Conference Presentation and Training Consultations

Presentation at RMACES show in Colorado
Maury during his presentation at the conference, and show off his new tape meausre.

The last week of February was another busy week! The Stockpile Reports team was on the road traveling again. Meeting our clients in person is always fun, and productive. We share what we know while training and presenting at regional events.

Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference and Equipment Show

Maury was a featured speaker at the Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference in Colorado. For over 40 years, contractors, suppliers, governmental agency representatives, and consultants from the Rocky Mountain West have held an annual conference in Colorado to discuss new developments and quality advancements of asphalt pavements. The Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference & Equipment Show draws attendees from throughout the Rocky Mountain region. It is recognized as one of the largest regional conferences on asphalt pavement technology,

Maury enjoyed spending time with current customers, and also meeting new people throughout the conference. He even entered the raffle— and wouldn’t you know it, he won a tape measure! You know tape measures are prized possessions with the team, because we are always using one to correctly measure cone distances.

The Awards dinner at the Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference & Equipment Show
The Awards dinner at the Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference & Equipment Show

Training Consultations

While Maury was at the conference, Galen, Richard and Jaxson were training customers how to measure bunkers and stockpiled physical inventory with an iPhone and drone.  The weather at various locations ranged from 35 degrees with 30 MPH wind gusts to upper 60’s short-sleeved weather.

Training new customers allows us to see first-hand their challenges, and answer questions on-the-spot. It is definitely a hands-on opportunity, as we demonstrate step-by-step how to correctly set up, or “prep” as site prior to measurement, how to set up the cones, the best way to hold the iPhone, and walking paths.

Many clients are interested in learning how to measure their bunker inventory materials. We look at their various bunker configurations and assist them with walking paths specific to the type of bunker and pile that needs measuring.

Clients are learning how to measured materials stored in bunkers using an iPhone.
Clients are learning how to measured materials stored in bunkers using an iPhone.

Customers reap the benefits of training quickly. It shows when performing physical inventory counts on their own.

For example, 2015’s year-end physical inventory counts were completed in record time. 78 companies completed their year-end inventory in days, vs. weeks using Stockpile Reports. Details include:

  • 655 locations used an iPhone, drone, airplane, or a combination of data collection methods
  • 52% of all year-end physical inventory tonnage was collected by aerial (airplane and drone)
  • Over 765,000 images were processed for reports
  • 220% increase in material tonnage measured in 2015 by subscribers, vs 2014
Galen demonstrates how he 'walks the pile' while gathering image data via the iPhone camera.
Galen demonstrates how he ‘walks the pile’ while gathering image data via the iPhone camera.

 

 

Data, Not Distractions

The construction, agricultural, transportation and mining industries have welcomed the idea of using a drone for multiple business applications. Image of iPhone, drone, airplane data collection methods.

Stockpile Reports has been to several conferences and events during the recent months, and have noticed how many new drone exhibitors are appearing. In fact, it is very difficult for anyone NOT to notice how the interest in using drones is rapidly expanding.

We enjoy seeing technology change, and grow. During these conferences, we often ask attendees how their companies currently measure stockpile inventory, and if there is a drone strategy in place.

Some businesses already have a drone, or are in the process of purchasing one.

A few have already tried to utilize a drone, but decided that it was not a good return on their investment, in terms of both the cash spent, and the time needed to obtain accurate stockpile reporting. So they stopped using a drone.

Distractions

Some companies and managers have told us that they don’t wish to make an investment in a drone just yet. A few reasons include:

  • Avoiding the need for instructional training
  • Don’t wish to make an investment in accompanying software
  • Their site location is not conducive to drones; such as being near an airport or in a windy area
  • Their stockpiles are messy: vegetation covers the piles, the pile materials touch, there are stackers and obstructions
  • They have multiple sites, spread out so far away from the other so travel becomes a factor
  • Not a clear, compelling ‘need’ to either purchase or lease a drone yet
  • Don’t want to buy more than one drone in case one becomes damaged or flies away
  • Not certain they will get a good ROI on a drone purchase in terms of labor savings vs. other survey methods over a period of time
  • Wary about FAA regulations

Generally, Stockpile Reports has found that the construction, transportation and mining industries prefer to avoid new investments that require massive training. Companies are interested in results that are accurate, safe, simple, legal, and of course, cost-effective.

Data

To drone or not to drone? We aren’t able to answer that question. Every company has different needs and concerns. Drones can be a very good way to gather data for stockpile volumetric reporting!

We can, however, authoritatively state that our clients really want answers. They want accurate perpetual inventory, and want to avoid write-offs.

Stockpile Reports has a patented platform that processes data gathered from a drone, from an airplane or via iPhone. It also doesn’t matter what type of drone is flown. Clients have the choice to use one image collection method, or all three!

In other words, BYOD. Bring your own drone, we’ll process the data. Don’t want to do that? No problem, we’ll provide the most cost effective flight survey solution in the market— we’ll fly your site and process the data. Or you can use an iPhone and we’ll process the data from your smartphone.

As you can see, it doesn’t matter what solution you choose. If you want to invest in a drone in the future, we’re here for you. Your company won’t need to also invest in a system to process the data, or to warehouse it. Our subscribers already receive those benefits. And even better— our clients receive accurate reports in hours with minimal training, no extra hidden fees, and no other distractions.

 

 

 

How a Client is Solving Write-Offs, Via Technology and Frequent Physical Inventory Counts

A multinational materials company that manufactures and distributes cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and materials including coal, recently approached Stockpile Reports. They were searching for a solution to reduce write-offs, time, and costs associated with inventory measurements across multiple sites.

Technological advances are now shrinking the time needed to perform company-wide physical inventory counts from 3-5 weeks down to 3-5 days. Measurement methods include the iPhone, drone, and airplane.
Technological advances are now shrinking the time needed to perform company-wide physical inventory counts from 3-5 weeks down to 3-5 days. Measurement methods include the iPhone, drone, and airplane.

The materials company had been performing inventory counts on multiple sites and regions. They’d hired an expensive third party survey team, who’d utilized a truck-mounted laser for measurements. Using a truck-mounted laser was accurate, but the costs associated with the surveys only allowed for physical inventory measurements to be performed once yearly.

During the rest of the year, team members kept a perpetual inventory by performing self-reported monthly estimates of material on hand. They estimated these amounts monthly, and sent the totals to the Finance Department.

As a result of not using current, accurate measurement data, the company had been experiencing major write-offs every year. This also corresponded with large financial swings.

Stockpile Reports was engaged to perform monthly physical inventory counts, utilizing a mix of measurement technologies. These included using iPhones, drones and planes. It was determined that using a combination of collection methods was the most appropriate solution. The location of material’s company sites are wide-spread across multiple states in the US. Each site also varied in material types, safety, stockpile placements and stockpile sizes.

The Solution for Write-Offs

Since the materials company has a company drone, a portion of one location is now measured monthly via drone for tall coal piles. This is in a high-traffic area, making it unsafe for ground measurements.

Bunkered material and smaller stockpiles are measured monthly with iPhones using internal labor. This is to spot-check incoming deliveries, and also ensure that outgoing deliveries meet production expectations.

A physical inventory count is conducted quarterly at all locations on the same day if weather permits, using Stockpile Reports’ flyover service. This is providing a running perpetual inventory for the company.

The Savings

The client recognized immediate costs-savings. There is no third-party labor needed to implement Stockpile Reports’ solution. The time-savings enables the company to perform company-wide measurements regularly. For example, the average time required using internal labor and Stockpile Reports’ flyover service was only 20 minutes per each site. Internal labor used for piloting a drone for site measurements averaged about 45 minutes per site. The average measurement by iPhone was 3-5 minutes per stockpile and bunker.

The materials company has successfully accelerated physical inventory counts, and are now performing monthly measurements. Measuring often, regularly, and accurately is the key to inventory control. They are making data-driven material handling decisions, and are greatly reducing financial write offs.

This blog post is a continuation of  “The Case for More Frequent Physical Inventory Counts” and last week’s entry “Controlling Swings in Inventory with New Technologies.

We are always happy to share our success stories. Contact us for more details about how we can assist your company and reduce write-offs.

 

 

 

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Last week we announced that our customers surpassed measuring 125 million tons of material using our platform.

As our readers know, we love data. Just for fun we looked back into our blog, and saw that on May 27, 2014 we announced a similar type of milestone. Customers had measured over 25 million tons of material.

Stockpile measurements by customers have grown 500% in one year!

We dug a little deeper, to compare year to year. Here’s a bit more to share:

Aerial stockpile measurements using an airplane and UAS grew 583% in the same period between 2014 and 2015.

Stockpile measurements using an iPhone grew 264%.

We now have clients in 12 countries.

Year to Year customer growth and usage.
May 2014 to May 2015 growth and usage.

Stockpile Reports’ patent-pending system is the only way to measure 100% of your site’s stockpiles, with online results available for view in 24-hours via our web portal.  This enables your business to get the best of ground and air for stockpile measurements.

Are your current measurement methods… 

  • Easy enough to use that anyone could measure stockpiles with minimal training?
  • Don’t have to be outsourced, and someone is trained how to do it at every site?
  • The results meet the consistency and accuracy requirements of your company?
  • The results are automatically processed and available to corporate with no data entry?
  • Allow you to measure dozens of sites in a day, with the stockpile results available to you online in 24-hours?

If you can’t answer ‘Yes’ to any of those questions, or if your current measurement method doesn’t enable you to measure company stockpiles confidently, quickly, and comprehensively then you should Contact Us.

 

Resolve to Manage Your Inventory

A recent study by Wasp Barcode Technologies reported that businesses in North America have slightly more confidence in 2015’s economy vs. one year ago, while companies with 50 or less employees are more pessimistic. These respondents included owners, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, VPs and Director-level management.

Similarly, the National Federation of Independent Business said this week that its Small Business Optimism Index increased 2.3 points to 100.4 last month, the highest reading since October 2006.

Resolve to be more efficient in 2015.
Resolve to be more efficient in 2015.

The NFIB’s survey said that more small business owners view their current inventory of goods as insufficient to meet the anticipated increase in sales.

The ability to project revenue growth, manage cash, manage inventory and track data accurately helps drive and manage growth. However, to increase control, efficiency and business profitability, shouldn’t you utilize the tools available to give you this information quickly?

Cut the paperwork and increase productivity not only on-site, but also for your company’s office.

Stockpile volumes vary throughout the year. We hear from our customers that some measure their piles quarterly, some month-to-month, and in busy seasons many would like to weekly.

However, the resulting stockpile measurement results are not clear indicators that an entire site is operating efficiently— especially if your company has to schedule measurements weeks in advance, or wait days to receive volume results. Your site has already changed during that time.

Make data your ally.

Businesses that want to continue business growth, and be more productive in 2015 need current information and insight into their inventory.

Get greater control of your business with:

  • Increased accuracy and accountability.
  • Knowing what your stockpile inventory is at any one time.
  • Ability to plan where to place or move a stockpile
  • Have up-to-date site inventory data for reconciliation and forecasting
  • Creating an audit trail

Improve efficiency by:

  • Cutting paperwork
  • Spotting errors quickly
  • Reducing third-party measurement expenses and scheduling
  • Receive site calculations in hours

Plan for growth:

  • Make informed decisions
  • Remote managers can visually inspect the quality and state of each stockpile and site
  • View operations and reports globally
  • Lower internal labor costs

Stockpile Reports enables you to measure your stockpiles with our patent-pending platform and service. Our system generates two primary reports for customers: the Stockpile Report and a Site Report. All reports are automated and results available online to clients within 24-hours of data upload.

Using an iPhone to collect data means companies can measure each pile in under 10 minutes, with online-results available to view in under 24-hours. A business could regularly measure an entire site, or even multiple sites, in less than one day.

Want to include Aerial, and UAV measurements into reports? We do that, too. Pile shapes and locations often dictate other measurement methods. Our subscribers have access to all of these methods, and this is especially helpful if you need an entire site measured quickly.

Contact us or give us a call (425) 285-4303 for more details.

Stockpile Measurement Speeds

Our current clients, and companies who try out our platform all say the same thing the first time they measure their stockpiles with an iPhone: “This is so fast!”

The team at Stockpile Reports love to hear that. We also love data! The Sales and Support team constantly monitor the performance of our service, both in terms of accuracy and also for speed.

How fast is it to measure piles with an iPhone? We compiled data from our customers’ stockpile measurements, and here are the average speeds to measure in minutes with an iPhone, by varying tonnage.

Stockpile Measurement Times
in Minutes and SecondsStockpile speeds: Minutes per ton when measuring stockpiles onsite with an iPhone

Tonnage                     Time 
0-1000 ……………… 2:14 Minutes
1000-3000 ………… 3:04 Minutes
3000-6000 ………… 3:50 Minutes
6000-10,000 ……… 4:36 Minutes
10,000-15,000 ……. 5:08 Minutes
15,000-20,000 ……. 5:28 Minutes
20,000-25,000 …… 5:54 Minutes
25,000-30,000 …… 5:48 Minutes
30,000-40,000 ……. 6:49 Minutes
40,000-50,000 ……. 7:14 Minutes
50,000-60,000 ……. 7:27 Minutes
60,000-70,000 ……. 6:17 Minutes
70,000-80,000 ……. 7:30 Minutes
80,000-90,000 …….. 9:16 Minutes
90,000-ALL ………… 8:08 Minutes

Faster Stockpile Measurement
Speeds Enable Your Company to:

  • Calculate stockpile tonnage and calculations monthly or every week
  • React quickly to daily or monthly inventory needs
  • Promote safety, with less exposure to traffic and on-site hazards
  • Increase productivity, with less down-time
  • Quickly verify delivery of bulk materials from third-parties

Does someone in your team have 5 minutes available to measure a stockpile? Think about how many piles you’ll be able to measure in a day using the Stockpiles App!

As you can see, it only takes minutes for users to measure stockpiles with our patent-pending technology, and training is easy. Plus, there isn’t expensive equipment needed or to be ordered.

Wondering how accurate our measurements are? We’ve got accuracy tests and data we’d be pleased to personally share with you.

Try it for yourself. Save time and make more money. Simply contact us.