Pearl — Finding replacement parts for heavy equipment is not as easy as running down to the neighborhood auto parts store, but a Mississippi-based company is solving that problem.
HEAVYQUIP provides heavy equipment parts and service for all major brands of bulldozers, graders, excavators and other large earth-moving equipment. They are one of the largest independent retail parts and service companies for construction equipment in North America.
The company was started by the Crystal family as Jackson Tractor Parts in 1953 under the parent company Jackson Iron and Metal Company, which was started in 1937 by Meyer Crystal as a scrap metal trading company. They were one of the first importers of after-market undercarriages in North America. From that, they expanded to include parts for engines, transmissions and ground engaging mechanisms. The name was changed to HEAVYQUIP in 1984 to more accurately reflect the company’s range of business.
Clay Crystal, CEO of Jackson Iron and Metal and chairman of HEAVYQUIP’s board, said, “HEAVYQUIP is a very important part of the Jackson Iron and Metal group. HEAVYQUIP’s purpose is to save people money and to provide service. We’re growing, and I believe having knowledgeable people is the reason for that.”
He says what makes the company unique is that they provide service and parts for new, used and rebuilt equipment of all brands. They have no agenda of brands they want to sell.
“We provide a lot of sourcing in addition to our inventory,” he added “and buy a lot of things besides our inventory. We will buy parts for what customers need.”
On September 27, HEAVYQUIP had an inventory of 89,702 different parts that included items such as tips, adapters, blades, end bits, grader blades, snow plow blades, plow bolts and backhoe/excavator tooth. The inventory is valued at approximately $14 million. The main warehouse is in Pearl but there are other warehouses in eleven locations and 222 employees. Those locations include Atlanta, Memphis, Houston, Nashville, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Knoxville, Olathe, Kan., Dade City, Fla., Columbia, S.C., and Irving, Texas.
Sales people call on dirt moving and grading contractors, road builders and people in the forestry business — anyone with heavy equipment. President Rick Farquhar says HEAVYQUIP primarily focuses on undercarriage parts. That may include shoes, sprockets, track, rollers and idlers — the part that carries the machine much like an axle and wheels carry a car.
“Although there have been changes on undercarriages, it’s still heavy steel and technology doesn’t change that,” he said. “You don’t have to be a computer expert to understand how it works.”
Farquhar, who’s been with HEAVYQUIP 20 years, says the company does repair and installation but selling parts is the biggest phase of the business. “The biggest challenges are the changes from year to year in the importing of parts and the levels needed to maintain sales are always changing from day to day,” he said. “The lead time from the time we order until we get the parts is 150 to 180 days.”
They use state-of-the-art programming for real time inventory control and accounting. All branches and several dealers are included in a high speed, frame relay network with immediate quotation of price and availability of new, used and rebuilt parts. Quotes are also available by dial up and Internet via the company’s Web site.
Most imported parts are brought into Jackson through the Port of New Orleans and then redistributed to HEAVYQUIP’s branch warehouses and wholesale customers using weekly stock orders. Suppliers for parts are located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Spain, Korea, Austria, Brazil, Australia, Thailand, Japan, China and Argentina.
Farquhar said natural disasters such as the recent hurricanes in Florida normally increase HEAVYQUIP’s business. “We’re really busy now and doing a lot of business with rental companies who are supplying equipment for the areas damaged by hurricanes,” he said. “Every piece of equipment they have is being used and although some need repair, they won’t stop using them to do that.”
With full service shops capable of doing all types of heavy equipment repairs, Farquhar says getting mechanics is sometimes a problem but the company has some very loyal employees.
Contact MBJ contributing Lynn Lofton at firstname.lastname@example.org.