Account Manager Desmond Wilson is well known in the oil sands for his slurry pump expertise. With his rare passion for slurry transport, Mr. Wilson is a gold mine of experience, knowledge, and added value for KSB customers.
Slurry transport is a pretty specialized field of knowledge. How did you become an expert?
Before I became an account manager — in 2019 for GIW — I was a mechanical planner for a major Canadian oil sands company for ten years. I also worked as a millwright supervisor and millwright for 20 years. So, I’ve been where my customers are, and I’m passionate about making their jobs easier and more efficient.
On the sales side of the operation, I understand what the planners and reliability engineers need from their slurry pump company. I know what it’s like to negotiate with internal and external stakeholders, run initiation and progress meetings, identify lead times, forecast material delays, and implement contingency plans to streamline operations and expedite project timelines.
It sounds like you always know what’s going on; what does a typical day look like for you?
I am a dedicated on-site account manager. That means I’m on-site — more than I’m in my office — helping customers troubleshoot operations, processes, and mechanical issues. I help my teams update their procedures, inventory and replace parts, analyze wear patterns, and supervise preventive maintenance.
My expertise helps solve the day-to-day problems my customers experience, but I also have a great relationship with our service team. I call them in when the task requires more personnel. One of the best things about the KSB Group is that our service teams are local to most of the major mining plants. We don’t have to fly in a technical expert to fix big problems; we can have them on-site within a day.
That’s convenient. So, when you get to a mining site, what do you do? What’s your order of operations?
I visit different areas and network with different teams. I help standardize and streamline maintenance procedures by gathering data from our manuals and company experts to update my customers’ maintenance documentation. If they need help troubleshooting a pump, I can do that. If they want me to look at a pump, I can do that. I like to hang out with the maintenance crews on a regular basis. My job is to be available to them in case any problem arises.
Another service I offer as an account manager is to create an inventory of parts before planned maintenance. I liaise between the customers’ reliability engineers and our order management team to ensure they have the right parts for planned shutdowns. We offer an audit of their pumps’ preventive maintenance (PM) strategy for the entire year to ensure they don’t run into any surprises or longer shutdowns.
When I know the PM schedule ahead of time, I can help planners correct errors in maintenance work orders, part needs, and weights. This service makes a huge difference in mine sustainability and cost savings.
And sustainability is a significant issue for mining companies — for everyone — right now. As an account manager, how do you help your customers with sustainability?
First of all, being sustainable in mining is about using your resources more efficiently. It means not throwing away parts before they get their full wear life. The account manager can help them find insights into how to be more energy efficient.
For example, showing customers the importance of nose gap adjustments helps them save money on parts they can continue to use. Sometimes the slurry density changes, and the pump doesn’t wear as quickly. They can save on reusing casings, impellers, and liners. I help them focus on condition-based monitoring versus time-based monitoring.
One time, we were walking the field with a maintenance team, and I realized that several of the pumps were unstable — missing shims — so I got them to shim the pumps. It’s a simple fix, but in the end, it will help them save money on worn parts and lower energy consumption because the pump runs more effectively.
It sounds like KSB’s account management philosophy involves a lot of hands-on work. How does that compare with other pump and equipment companies? Do you know?
My customers tell me that other vendors come by, ask if they need anything, and wave as they’re walking away. One customer said, “I never get to sit down with someone like I do with you.” That’s why I do this. I like seeing my customers happy with our products and services.
Where we excel is that personal, one-on-one service, that relationship that we build. By taking the time to help my customers stay on top of maintenance procedures, I can mitigate unnecessary service calls.
What are your hands-down, no-question-about-it, favorite things about being an account manager?
My favorite part of being an account manager is saving customers money and downtime. I also love to build trust and respect as I grow with my customers.
Desmond Wilson is part of our All-Star Account Management team at KSB. With his knowledge, attention to detail, and commitment to excellent service, Mr. Wilson saves our customers time and money. And as you can tell, his skill and experience help our mining partners do their best work.