Some days running a business can feel like you’re treading water just to stay afloat. But on good days business leaders will have just enough bandwidth to manage their current day while planning for tomorrow. On days like this Walker Construction’s Scales/Truck Supervising Manager, Kevin Howard, is happy that his company has the telematic tools to prepare themselves to excel in tomorrow’s business climate.
Punching Their (e-)ticket to Success
Headquartered in Mount Sterling, Ky., Walker Construction operates two rock quarries and two blacktop plants. With 20 dump trucks and two pavers, the Walker Construction team performs paving projects across Menifee, Mt. Sterling, Clark, Bourbon, and Montgomery counties.
“We do a few driveways and the occasional parking lot job, but most of the work we do is state and county work,” said Howard of the workload.
When dealing with the Department of Transportation (DOT), Howard’s found that partnering with Earthwave’s telematics saves Walker Construction time and operating headaches.
“Most of the state guys want a ticket summary every evening. Say you haul 50 loads to a state job – we just take that job number and then send our contact that day’s tickets via email in one PDF… It just saves everybody some trouble.”
E-ticketing also means no more keeping track of paper tickets for all parties.
“Our state contacts used to come to us all the time and ask for a specific ticket, sometimes weeks after the job. Now we can just go back to that date and send them over again. It’s a huge timesaver.”
While not all DOT jobs in Kentucky currently require e-ticketing, Howard sees a future where that could be a possibility. “There’s not a lot of jobs that require e-ticketing yet. From what I understand, the DOT jobs are probably going to require it more and more as time goes on,” Howard explained. When that eventual future comes, Walker Construction will be prepared for an easy transition.
Tracking More Than Tickets
Walker Construction’s digital paper trail goes beyond just ticketing. The two pavers in their fleet, as well as their 14 company owned dump trucks, use FleetWatcher’s GPS capabilities to help increase their efficiency across multiple fronts. The company trucks, plus their six third-party trucks, haul blacktop, asphalt, and aggregate. While they’re working, FleetWatcher allows Walker Construction employees to see in real-time where the trucks are and if there are any opportunities to move assets to other jobs.
“If it looks like trucks are bunching up at one place or the other, we may pull the truck off and send it somewhere else…If you have more than a couple trucks starting to do that, then you’ll take a look at it and see if you need to maybe send them somewhere else or if you need more trucks,” Howard said.
Eliminating trucks waiting at the paver or at the plant, by sending those trucks to another project, allows contractors to lay more asphalt with fewer trucks.
Beyond truck location, Howard and his coworkers can also track their materials management from their plants. “If it’s a decent-sized job, we’ll set it up as a shift in FleetWatcher, which shows you all the trucks that are in rotation to and from the plant. This also shows you the tonnage moved and target tonnage,” said Howard. This allows the team at Walker Construction to see at a glance how many materials went to what job and whether they are on track or not to finish in time.
GPS tracking also helps Walker Construction manage DOT jobs after the project wraps up. If a specific job has a trouble spot, Howard and his team can reverse engineer where the pavement came from and identify where other trouble spots may appear.
“You have a GPS marker where a load was actually put on the road from a paver. …If there’s a bad spot on the road, they’ll know what batch that spot came from. It also has the temperature attached to it when it was put on the truck,” Howard said of his telematics tracking capabilities.
This breadth and depth of analytics makes Walker Construction easy to work with, and be a valued partner to the DOT in quickly addressing and solving problems if they arise.
This same GPS technology also logistically helps Walker Construction manage their materials management. Howard has a GPS marker on a third-party truck that exclusively hauls out of Menifee’s quarry.
“It helps the scale house personnel see how long it’s going to be before the truck gets back…Just gives everyone a better timeframe.”
This also works the other way around too however as presumably it eliminates drivers from showing up and waiting for someone to accept the load - and increases sales because they can get more cycles in per shift. Relaying accurate information to the customer is always a good thing regardless!
How it Works
Earthwave Technologies FleetWatcher software helps customers better utilize their paving and construction equipment fleet through real-time tracking and status information. FleetWatcher's materials management solution was developed specifically for asphalt contractors to provide timely and accurate information on key performance indicators like Tons per Hour by crew or by truck, Feet per Minute, Cycle Time, Trucking Cost per Ton (TCpT), and more. This information empowers companies to make informed and data driven decisions to effectively manage their equipment and employees.
Easy to install hardware connects all equipment to an online platform that’s accessible via a desktop or mobile app. The Executive Scoreboard functionality features color coding which shows at-a-glance what metrics need corrective action, as KPIs are automatically measured against estimated benchmarks. Metrics shaded in green are meeting their targets, yellow shading indicates those to monitor, and red shading shows underperformance. Total tons loaded is automatically compared to shift times to show users if they are ahead of schedule or behind with both a bar chart showing progress and a numerical indicator of percentage. Metrics can be graphed to quickly show performance over time. Users can select the KPIs to display and change them as desired.
This instant visibility into performance allows managers to add trucks, re-route them to different plants, improve cycle times, and more to streamline productivity and profitability. Accurate information and analysis can also be used to bid future projects and win more business.
Additionally, customized data reports with hundreds of filtering options can be set up to be automatically delivered at frequent intervals throughout the day to give owners and operators fleet information at their fingertips. Customized GPS technology lets users always know where equipment is located, with location reports available online and downloadable. Fleetwatcher also allows companies to track multiple data points including cycle times, productivity and down times, equipment utilization, project status, budgets, shop costs, trends, and behaviors. Together this fleet level data enables paving contractors to have better asset management through greater productivity and efficiency.
Armed with data, Kevin Howard and the Walker Construction team are saving time and resources operating today while continually preparing their business for what’s next.