilled and experienced mechanics who work alongside the equipment suppliers’ technicians to keep machines in the Plant Division’s fleet operating in tip-top condition.

“Drury and his team continue to play a stellar role in ensuring that the group has access to the best equipment it needs to execute its work productively, efficiently, accurately and safely. Under his stewardship, the Plant Division is in a strategic position to provide even greater support to the group in helping us live our core values of ‘being safe’, ‘doing it right’, ‘finding the best way’ and ‘doing what we say’,” Rukesh Raghubir, Group CEO, concludes.