Asphalt Contractor February 2019

Page 30

PRODUCTION NOTES |

BY JESSICA LOMBARDO, EDITOR

How to Streamline

ASPHALT PLANT OPERATIONS

PlantDemand software significantly improves material management and order scheduling, saving time and money

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sphalt plant employees know there are a lot of moving pieces that need to work seamlessly together in order to get the right materials out to the right customers at the right time. Historically, each moving piece is coordinated by several different plant team members who all need to be in constant contact with each other several times per day in order to make it all work. Daniel Mekis thought there had to be a better way. “When I was a plant engineer for Granite Construction I would have to call all of the sales people and plant

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operators and compile their information on what mix was going out on any given day/week/month,” Mekis says. “With that info, I would update mix design information from the QC team and run calculations to come up with the rock, asphalt oil and additives needed for each location. Then I would share that with the quarries that supplied the aggregates and the oil refineries to make sure everyone knew what was in the pipeline.” This process took a minimum of three hours each time and during the busy season would need to be done every few days making it a very time consuming and inefficient process. Using his knowledge of the business and led by a developer named Dennis Schaaf, Shaaf and his team began the journey of creating created PlantDemand, an online tool that helps assist with the scheduling of plant sales, the tracking of orders and the forecasting of material needs…all in one place.

PlantDemand allows plant owners to give their suppliers a longer look-ahead. This means quarries, aggregate plants, refineries and additive manufacturers can warn of a potential material runout, or adjust their production modes as needed to balance their inventories and cash flow, resulting in far less downtime.

IMPROVEMENTS FROM THE TOP DOWN On average, an order at the plant is updated six times before it actually ships. In the past, this would require many phone calls, e-mails and text messages to update everyone involved and communicate the changes to their separate notebooks or calendars. With the old method, scheduling issues were also difficult to spot, so when a plant was overbooked, or a few customers wanted to take several different mixes, some could be turned away with very little notice.

ASPHALT CONTRACTOR FEBRUARY 2019 www.ForConstructionPros.com/Asphalt

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