As Business Development Manager of National Group’s NSW division, Len Pipiciello is closely involved with National Group’s new contract at Newcrest Mining’s Cadia mine.
When Len Pipiciello first joined National Group in 2009, the company had a small head office in Thornton in NSW and an equipment yard in nearby Beresfield. Just over two decades later, National Group has offices across Australia, hundreds of staff and a large, growing fleet.
Pipiciello has watched National Group go from strength to strength since he rejoined the company in 2014 (he first worked there in 2009). The business has strong momentum in NSW, having won several recent contracts there, including a surface-mining contract at Newcrest’s Cadia mine.
An automotive mechanic by trade, Pipiciello has more than 28 years of experience in heavy earthmoving equipment. When he’s not helping National Group clients in NSW or building new client relationships, Pipiciello can be found surfing the breakers at Avoca Beach on the NSW Central Coast, where he lives.
Len, what is National Group doing in the gold sector in NSW?
The gold sector is a real focus for us in NSW. National Group is doing more work with gold companies in Central Western NSW and it’s an area we want to expand in. The gold price is favourable right now and there’s a lot of gold-mining activity in NSW.
National Group equipment is used at Evolution Mining’s Lake Cowal project (a world-class, open-pit gold operation). This year, National Group began supplying equipment to Newcrest’s Cadia mine. That was the largest contract so far for National Group in NSW.
Why are more companies choosing National Group as their equipment supplier?
It’s because we have a long-term approach. Our recent contracts have been the result of years of hard work, persistence and patience. Large mining companies know National Group has been around a long time, has a good record and is a worthy company to deal with.
As to our company’s traits, responsiveness and flexibility are the big ones. I report directly to Mark (Ackroyd). If a NSW client ever needs a new or extra piece of equipment at short notice, I call Mark and we find a sales solution quickly. There’s no middle management or bureaucracy. This responsiveness is so important when a client needs a new piece of equipment on site and can’t wait days for an answer. That’s the advantage of being a privately owned, founder-run company.
How important is price in heavy earthmoving contracts?
Obviously, you need to be competitive on price. But what we find is customers are more interested in value than price. That is, they are willing to pay a little more to get the best equipment that is very well maintained. Our clients know they will make back that extra contract cost many times over through less production downtime from machine breakdowns.
Over the years, we’ve seen some competitors win contracts because they quoted the rock-bottom price. Three months later, there were problems with the equipment supply and support, and the mining project never got off the ground. National Group will never be the cheapest supplier in our market; our goal is to offer the best long-term value for clients.
You’ve been at National Group a long time. What’s the feeling like in the company now?
There’s a heap of momentum and energy in the company. The new Cadia contract, in particular, will mean a lot of new people being hired and equipment sourced. It’s really rewarding to see the growth of National Group today compared to when I first joined in 2009.
We’re getting more enquiries from mining companies about our equipment, and we think this year could be quite strong with a lot of catch-up activity in the mining sector after Covid.
- To contact Len about your company’s equipment needs, email him via [email protected] or call him on 0437 100 200.