What’s trending in the aggregate world?

By |  February 13, 2019
Headshot: Mark Krause

Krause

Mark Krause, the managing director of North America at McLanahan Corp., is celebrating his 40th year in the aggregate industry in 2019.

Krause has seen some remarkable changes in those 40 years, but the marketplace continues to transform before his eyes. Here are three trends Krause identified Tuesday at AGG1 Aggregates Academy & Expo in Indianapolis that are having real effects on day-to-day operations.

1. The Amazon effect. As Krause describes, aggregate producers are pursuing equipment purchases in 2019 much like they buy on Amazon.

“I don’t want to talk to a human, I what to investigate what I want to investigate, I want that information now,” Krause says, describing the typical producer mindset today. “And when I want to order it, I want to hit the easy button. I want that to show up when I want. And if I can’t get it as fast as I want, then I’ll pay you a little extra to get it when I want [it].

“And if you can’t get it to me then, I’ll just go to the next one (company) down because I don’t necessarily care where it comes from,” Krause add.

Still, aggregate producers want the security of having an expert on hand when something goes wrong, Krause says.

“They want to know there’s that person [available] when it isn’t right, when it isn’t where it’s supposed to be, when it isn’t doing what they wanted,” he adds.

2. People/service. Aggregate producers used to largely have their own internal expertise, but those days are going by the wayside.

“They don’t have it anymore,” Krause says.

Due to this constraint, some of the burden here is shifted to manufacturers. But manufacturers can’t necessarily show up on a site within an hour or two to prevent costly downtime. That’s where the local or regional dealer comes into play to deliver parts and service, Krause says.

“For some of these big plants, an hour is a long time and a lot of money,” he says.

3. Assets and asset utilization. Ninety-two to 95 percent uptime may have sounded good at one time, but any talk of 5 to 8 percent downtime now means real dollars lost. So producers today seek ways to keep ahead of downtime.

As Krause describes, there’s unfortunately no artificial intelligence out there that’s going to fix your crusher. Producers might have sensors that alert them to problems, but they still need an expert who’s going to come and fix equipment.

“The other part is people aren’t going to build plants for 30 years,” Krause says. “They might be here for two, they might be here for five. They need it to do this job and that job.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the editor-in-chief of Pit & Quarry magazine. Yanik can be reached at 216-706-3724 or kyanik@northcoastmedia.net.

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