Thinking Big

Our customers like to think big. By that, we mean BIG.

Rock Products Sept 2015 magazine issue features the Top 100 Crushed Stone Producers. We do business with over 25% of the major producers on that list.

The contour lines from a washed sand stockpile recently measured by drone. The pile's tonnage total was over half a million tons: 585,165.
The contour lines from a washed sand stockpile recently measured by drone. The pile’s tonnage total was over half a million tons: 585,165.

Those clients aren’t satisfied with what is the ‘norm’. Business as usual isn’t providing the data needed fast enough, with report accuracy that the CFO can count on.

They looked for new measurement solutions and discovered us.

Stockpile Reports’ continued success is due to our accuracy, fast reporting and also for the flexibility it gives clients such as the Texas Department of Transportation. The TxDOT utilizes Stockpile Reports’ platform state-wide for measurements. The platform supports measurements using  iPhone, drone and plane data.

The demand for fast results and measurements in a myriad of configurations has certainly kept us on our toes! There are some BIG stockpiles out there, in many various configurations. Our team has literally viewed thousands of different stockpiles now, and unsurprisingly many present big challenges for measurement.

Some of those piles are too large to measure with an iPhone. Some are next to water. Some are in very busy environments with lots of truck traffic.

The reconstructed point cloud made from the drone's flight data.
The reconstructed point cloud made from the drone’s flight data.

And some clients not only want one site measured, they want their entire enterprise measured at once, across states. We’re talking thousands of piles. That’s big.

That’s a reason why we are excited that clients are beginning to utilize UAVs (drones) for measurement, and also why we offer site measurements by aerial. The average labor time for clients who utilize aerials for measurements is 20 minutes. That’s not big at all— but the time saved, and the reporting data resulting from using aerials IS big.

Here’s a stat that keeps getting bigger: so far, iPhone measurements have been performed by 967 unique users from 264 companies.

Do you want to think big, and try new methods of stockpile measurements for your company? Contact us. If you do, you’ll also discover another reason why our business is growing. We’re nice people, too.

Presenting at North American Frac Sand Conference

On Monday, June 29, David Boardman, CEO of Stockpile Reports, will be a speaker at the North American Frac Sand Exhibition and Conference in Houston, Texas.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.31.39 PM

The objective of The North American Frac Sand Conference 2015 will be to bring the frac sand supply chain industry together to evaluate solutions for overcoming the market and logistical challenges of supplying frac sand to wellsites.

Last year the average well used around 2,500 tons of frac sand; and wells are now often using twice that amount, with some wells even having as much as 10,000 tons of sand being pumped into them. While the current low oil price environment is having some impact on orders from multiple wellsites, an overall increase in frac stages and proppant intensity per well is helping the market to absorb the reduction of sites. For frac sand producers to overcome the current market conditions, the supply chain will have to adopt new cost-cutting strategies and improve efficiencies across the board to enable proppant to reach wellsites more cost effectively and on time.

If you are in attendance, don’t miss Boardman’s presentation Monday afternoon:

TECH UPDATE: REFINING YOUR STOCKPILE MEASUREMENT STRATEGY

  • Utilizing 3D data to optimize the production of frac sand with accurate volume checks
  • Solving the challenge of remote site inventory and verifying frac sand volume across multiple sites
  • Moving volumes of frac sand across paper for operational efficiencies

Stockpile reports will be tweeting during the event, and posting to our Facebook page. Follow us!

Innovation and the DOT

Did you know that the Department of Transportation (DOT) was established by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on October 15, 1966? The department’s first official day of operation was April 1, 1967.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is the principal agency responsible for planning, coordinating and implementing national transportation policy and administering most federal transportation programs.

The department also makes available billions of dollars in federal grants each year to state and local authorities to help improve transportation programs throughout the country. Every U.S. state, including Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia has an agency or a DOT department with transportation planning.

However, infrastructure growth is slowing, so the maintenance, preservation, and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure are becoming increasingly more important. As public funding shifts from construction to maintenance, maintenance organizations become more accountable to administrators, politicians, and the public for a safe, convenient, and accessible transportation system.

A training session at the TxDOT.
A Stockpile Reports training session at the TxDOT.

The country’s entire transportation system is under growing strain, and estimates of the cost to repair and upgrade the system to meet current and future demands are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. You probably notice a sign of this strain every day if you encounter a new pothole in the road, experience grid-locked traffic, or see road crews at work.

Maintenance organizations are key to not only protecting the nation’s multibillion-dollar highway investment but also for continuing to provide a safe, efficient transportation system.

Technology is changing the kinds of information and infrastructures that must be maintained. Statewide DOTs are now exploring and testing new ways to be innovative in their processes to save money for taxpayers.

Advanced technology is increasingly being incorporated into the transportation infrastructure, and as a result, new maintenance procedures and a very different set of skills for maintenance managers as well as maintenance workers are being required.

Stockpile Reports has been working closely with the Texas DOT  and other statewide transportation organizations, and are proud to be assisting with new solutions, processes and technology. The TxDOT expects to save a significant amount of money —perhaps in the millions of dollars— by implementing our platform as a part of their statewide maintenance initiatives.

iphonepov
Using an iPhone to measure stockpiles is changing the way DOT’s are doing business.

Besides using an iPhone to measure stockpiles, other ideas that integrate the iPhone measurements include:

  • Measuring debris piles for contract hauling volumes
  • Measuring materials on hand volumes
  • Measuring stockpile volumes for change order negotiations
  • Measuring stockpile volumes for monthly pay estimates
  • Measuring monthly supplier inventories
  • Measuring vendor stockpile volumes to meet testing requirements

Revenues are falling and budgets are shrinking. Yet state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) have ambitious goals: improve safety, address congestion, enhance economic opportunity, improve reliability, preserve system assets, accelerate project delivery, and help to create healthier, more livable neighborhoods, just to name a few. These goals would be challenging even if money were no object, but dwindling conventional federal and state transportation funding makes these goals even harder to achieve.

It is clear that DOTs across the country are changing the way they do business because it is needed. America’s transportation network is crucial to economic growth. Agencies are taking new approaches to transportation that fit the demands of their states, providing greater benefits at less cost. They are adopting innovative yet pragmatic reforms, using data and new technologies.

The DOT is innovative, and continues to innovate, by reevaluating and retooling traditional practices. All of us at Stockpile Reports feel proud and privileged, to be part of this exciting process.

Resources: http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/653029.pdf
http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec092.pdf
http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/maint/
http://www.planning.dot.gov/documents/briefingbook/bbook.htm
http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/energy/final_report.pdf
http://ntl.bts.gov/historian/history.htm
http://www.allgov.com/departments/department-of-transportation?detailsDepartmentID=578

 

TxDOT Awards Stockpile Reports Statewide Contract

We’re very proud to announce that the Texas Department of Transportation has awarded Stockpile Reports a contract for stockpile measurements, beginning in 2015. The TxDOT will measure their materials using our service with the iPhone Stockpiles App.

The reason our software service was chosen is because our partnership will improve management operations and reduce operating costs for the State of Texas.

Photo of TxDOT maintenance teams training on iPhone using measurement best practices.
TxDOT maintenance teams training on iPhone using measurement best practices.

Decision Background

In 2014, a Materials Supply Chain Management (MSCM) Team was tasked with locating new technologies to improve TxDOT’s supply chain management operations and reduce operating costs. The MSCM team researched available measuring tools, and successfully tested the Stockpiles iPhone App and our service, that creates a 3D image of a stockpile and calculates its volume.

The TxDOT estimates that there will be over 500 users taking measurements of stockpiles, half of which will be backup users. In addition, TxDOT estimates it will conduct almost 10,000 measurements per year and maintain data for 2,400 stockpiles.

Maintenance sections will no longer depend on survey crews and special equipment to accurately calculate stockpile volumes, freeing surveyors up for more strategic work. A single person can video a stockpile in less than five minutes, without climbing on the stockpile, and obtain accurate measurement results within 24 hours.

“We’re extremely pleased with this partnership,” said David Boardman, CEO of Stockpile Reports. “We believe that StockpileReports.com will save the citizens in Texas significant money from lowered operating costs and make TxDOT employees more efficient. We look forward to helping the agency meet or exceed their goals.”

TxDOT has already begun deploying Stockpile Reports’ patent-pending technology statewide in its maintenance operations. In fact, in January our Support team flew to Texas, and began one-on-one training with users on-site on how to measure piles with an iPhone, upload the video data and review the resulting reports.

Here are some of the photos taken during our training session in January, 2015.

There's just enough time to pick up some standard construction cones from the store before dinner.
There’s just enough time to pick up some standard construction cones from the store before the next day’s training session.
We've got an early morning start before arriving at our destination.
We’ve got an early morning start before arriving at our destination.
An overview of our site and stockpile reports. We added material types and conversions to accounts, then reviewed online tutorials.
An overview of our site and stockpile reports. We added material types and conversions to accounts, then reviewed online tutorials.
An outdoor classroom experience: Galen shows how to set up the cones before measuring before each team member does it independently.
An outdoor classroom experience: Galen shows how to set up the cones before measuring before each team member does it independently.
Galen demonstrates how to hold the phone, while videoing a stockpile.
Galen demonstrates how to hold the phone, while videoing a stockpile.
It is Day 2 of training-time for new users to get out into the field and measure a few stockpiles.
It is Day 2 of training-time for new users to get out into the field and measure a few stockpiles on their own.
This was the first stockpile that was measured by the team using an iPhone
This was the first stockpile that was measured by the team using an iPhone.
Galen answers a question about when the stockpile reports will be ready to view from team members. Reports are usually ready the next day, but for training sessions we push them out earlier.
Galen answers a question about when the stockpile reports will be ready to view from team members. Reports are usually ready the next day, but for training sessions we push them out earlier.

Stockpile Measurement Training

Measuring stockpile inventory in the Summer. Using an iPhone to measure stockpiles is an accurate, fast and easy solution for our clients. Many of our clients utilize our measurement solution for multiple sites, with multiple users on a variety of stockpiles.

We love to train customers who have multiple users on-site! This enables everyone to have personalized guidance and have their questions answered on the spot. Training the team means that each user learns not only by observation but also by practice.

We were with new clients recently and trained their teams on how to measure their stockpiles using an iPhone.

We help our new users learn how to use their iPhone, the way to hold it, learn how to set up the cones, upload data and then view their measurements. Our trainers show the site reports from their training exercises, and each corresponding stockpile report.

Most of our clients enjoy reviewing their results the most while in a training session. It is fun to see the resulting volume reports and contour map created from their measurements. Since training is done on the same stockpile with multiple users, each person can compare their results and learn from each other’s videos.

 

 

 

Information about Crushed Stone Production

Crushed stone, one of the most accessible natural resources, is a major basic raw material used by construction, agriculture, and other industries that utilize complex chemical and metallurgical processes. The crushed stone industry is a major contributor to and an indicator of the economic well-being of the US.

Here’s an infographic illustrating top state production and yearly consumption data based on USGS surveys.

Infographic about Crushed Rock
The USGS Department has provided excellent information about crushed stone production in the United States from 2009-2014. Infographic is based on http://minerals.er.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/stone_crushed/mcs-2014-stonc.pdf

Our Customers have Measured Over 25 Million Tons!

Stockpile Reports is proud to announce that our customers have measured over 25 million tons of aggregate material, using our system!

You may remember that our customers measured over 1 million tons in just one week very recently. Clearly, customer usage hasn’t slowed and we expect stockpile measurements to continue apace while weather permits. 25 million illustration

To put this into perspective, the estimated TOTAL annual output of construction sand and gravel produced for consumption in 2013 was 848 million tons25 million tons represents roughly 3 percent of 2013’s annual output of construction sand and gravel.

However, the U.S. output of construction sand and gravel produced and shipped for consumption in Q4 of 2013 was 212 million tons. Our customers would have measured almost 8.5 percent of that amount!

Did you know that sand and gravel is the only mineral commodity produced in all 50 states? The leading producing states for sand and gravel are: Texas, California, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, Washington, Colorado, North Dakota, Ohio, and New York.

The ‘Lone Star State’ is #1 on the list. It is a BIG state. But– if you review every state’s production by quarter (available here) you would see that the total of stockpile tons that our customers measured is just slightly less than Texas’s Q3 numbers— 25.4 million tons! (No insult is meant to the ‘Buckeye State’, but customers measured twice the size of Ohio’s Q3 output of 10,400 million tons.)

25 million tons is more than the 2012 production totals for construction sand and gravel by many states. This includes Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Our customers’ stockpile tonnage was measured by more than our patented Stockpiles Apple® iPhone® App. The Stockpile Reports system also works with GPS, Walking Wheel, Laser and even by UAV (in Australia, Mexico and Canada.)

Stockpiles are not uniform in size, shape, by material, nor uniformly easy to access. Enabling various measurement methods is not only sensible, but business-friendly. This enables our customers to reduce risk, save money and make more money.

If you are excited about getting accurate measurements and want to find out how our system will benefit your business, please contact us and discover what our service can do for you.

 

Client Meetings in the Lone Star State

Stockpile Reports met with customers on-site in Texas this week, Texas Tripand noticed that almost everything there is BIG, from stockpiles to BBQ portions.

A few facts about the “Lone Star State”: Texas is the leading oil producer in the nation. More beef is produced in Texas than in any other state. It is still the nation’s largest cotton producer. Texas is a giant in the space industry, and is a major player in high technology. Texas also boasts the largest (gross square feet) of all the state capitol buildings, constructed of 15,000 carloads of pink granite.

We should not have been surprised to see so many stockpiles of over 100,000 tons there, but we couldn’t help but be impressed when driving up to a few big sites and able to see the piles even at a distance.

The team enjoyed meeting and training Texans on the Stockpile Reports measurement system. We’ve already seen great results on their reports.

We look forward to visiting “The Lone Star State” again, sampling more BBQ, sunshine and client hospitality.

If you are a Quarry Manager, an Aggregates Manager, a Construction Sales Managers or a CFO and want easy, accurate measurements please connect with us.