The Shelly Company is Ohio’s leading limestone, concrete and asphalt paving firm with more than 90 locations and 1,600 employees. It services 81 of 88 counties in the state and is the state’s largest supplier of asphalt materials, sand, gravel, and ready mix concrete.
We spoke with Chris Pike, Performance Manager, about how The Shelly Company is using the Kespry Aerial Intelligence platform to streamline mine planning and inventory management. Pike also discusses how Kespry is helping keep employees out of harm’s way.
Describe how you’re using Kespry.
We use Kespry to measure contours to make sure we create accurate mine plans. Part of that mine planning process involves having to do stripping calculations. We use Kespry to calculate stripping data for budgeting purposes that we send out to all our key stakeholders, such as operational personnel and contractors. This ensures we’re provided with accurate quotes for budgeting purposes. We also use the drones to do a take-off, which is when we survey the area prior to the commencement of stripping and then survey the area again after they’re done stripping to validate the amount of material that has been moved. Using Kespry helps us make informed decisions and work closely with contractors to compare stripping quantities. This ensures that we are charged the correct amount.
We also use Kespry for inventory management to update unit weights for products and volume calculations. We fly sites for inventory routinely, update the data, and ensure the volumes and weights look correct in the Kespry inventory manager. Again, it’s all about providing an accurate product safely and efficiently to our end customers. Kespry helps us get there.
What were the key problems you were trying to solve by bringing in Kespry?
We needed more control and to increase efficiency. Once our drone lands from a 20 to 30-minute flight, the flight data is immediately uploaded to the Kespry Cloud for processing. This takes just a few hours, depending on size of the mission data collected. We’re able to view the images and client deliverables via the Kespry Cloud. This allows our engineers and planners to provide a quick turnaround of the data to all our key stakeholders. They usually want this information immediately and it’s great to be able to provide that information to them quickly. With Kespry, we’re able to sit in front of our stakeholders, run through the data, show them how the calculations were done, and identify any possible issues. Kespry has improved comfort level and trust in the data.
How did you do things before Kespry?
We were relying on aerial surveys, ground surveys and photogrammetry. We would sub-contract flights and photogrammetry services using aircraft once a year due to cost of deliverables or perform ground surveys internally or externally. Things were out of date. For instance, we would fly the inventory stockpiles and surface topography of a mine site in October. Once the inventories were completed, we would switch over to mine planning. The data could be up to six months old by the time we started developing a mine plan for a particular mine site.
With Kespry, we’re working with the most recent data because we can fly at a moment’s notice and get the most up-to-date data required to perform the task. It’s helped tremendously in that regard. Now, we can go to a specific site, get a flight done within 30 minutes and start a mine plan that same day. The old method was costly, especially due to frequency required for mine planning and inventory management purposes. Kespry has helped improve our mine planning efforts and increased frequency of inventory flights.
Has Kespry made surveying safer for Shelly?
It’s definitely improved safety. It’s reduced the need to go near highwalls and crests, especially for mine planning purposes. It will eventually assist with our ongoing efforts to improve drilling and blasting safety by providing the ability to use drones to perform 3D face profiling. Our people can stay a safe distance away from them. The same thing holds true if we’re checking on the progression of a particular mine site. If we used our earlier ground survey techniques with GPS rovers, people would have to get near the toe and crest of a highwall, walk over unstable material or work in close proximity to mobile equipment, which is potentially unsafe. Kespry has really helped in that regard, too.
What made you choose Kespry over other vendors?
The big reason is because of Kespry’s customer service. I’ve had great experiences with turnaround time when we contact you. If for some reason there’s an issue with a drone, you’ll replace it within 24- 48 hours, so our daily lives aren’t impacted seriously. Another benefit is how user-friendly your software is. It’s very easy for us to invite an operations manager, area manager or plant manager to view a site in the Kespry Cloud and navigate it themselves. We have been asked on numerous occasions by the Kespry Team to be involved with product development, such as incorporating mine planning into its platform. This, in my opinion is part of the partnership, and their commitment to have our input.