July 4, 2019
With over 30 companies measuring in over 1,000 locations over the past 12 months, we have watched Texas become a hotbed of innovation in the aggregates, ready-mix, asphalt, cement, agricultural, constructions, and transportation industries. Basically, if it requires producing, moving, and using bulk materials, Texas is leading in it.
In this article, we will explain the mounting pressures that have propelled Texas into becoming an industry leader based on what we have been hearing from our clients. Our data also backs up these claims in a big way. The only question you will have is: “do you want to jump on the innovation tidal wave?”
Texas is a state on the move. According to many population studies, Texas is predicted to be the second fastest growing state in the Union by proportion of the population and the #1 state in growth based on absolute population. Predictions also place Austin, TX as the third fastest growing city in the United States through 2035. This means more homes, office buildings, retail centers, factories, etc. More vehicles on the roads also mean a greater need for highway building and maintaining.
One common thread through all this growth is that it will require crushed rock, cement, asphalt, and concrete. These are the bedrock ingredients for construction. The whole industry is growing to meet the need for bulk materials. However, setting up a new quarry operation, building a new asphalt plant, or growing a road maintenance fleet doesn’t happen overnight and requires a large amount of capital investment.
In order to meet the demand of the growing state, the industry is leaning in on technological innovation. Our data over the past year has proved this in a big way. Not one single portion of the industry is innovating, they are all moving toward digitization. In the state of Texas alone, we have clients in many different aspects of material production and consumption measuring stockpiles using iPhones, Drones, and traditional aircraft. Types of companies include:
In no other state have we seen such a large shift in innovation over the past 5 years. Texas Department of Transportation has led the way in statewide transportation innovation. With over 79,000 miles of roadway, TxDOT has more highway miles than any other DOT in the United States. They are well positioned to leverage technological innovation. 4 years ago TXDOT started tracking the flow of maintenance materials using Stockpile Report’s iPhone measurement technology. In a year-long study, they concluded they saved $2.1 million and 20 FTE’s in time by streamlining the stockpile inventory measurement process. These savings were passed on to road building and maintenance projects.
Another bulk material vertical making a large innovation leap has been the asphalt industry. Four different asphalt operations in Texas using Stockpile Reports are able to measure inventory at 60+ locations in a single day using full-service aerials. No employees had to stop their workday to measure stockpiles. Our network of drone pilots flew every site and we measured every stockpile all on the same day. Ultimately, this means these companies can spend less time on measuring and more time on make product.
In another vertical, 6 of the top 10 largest crushed aggregates producers in the United States are using Stockpile Reports in the state of Texas. These companies are measuring hundreds of thousands of tons of material using off-the-shelf consumer drones. The reduction in time to measure their inventory as compared to traditional GPS methods has freed up resources to use those same drones for mine planning, site inspection, and other high-value activities. Surveyors and engineers are freed up to spend more time planning construction, mine planning, project planning etc.
Technological advancements have revolutionized many different industries over the past several decades. However, construction and mining have historically been the last industries to benefit from innovations. The tech industry is taking notice of the opportunity to innovate in a space that has been traditionally passed up. With advancements in drones, measurement devices, cameras and wireless technology coupled with emerging AI, photogrammetry methods, machine learning, and cloud computing, the construction and mining industry is poised for a giant digital transformation.
As proud members of TACA, we are hearing about innovative new projects the industry is embarking on such as real-time telematics in materials hauling which will reduce transportation time. Also, the lowering cost of drones and lidar based technology means traditional based GPS surveying methods are being quickly replaced with more efficient measurement methods.
Stockpile Reports is also forging ahead by interconnecting producers and consumer of aggregates and ready-mix with our groundbreaking Logistics solution. Aggregates and ready mix producers will be interconnected with asphalt pavers and construction companies. Materials will seamlessly be in the right place at the right time without groups of people having to waste time coordinating and guessing production flow.
The industry today in Texas is being transformed. If you are running a company in Texas, the only question you should be asking is: how fast can I get on the innovation train.
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