“Really what we’re trying to do here is bring the best quality product to the end user at the lowest possible cost,” AMS of the Southwest General Manager David Henderson said recently.
AMS of the Southwest is a company with an office in Spring Creek that provides hydraulics and fluid power solutions for mining companies, and Henderson said that being a smaller company in the industry has several advantages. Their overhead is low so they can keep their costs low, and they have the flexibility to do whatever needs to be done to serve their customers’ needs. And Henderson’s extensive knowledge of the industry is another key ingredient in the company’s ability to provide the best quality and service to their customers.
“We have more fluidity in what we can offer and what we can do for our clients,” said Lorinda Fallini, the majority owner of AMS of the Southwest. “Where they need something that maybe is a little bit out of the scope of what a larger vendor would be able to provide, we can oftentimes work with them and be a little more malleable in fitting what they need.
“Dave recently got a call from Round Mountain, a piece of equipment went down, not necessarily a piece of hydraulic equipment, but they really needed someone to come and look at it ... and that was on a Friday afternoon.”
Henderson was able to help.
“Customers are able to call Dave directly and say, ‘Hey I have this problem … is there any way you can help us out?’” Fallini said. “And sure enough, he finds the resources to help them get things taken care of.”
The story of the origin of AMS of the Southwest is an illustration of a small company evolving to meet customers’ needs.
A lot of people in the area are familiar with AMS — Alternative Maintenance Solutions — a mining and construction repair company. Fallini’s husband, Harlan Bellander, and Bellander’s brother started AMS in 2005.
“AMS continued to grow and evolve in the local industry,” Harlan Bellander said. “In 2016 my wife and I had an opportunity to spin off AMS into AMS of the Southwest, based in Arizona. We were doing a lot of business in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, and we thought, rather than dilute what we’re doing in Elko, we’ll establish a new company.
“And things are going well down there; we’re starting to see growth.”
Then another opportunity came up when Bellander was talking with Henderson.
“Dave and I have a relationship going back 30 years,” Bellander said. “He was interested in making a change, so we had him come to Nevada, and we looked at what we could do with Dave.”
Bellander said that his philosophy is that when a quality person becomes available, you get them on board.
“I’m a real team oriented guy,” Bellander said. “When you have a chance to bring in some people that are at the top of the food chain in their industries, you do it — you do it without question.
“I had lunch with a Canadian billionaire years ago, and the best advice this guy ever gave me was, ‘If you have an opportunity to hire somebody who’s quality, don’t wait for the fit — the fit will become apparent very quickly.’”
A parts business
Henderson’s expertise is in fluid power and hydraulic parts, so the decision was made to make AMS of the Southwest a product business here in Nevada that would be a good complement to the AMS service business.
Bellander said his focus remains on AMS and the service end of the business, while Henderson and Fallini focus on the parts and sales end of the business. He said that in the past couple of years AMS of the Southwest has seen growth and has made strategic alliances with several vendors.
Bellander said he knew that Amie Miles was a top quality local person, and after several calls he convinced her to join AMS of the Southwest as the sales manager.
Keeping things local and supporting the local community is very important to Bellander.
“Lorinda and I are native Nevadans — we’re kind of a minority anymore,” Bellander said. “I was raised three hours south of here in Ely, and Lorinda was raised on a ranch between Ely and Tonopah.
“It’s really important to us that we grow this business in Nevada utilizing as many Nevada resources as we can. This is home, and we want to support the home that we grew up in. We employ as many local people as we can. We apprentice and scholarship local kids, and do whatever we can to give them a chance to stick around. It’s really important to us, more than anything else, that we’re able to do that. Kind of give back to the state that gave to us.”
Top quality & low prices
Henderson talked about the ways in which AMS of the Southwest is able to provide the mines in this region with top quality products at the lowest prices.
“One of the main reasons why I came here,” Henderson said, “is that with the corporate structure today in the fluid power industry, there is such high overhead that the cost of doing business is expensive. With myself and Amie coming here and joining Lorinda at AMS of the Southwest, our overhead is low enough that we can pass that savings on to the end user.”
Henderson said that his more than 30 years in the industry have provided him with a lot of knowledge about which products are top quality, and have given him opportunities to build strategic alliances with companies that can work with AMS of the Southwest to bring top quality equipment to the mines.
“I think what’s interesting about the industry today is that every corporation is structured in a manner that they have to grow,” Henderson said. “If they aren’t growing, they’re dying. So consequently they branch off into areas that maybe aren’t their true focal point.”
“You see companies that do things really well, and then you see other products that they provide that just aren’t up to that true quality,” Henderson said. “So with our relationships and our knowledge of the industry, we are able to source out those vendors that do certain things really well, and bring those quality products together and offer those to our end users. So we are that one more step of quality control.”
One of the alliances that Henderson and Fallini are excited about is with Swanson Industries. Swanson is a leading provider of hydraulic cylinder manufacturing, remanufacturing and repair services for the mining industry. AMS of the Southwest works directly with Swanson to provide products and services to Nevada and Arizona.
“They started out mainly in the coal industry back east,” Fallini said. “As the dynamic is shifting from coal to metal and nonmetal mining in this area, they’re really redirecting a lot of their resources to be more of a major player in this area. They have a lot of new technologies. It’s going to be nice for the local area mines to be able to draw upon that resource as Swanson’s shop in Utah becomes more advanced and more productive.”
The processes used in Swanson’s shop include laser cladding and industrial chrome plating.
“We’re excited about being able to align ourselves with Swanson, because they are the top in what they do,” Bellander said.
RexRoth is another supplier that AMS of the Southwest is working with, Henderson said. RexRoth supplies hydraulic pumps, motors and valves to the original equipment manufacturer industry. AMS of the Southwest is a direct provider of some RexRoth replacement and remanufactured replacement products.
To provide better service to their customers, AMS of the Southwest now has over a million dollars’ worth of inventory at their Spring Creek location, and they plan to continue to build their inventory.
Bellander, Fallini, Henderson and Miles plan to continue to grow both AMS and AMS of the Southwest to expand the ways that the businesses can offer top quality service and products to the mining industry.
With the continual changes in the mining industry, including the big joint venture between Barrick and Newmont and all the other efforts to reduce costs to increase profitability and extend mine life, Henderson said AMS of the Southwest will continue to adapt and work with their customers to provide the best new and remanufactured equipment and components at the lowest costs.
“We offer options for providing the best solutions to get the most out of their equipment and reduce their overall operating costs,” Henderson said. “And that’s what we’re really excited about. As things tighten up, our company becomes even more valuable to the end user.”