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Equipment That Gives You a Competitive Advantage

August 29, 2022
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Experts Corner

Many who choose careers in the earth-moving sector have a passion for heavy equipment that began when they were kids playing in the sandbox. “Playing with trucks and equipment is something I’ve always been passionate about,” says Dwayne Flett, owner of Dig It Contracting Ltd. of Kelowna, B.C., and a long-time SMS Equipment customer. 

Today, Dwayne relies on his equipment to improve operational efficiency, win more bids, and position for potential market slowdowns. In this edition of Experts’ Corner, we share insights from Dwayne and SMS Equipment Sales Representative Steve Ten Veen on how state-of-the-art equipment helps contractors establish a competitive advantage. 

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With smarter equipment, you know what you’re getting into

With smarter equipment, you know what you’re getting into

Recent technology, including    Komatsu’s Intelligent Machine Control (iMC), enables a machine to know where potential obstacles and hazards are located in advance, resulting in fewer surprises and safer operations.
Dwayne: “You can put gas lines or overhead power lines right into the computer so that if the operator gets too close to any of those potential hazards, alarms will go off. Safety is the number one aspect in the field, so real-time access to this information is crucial.”
Steve: “Operators on these machines can use the GPS to locate all the catch basins, including all the pipes and underground components. They can also be more accurate in their grading instead of always going back and checking grade every time.”

GPS-enabled technology eliminates the headaches and costs of dealing with grade stakes

The technology eliminates the additional iterations of setting up grading stakes and ensuring they are in place. All of these advantages help make timing more predictable and eliminate surveying costs.
Dwayne: We don’t even use stakes anymore – that’s a thing of the past. So, we don’t need a layout and don’t have to wait for a surveyor to come in. That’s huge. It means we’ve got the proper setup from the get-go and are ready to roll from start to finish. The technology also helps us with schedules because our operators never wait for stakes.”
Steve: When contractors don’t need stakes, they can get started immediately without a person on the ground -  as soon as the machines are on site. Another plus is not having to worry about the stakes getting knocked over by a truck and having to repeat the whole process. 
Smarter equipment saves time and improves efficiency

Smarter equipment saves time and improves efficiency

Having a machine programmed to run to plan means a smaller margin of error and better utilization of operators, machine time, and fill materials.

Steve: There’s less over-excavation with the technology, which means lower material costs, reduced labour, and less risk of going off schedule. A combination of these factors can increase production to get a job done faster and provide the opportunity to move on to another job. For example, a contractor who in the past took on ten jobs a year might increase that to twelve because they’re more efficient. 
Dwayne: Technology helps us be a leader in the industry. It helps us be more efficient with our jobs, and it helps us complete jobs on time.
Better control allows contractors to take on precision work
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Better control allows contractors to take on precision work

When margins of error are small, smart equipment allows contractors to commit to tighter tolerances. 
Dwayne: For a lot of our work, being able to cut on grade all the time while knowing where you are is instrumental. We do a lot of work in orchards, and this helps a lot with that. We put a model into it, and the equipment continues to as-build the design.

Watch How Digit Uses iMC Technology
Newer equipment improves job quality and enables new operators get up to speed faster
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Newer equipment improves job quality and enables new operators get up to speed faster

Steve: You can take a greener operator that doesn’t have 20 or 30 years of experience, and they’re going to be more productive than they’d be with a traditional machine. Also, the operators love these machines. If they need to know something about the job site design or progress, they don’t have to check with anybody – it’s all right there on the monitor, which tells them what they need to know to be more productive. 

The Bottom Line
Smarter grading equipment is about a lot more than operating nice machines. Advanced control systems such as Komatsu’s iMC deliver predictable performance that allows operators to get work done correctly the first time, improving a contractor’s on-time performance, efficiency, and ability to take on more challenging work on tighter timelines. 
SMS Equipment provides comprehensive technical support, including one-on-one training and all-inclusive warranty support for the first two thousand hours of operation.

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