Visionary partnership boosts quarry uptime
Colas Group subsidiary benefits from access to Volvo Construction Equipment’s site-assessment programme
HAVING gone through several tough years the US aggregates industry is now recovering. Yet one limestone quarry not only survived the hard times, but thrived – by focusing on the future in a site-planning partnership with Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE).
Delta Companies Inc. (Delta) are site development and highway contractors specializing in asphalt paving and road construction materials, including aggregates. They operate five quarries and a sand and gravel pit. One of their quarries is located in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, near the Mississippi river.
Delta SEMO Quarry, in south-east Missouri, has been a leading supplier of limestone to the local construction industry for more than 40 years. SEMO typically produces between 700,000 and 1 million tons a year from a 200-acre site with an open pit that is now more than 400ft deep.
Understanding their business in detail, Delta have a strategic plan for the future but were not satisfied with this alone. As a subsidiary of the Colas Group, Delta are able to leverage benefits from the special relationship Colas have with Volvo CE as one of the Swedish firm’s global key account customers.
One of these benefits is access to Volvo CE’s site-assessment programme, provided by the equipment manufacturer’s global key accounts management team.
In this programme, the key accounts solutions team dispatches specialists to review all aspects of a site operation. The team provides a deep analysis of current and future business, enhances best practices and uncovers potential areas of improvement. It is an extended dialogue that concludes with a prioritized list of recommendations that the customer can factor in to their immediate and strategic plans.
Delta worked closely with Volvo CE to explore how to reduce costs and make their SEMO quarry operation even more efficient. Taking a closer look at the customer’s machine fleet was just one aspect in the complimentary site-assessment programme. Drilling, blasting, crushing and stockpiling were also included and considered during the team’s one-week site visit. The team also looked at safety practices, site layout, business planning, reserves planning, environmental aspects and maintenance practice.
While the SEMO operation was running well, little tweaks were suggested to provide the site with a further boost. The assessment team – led by David Nus, director of global key accounts at Volvo CE, and Craig Griffiths, manager of customer solutions at Volvo CE – focused on an overburden project already under way and suggested ways to develop and maintain work benches and haul roads in an efficient and safe way.
Other suggestions included aspects of maintenance and fleet management for the mobile fleet, as well as tips for operating a new Volvo EC750E excavator recently delivered to SEMO. This work complemented the day-to-day support provided by local Volvo CE dealers Rudd Equipment Co.
‘Our main role at Volvo CE is to sell mobile equipment, but that’s not our only role,’ said Mr Nus. ‘In these site assessments, we want to be able to add value to our clients’ operations, highlight what’s important and advise organizations how to think strategically for the future. If Volvo CE can contribute in any way to a customer’s success, we become more than just a supplier, we are a true business partner.’
According to Volvo CE, the findings from site assessments vary from client to client. Some clients require more input in the day-to-day operations on site, whilst others are looking for ways to maximize future profitability, but by taking the time to understand the dynamics of a business, Volvo CE say they are not only able to help their customers improve their operations, but also improve the way they design and plan their own machines and services to maximize uptime.
To date, Volvo CE’s site-assessment programme with Colas has run for more than three years and covered sites in four subsidiaries across two continents.
‘Our collaboration with Colas is proving to be an overwhelming success,’ said Craig Griffiths. ‘They are a world leader in their industry so have little need for help in how to run their business. Where we do add value is by suggesting small changes to their current operations that will pay dividends for the future.’