Lemke adds, “Productivity by the dozer operator is the very first savings. With that, you save fuel. You also save undercarriage wear. You are not backing up the crawler dozer as much. In addition, you save crew time. We haven’t formally put a pencil to it, but we can see the savings.
Lemke firmly believes automated grade control is the future. “If you don’t get into these GPS systems, you are going to get left in the dust by the competition,” he states. “Financially, it is a big step, but there is a savings to it.”
Small size and technology mix
H&H Enterprises of Steamboat Springs, CO, is a site prep contractor with a handful of employees that has embraced technology to expand its capabilities.
Greg Haight, president, says the company has remained small by design. “I’ve placed an emphasis on achieving quality results, which I believe I can better control by remaining small,” he explains. “With so few of us on the payroll, we all have to be flexible and be good at a lot of tasks. All of us are equipment operators and each can run multiple pieces depending upon what is needed on a project.”
The philosophy is to get the most from existing resources. “From my business perspective, adopting productivity enhancing technology makes sense,” says Haight. “I’ve always looked for ways to save time and improve results.”
Haight works closely with his local Trimble dealer, Wagner Equipment. “As a smaller company, we have always tried to get machines and attachments that would cut down labor and increase productivity, while giving our customer a better product,” he comments. “We had grown from a transit to a laser, then from a single slope laser to a dual slope laser. So when the right project came along, it was the right time to adopt Trimble 3D machine control. We knew it would benefit our customer and it would benefit us.”
The investment has produced results. “The Trimble technology elevated our company to a higher level. We can confidently bid and win bigger and more complicated projects than we ever could,” says Haight. “I remember when we were first looking at it and I was reading about 30% increases in productivity. I was thinking there’s probably X amount of hype and we may not do that well. But we did.”
The benefits are not just in the final grading or being able to grade without stakes. “It’s the whole phase of being able to take that controller out, visualize what you have, get in the machine and be able to drive the project and see where you have cuts and fills,” says Haight. “It is pretty phenomenal for an excavating company to have that technology.”
Haight utilizes the ability to move his Trimble GCS900 systems from machine to machine, including any rental pieces he needs to further economize his investment.
“In 10 years, if you don’t have 3D GPS machine control technology, you’re not going to be in business,” says Haight. “I don’t care how big you are or how established you are. You’re not going to be competitive without this technology.”