Before Graniterock deployed RFID, the company had three to five employees at each site manually processing each truck through the loading process. It took as long as 20 minutes for a truck to pick up its load and be entered into Graniterocks manual system. By automating the process, Graniterock has been able to save $300,000 a year in worker hours, said Snodgrass.
The efficiencies Graniterock customers have gained from the RFID system are equally impressive. The system lets Graniterock get 60 percent of trucks out of its quarries within 10 minutes and 100 percent of trucks out in 15 minutes or less, said Snodgrass. With trucks costing more than $1.25 per minute to operate, the savings potential is huge.
"In our industry, trucking costs are the highest, but its a variable cost that can be managed," Snodgrass said. "We are able to capture the time a truck came and left, so if a truck was delayed a certain amount of time due to a problem on our end, a customer can look at the data and ask for some sort of compensation. Every minute a truck spends in quarry costs a customer money."
And though Snodgrass said drivers were skeptical about the technology in the beginning and expressed concerns about privacy, he said those issues rarely come up any more.
"Some drivers asked whether the CHP [California Highway Patrol] could use the tags to track them, but we explained that wasnt possible," Snodgrass said. "Most drivers are OK with the technology now."
Graniterock continues to expand its use of Crystal Enterprise and Crystal Reports. Graniterock employees now use the portal features within Crystal Enterprise to access the more than 1,200 reports generated on everything from job costs to statistical product control graphs. Customers rely on the daily e-mail messages generated by Crystal Reports to get data on their trucking operations.
Snodgrass said hes working on an external portal that customers and partners will be able to access to pull up information on orders and run their own reports on particular deliveries. He expects to roll out the portal sometime next year.
"Our goal from an IT perspective is all about extending the information we have to our customers," Snodgrass said. "The relationships we have with our customers are a big part of Graniterock, and we believe in strengthening those ties. At this company, these types of initiatives are simply the right thing to do in order to provide good customer service."
Senior Writer Anne Chen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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