New factors driving producers to equipment, technology

By |  December 5, 2019
Headshot: Greg Donecker, Kemper Equipment, EESSCO and Old Dominion Equipment & Supply


Our customers have done everything they can in 2019 to tweak their existing operations and improve plant efficiency and uptime.

Our parts sales have grown significantly, specifically in the areas of wear parts such as heavy-duty rubber liners on truck beds, screens and crusher parts. We are also noticing an increase in the request from customers for galvanization of conveyors and support structures to lengthen the life of their equipment investment.

Focus on health and safety of employees continues to be a priority for customers, and we have seen an increase in sales of machinery guarding, safety gates for work platforms, rubber liners for noise reduction and dust enclosures for better air quality.

I’ve heard from customers that an experienced and knowledgeable workforce is a real challenge, as many with long-term industry experience are retiring. To adapt, customers are investing in technology and automation for items like belt scales and crushing and screening equipment to assist new employees with managing production.

One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed due to workforce challenges is a switch from loading and truck hauling in an operation to custom conveyor systems. Many operations can save money by using conveyors to take their products over land, across roadways or water, directly to a destination rather than incurring labor and maintenance costs to load and haul with trucks.

2020 expectations

More aggregate producers are turning to technology and automation for crushing equipment to assist production. Photo courtesy of Kemper Equipment.

More aggregate producers are turning to technology and automation for crushing equipment to assist production. Photo courtesy of Kemper Equipment.

The activity I’ve noted in 2019 should easily trend into 2020.

What I anticipate from project requests for 2020 work indicates that producers are taking longer to buy. However, they are expecting shorter lead times when they are ready to purchase equipment or a new plant.

We are preparing for this demand with our key manufacturers by stocking equipment, placing higher demands on suppliers for faster turnarounds and manufacturing our own products such as stackers, conveyors and feeder units that can easily be plugged into in various applications.

Adapting as a valued distributor now will allow us to improve our relationships with customers in the future.

As producers and equipment manufacturers plan for 2020, they require distributors that offer full-service options, with engineering, PE-stamped design, installation and commissioning of a plant or retrofit and support after the sale with service and parts.

In the past, many customers used third-party engineering firms or their own engineers to calculate and design systems. They now recognize the advantages of working with one source for engineering, product, manufacturing and installation. This allows quality control from start to finish in any project.

Buyers will also be looking for flexibility in choices in 2020. Based on that notion, we are stocking more equipment and plants for fast delivery and offering financing options for those interested in leasing or leasing-to-own options.

It’s interesting, because although the industry has changed in major ways, we believe producers large or small value integrity and suppliers that are trustworthy and dependable. It’s something that’s the cornerstone of our business and I feel goes a long way when providing the industry with equipment, parts and systems now and in the future.

Greg Donecker is a 25-year veteran of the construction aggregate industry and owner and president of Kemper Equipment, EESSCO and Old Dominion Equipment & Supply, providing system engineering and design, manufacturing, equipment, parts and service to operations in North and South America.

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