McMurry Ready Mix is one of Wyoming’s largest aggregate and ready mix producers, and crushing operations with multiple locations throughout the state. It has one of the state’s biggest fleets of construction equipment and trucks on hand, ready to handle major private sector and governmental contracts.
The company has been a satisfied Kespry customer for more than four years. We spoke with Rob Jongsma, General Manager, about the benefits of using the Kespry drone-based aerial intelligence platform, and how it has streamlined McMurry Ready Mix’s inventory management, mine mapping, and auditing processes, helping make the company more efficient, productive and safer.
What problems did you adopt Kespry in order to solve?
Before using Kespry, we did a lot of manual, old school surveying, shooting things at eye level and measuring out piles. Then we started using Topcon GPS and walked our piles with it. We then shifted to using drone technology and are now at year four with Kespry. We were experiencing inaccuracies in production reports in terms of stuff coming off our crushers. We were also basing some measurements on belt scales and loader bucket counts. So, we needed a way to confirm our numbers and take out the potential for human error.
We needed Kespry because of its ability to help us control inventory and ensure it was accurate, so we could manage costs. We’re a pretty large aggregates company that crushes 1.2-1.5 million tons of materials a year. We sell approximately that much every year, too. So, it’s a million tons in and a million tons out. That’s a lot of assets to have on the books and it’s really important to keep those inventory numbers accurate for sales forecasts and management.
What made Kespry the right choice for McMurry?
Prior to using Kespry, the only thing we’d used was a fixed-wing drone, and it didn’t seem to handle the weather and the wind here in Wyoming. The Kespry drone did, really well. So, that was something good right there. The biggest reason though was that Kespry is a cloud-based system. I didn’t have to change my office software. Kespry is a plug-and-play package. You use the iPad and no additional software is needed. I didn’t have to dedicate a special computer or anything to it. Also, Kespry delivers results quickly. It gives us the ability to fly a pit in the morning and 4-5 hours later be able to actually analyze the details. With other systems, that takes 24-36 hours of turnaround time.
In 2019, we did around 270 flights with Kespry. We use it a lot. And the great thing is, whether we use it 30 or 300 times in a year, the cost to us doesn’t change. The value is really in taking advantage of the system and using it to its full ability.
How easy was it to get Kespry up and running?
It was simple. We had a representative come out on site and fly two of our pits in a demonstration. And when we agreed to take the package, we had a Kespry representative come out one more time, fly a pit with us, and basically got us signed off on the operation of it and everything. From there on, we took the reins. We currently have three different pilots including myself that fly it regularly. All of us across locations agree Kespry is just really simple to use.
What other applications do you use Kespry for?
We use Kespry for mine planning, mine mapping and annual reporting for pits and quarries. We can create real-time, accurate maps better than anything we’d get from Google Earth or other apps. We’re able to confirm and print out reports for topsoil piles and stripping, and for reclamation to guarantee we know the exact yardage in our piles.
What safety improvements have resulted from deploying Kespry?
With Kespry, I don’t have guys crawling around in the Wyoming winter—where it’s 10 below zero—on top of frozen aggregate piles to get measurements. The safety for my employees and the ability to get inventory done in shorter weather windows has been great. We used to put a limit on the number of times we’d walk piles because of weather conditions because they’d be frozen or slick. We don’t have to worry about that safety factor anymore with Kespry.
How has the Kespry Cloud helped McMurry?
It’s a great way of sharing information, not only across the company, but even with outside sources, whether it be environmental sources, accounting or customers. We can create a PDF directly from the cloud to verify quantities and area sizes. We don’t have to deal with spreadsheets or calculations any longer. They get hard data from the PDF which makes the appraisers or accountants much easier to deal with. There’s no additional explanation needed. There’s a picture of the piles and a calculation of the measurements. Kespry is a source of 100% absolute truth.
Tell us about your experience with Kespry’s customer service.
Customer service is great and very individualized. Kespry customer service representatives understand our company, our history, and how we use the product. I personally haven’t found anything better than working with Kespry to manage the volume of inventory we do. The convenience and accuracy really helps us. Kespry’s drone technology is where it’s at.