How Greer Industries is automating key ticketing processes

By |  March 20, 2024
When it comes to automating the check-in and ticketing processes, Greer Industries leverages Apex Auto ID. Photo: Greer Industries

When it comes to automating the check-in and ticketing processes, Greer Industries leverages Apex Auto ID. Photo: Greer Industries

As an organization scales and evolves, managing business processes can become increasingly complex.

In aggregates, operators are generally so busy keeping things running that there’s little time to review processes that may be causing bottlenecks. This lack of review institutionalizes inefficiency, keeping operations in a cycle that wastes time and resources.

Time and resources aren’t something operators can afford to waste because there aren’t enough drivers to meet demand as it stands. So, what can operators do?

Drivers must get checked in, have their materials loaded and get on the road. But with so many bottlenecks at plants, they often get tied up doing other things.

Often, drivers arrive at a site without understanding what they’re supposed to do or knowing where the check-in, scale and loadout stations are. This leads to minutes of nonproductive time to track down staff and ask questions before materials are loaded and drivers are back on the road.

According to Command Alkon, only about 65 percent of the time drivers spend at a plant is productive because 35 percent of it is tied up in manual communications and drivers leaving their trucks to chase information down.

A lack of communication between sales and dispatch systems can lead to drivers showing up to pick up orders that haven’t been finalized, or order inaccuracies due to mistyped information. This can create a lot of unnecessary work for everyone.

Drivers, scale operators and loader operators are often burdened with the inconvenience of keeping up with a slip of paper, and there’s often no verification of the exact moment in time that a truck was at a site.

So, what sort of substantial proof does a piece of paper with a handwritten time and signature hold? Arguably none, and this can become a big problem in the event of a claim or a dispute.

To overcome such challenges, some producers are implementing scale ticketing solutions and integrating them with site automation solutions that enhance throughput and accuracy, saving time and increasing the number of loads that depart operations.

Case in point

Since 1914, Greer Industries has grown to provide a variety of aggregate and asphalt products throughout West Virginia.

Greer Industries sought a technology partner capable of providing a complete software and hardware package without the need to include a third party. Operating multiple aggregate plants with about 300 trucks in the mix, Greer sought to leverage a system that could boost its daily load count while providing consistent, reliable service.

With an operation of this scale, it was important for Greer to establish a process that schedules dispatch assignments ahead of time to prevent truck congestion at its plants.

Ultimately, Greer turned to Command Alkon’s Apex software to automate its operations. Greer configured the software to fit its specific needs and get the most out of its investment, leveraging Apex on two operational fronts: dispatch and scale ticketing. The dispatch end of Apex allows Greer to seamlessly allocate jobs to trucks and accurately determine if enough trucks are available.

When it comes to automating the check-in and ticketing processes, Greer leverages Apex Auto ID. This allows drivers to swipe a unique ID card at a self-service kiosk. Because its trucking partners rotate through an assortment of trucks, Greer selected Auto ID as its route forward.

Additionally, Greer uses Apex’s Scale Watcher module. This provides proof of pickup by snapping photos from the front and side of every vehicle as they’re ticketed. The ticket data is then overlayed on those images, and it can be shared with customers or carriers.

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