An interview with Joe Norman, Scale House Supervisor, Dunham Price Group
Dunham Price Group is a concrete and aggregates company in Louisiana and Texas focused on quality, reliability, and relationships with customers, community, and employees, making safety a priority. Joe Norman is the Scale House Supervisor at Dunham Price responsible for measuring and reporting inventory. Dunham Price started using Kespry for inventory management, and discovered immediate benefits in speed and accuracy in the first months using the Kespry system.
We talked with Joe about his experience with Kespry.
How has your work changed since you started using Kespry?
Joe: When I started at the company, about four years ago, we were doing inventory of our aggregate stockpiles pretty much by walking around them with a wheel, taking measurements, and estimating height. And to be frank, it was awful. It would take 3 to 4 hours to actually to get the data, at just one location, and then days to try to crunch through it and hope it was close to what we had on the books. We could never reconcile with our account manager in a timely fashion. It usually had to wait until the middle of every month. Inventory is faster now. With Kespry, it takes 30 minutes to fly the entire site, versus 3 to 4 hours walking.
It’s easier to share the results now. After walking the site, I had to input that data into an extremely messy Excel file that was extremely confusing to everybody else, but another thing that’s wonderful about Kespry is that the reports are so clean and neat in the Kespry Cloud that I can just email the report.
With Kespry, I can get inventory done in a day. That inventory would before have taken me three days, or a week, depending on my workload.
Have you seen improvement in your reporting accuracy with Kespry?
Joe: We’ve never been so accurate, ever. The last couple times I sat down with my accounts manager to report inventory, we’ve been so close it’s been freaky. We’ve got close to 79,000 tons of one product on the ground right now, and we’re within 800 tons. So there’s our one to two percent accuracy.
I’m really excited to get through the rest of the year and get to the year-end inventory, and just see where we’re at. I pray we don’t have to write anything off because we’re that close. That would be extremely exciting.
What other methods did you use to measure inventory before you had Kespry?
Joe: We had a third party coming in quarterly, and they were awful. Not only did they charge us a horrendous amount of money, but it was a team of three guys, it took them all day to do it, and we didn’t get the data back for another week. And that was only to come to one site. The problem with the data is that we don’t know how they got to the numbers. We don’t know how they got to their conclusions per pile. But with the Kespry system, it’s me doing it. I can back those numbers up, and we have it any time we need it. I can do an inventory weekly, instead of monthly or quarterly, if need be.
Why did you choose Kespry?
Joe: We were trying to replace the company coming in to measure inventory quarterly, and we wanted to get we get our own drone, but we needed a neutral, unbiased third party in case we’re ever audited so it doesn’t look like we’ve adjusted numbers. We started looking into Kespry, and found that the system is audit safe. And that was pretty much the determining factor. Kespry came out to shoot our year-end inventory in December, and that was it. We signed the papers that day.
How does Kespry benefit your business?
Joe: We use Kespry to keep better track of material. We get better numbers, so we’re not writing off something at the end of the year. We can backtrack now to see what happened. Did we label something incorrectly? Did somebody use a material in a concrete mix that they weren’t supposed to? We can track material more accurately.
Beyond inventory management, have you used Kespry for any other projects?
Joe: Seriously, any application that we can think of, we’re trying to apply Kespry because it’s going to save us time and money. Kespry allows us to get current topographic photos of every site, and it’s helped us decide where to put large shipments of material. Do we have enough room to put it on the waterfront on the bank, or do we need to run it off the conveyor belt?
I flew a survey yesterday because one of our maintenance guys is looking into drainage on the yard, and he needs to see what areas are higher than the others. I can set up contours on a current photo and just tell him it’s higher on this side or lower on that side. It’s pretty awesome.
When we first started sitting down it was like, “Wow. This is a lot of money.” But when we started really looking at numbers, and comparing how much the other guys were charging us just to come every few months. It was like, “This is a no brainer. Let’s do this.”
How has Kespry made your job safer?
Joe: We get those stockpiles upward to 45, 50 foot tall. And it’s not safe walking around them. That was a big component in getting the drone system because if the side of the rock breaks free and just cascades down over top of you, you’re done. It would be horrible.
It’s incredible. How stable a pile is depends on what product it is. We’ve got piles of a very large riprap stone where the smallest piece is about the size of a basketball. It’s notoriously famous for shifting and big parts of it just roll down the side of the pile. Now I don’t have to walk around that anymore and worry about breaking an ankle, or having a big rock fall on me, or getting snake bit. Now I can literally deploy the drone and stay safe off the tailgate of my pickup truck.
Thank you for sharing your experience, Joe! What advice would you share with another new user?
Joe: Don’t be afraid to call tech support. Because those guys actually answer the phone. I’ve had to call a couple times for just minuscule things that were so simple. But it rang twice, somebody picked the phone up. And they knew exactly who I was and what I was talking about. It’s such good customer service.
The cloud is just awesome. It’s extremely simple to use. The system’s been indispensable.
Learn more about using Kespry for efficient, accurate and safe inventory management.