October 24, 2017
GRUPO PEDREGAL is a family-owned construction company in Costa Rica. Their aggregates division offers products such as sand, ballast, base stone, quarry stone, limestone stone, stone powder and aggregates. They have eleven production facilities distributed strategically throughout Costa Rica, so they can provide materials to customers at any location quickly. They constantly invest in the latest equipment technology and process their materials in a way that minimizes environmental impact, achieving high productivity and high quality aggregates.
Problem: Prior to Stockpile Reports, GRUPO PEDREGAL had survey teams that would have to travel to each of the 11 locations to take stockpile measurements of more than 200 stockpiles. It could take several months to get to all the sites, and the accuracy was often poor, resulting in adjustments, sometimes more than 15% when presenting their inventory for audit purposes. When their own survey teams were too busy, they would have to hire third parties, adding to the expense. These imprecise methods often resulted in producing more material than was needed and then being overstocked on many sites.
Solution: GRUPO PEDREGAL discovered Stockpile Reports at the Conexpo-Con/Agg tradeshow, and immediately knew they had found a solution. Stockpile Reports was the answer to their stockpile inventory management challenges.
Rafael Angel Zamora, Director of Operations, said: “We saw the presentation and we knew it was exactly what we needed. We even did a side by side test with another solution, but Stockpile Reports was the winner. We got the data we needed much quicker.”
Like many other large operations, GRUPO PEDREGAL has unique challenges, and a one-size-fits-all solution is not for them.
“Hauling material to the clients in Costa Rica is much more complicated than in the USA. Our roads are not designed for heavy transports – they are narrow, steep, etc. It’s hard to get the trucks around,” says Zamora. “That’s why you need more sites. To be competitive on our market, you need to have a site very close to the areas of development or to big project requirements. That’s why we have 11 sites around the country.”
Those same transportation challenges were what made getting teams to travel to all the different sites time consuming and expensive. Also, the sites were not identical – some had high walls or unusual configurations that made traditional measuring techniques worthless. After the cumbersome measuring, there was still the CAD work, the modeling and the backend analysis required to generate volume data.
Today, GRUPO PEDREGAL measures all of their stockpiles approximately every 10 days. They use a drone to measure 95% of the piles, and for small or daily tracking of stockpiles, they use the iPhone app to measure from the ground. Also, if inventory becomes suddenly low, a site manager can use the app to do an immediate measurement. Reports are generated near instantly, and provide more data than they ever had before.
“Since we know how much we have, we can plan production much more precisely. We can give our sales department accurate data and we know exactly how much we need to produce, and we don’t overstock. Our foremen only produce exactly what we need, eliminating overstocks and maximizing our workers’ time. They don’t have to work extra hours to produce material that is just going to sit on the ground.”
Their accounting is now greatly simplified as well. They report to the board every three months and know exactly what they have on the ground, without any adjustments, and without having to explain to government auditors why previous estimates were incorrect.
While accurate volumes are the most important feature of the reports generated by Stockpile Reports, they offer additional value. The easy-to-read but detailed reports with photos are visible to everyone who has access in the company. The rendering of the piles can give insights to employees or executives who are not located at the sites.
Rafael Zamora is particularly impressed with the reports: “The reports are one of the main things that we are really happy about. They give us data we never had before. It’s easy to read for all our people, including our sales people. Sometimes we had issues between departments – sales and production, and the customer would be in the middle. Now they are all on the same page. Everyone has access to this and can see clear visibility into it. They can be understood by people who don’t understand quarries or stockpile inventory issues.”
Verified Reports also tell site managers and others that piles are in good shape or if there is an issue that requires manually checking the pile. Supervisors can look at the rendering of the pile and see if it needs attention, or if there is debris or construction equipment around the pile. Zamora says, “I can see details around the site. I can tell the site managers, ‘Go to the north part of pile, there are some things to be taken care of.’ It is easier to pinpoint issues in a yard. We can manage safety issues and make sure the pile is clean.” This is an added benefit to having state of the art volume measurement.
With Stockpile Reports, GRUPO PEDREGAL has more precise inventory volumes, their production lines are producing exactly what they need at lower costs. Their entire organization has greater visibility into production and inventory needs, with frequent accurate measurements. This results in greater profitability for them.
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