Case Study | Luck Stone
Founded in 1923 and has thrived under the leadership of three generations of the Luck family, Luck Companies has embraced Creativity, Commitment, Leadership, and Integrity as its core values, and strives to build a culture centered on the success of others.
Headquartered in Richmond, Va., Luck Companies comprises four distinct business divisions with a shared vision to make a positive impact: Luck Stone, one of the largest producers of crushed stone in the nation; Charles Luck, a leading architectural stone supplier with a global sales and distribution presence and locations across the mid- Atlantic region; Har-Tru Sports, the leading provider of clay courts, lighting and court accessories; and an affiliate of Luck Companies, Luck Development Partners resolves to integrate and highlight natural, historical and environmental elements into the design of its real estate projects. Luck Companies is an American success story built on its belief that the best path to exemplary personal and business performance is through making a difference in the lives of others around the world.
The Need for Mobile Data Collection to Record Inspections and Maintenance Electronically
After acquiring Chesapeake Materials, a leading producer and supplier of high-quality Riprap and Armor Stone, it became evident that Luck Stone would need a paperless data collection and asset management system that would help them keep track of their newly acquired equipment.
There had been a few notebooks but no concrete method of record-keeping for the equipment, and the fleet included many pieces that were of different ages, quality, and health. The Luck Stone team needed a formal system that would provide them with insight into the health and traceability of their fleet and give them the ability to keep track of what services and inspections had been performed to all of their equipment and vehicles.
Tom Faillace, Senior IT Generalist, and his team set to work to build a system that would satisfy the requirements. They soon came to think that a system that would satisfy their needs may already exist, so they started searching for a solution online. After finding a few different products, watching demos, and speaking with several people, the IT team decided on Nektar’s data and asset management platform.
What is Nektar?
Nektar is a paperless, cloud-based data collection tool that is used in many industries, from utilities to municipalities, to equipment and construction. Its main purpose is to act as an electronic version of the paper forms that the users are already using. Rather than using a pen and paper to record data, such as maintenance records, pre-trip inspections, and to log safety meetings, all of these tasks are recorded on a smartphone or tablet. The data collected can then be retrieved in raw format from a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, or can be built into reports that show only the information that is relevant to the individuals reading the report.
The Nektar platform uses adhesive QR code tags that are placed on pieces of equipment to uniquely identify them; data can be easily recorded to that specific asset by scanning the tag when information is recorded. Acting as a conduit to and from the database, information can be recorded to or retrieved from the database through the QR tag. This provides Luck Stone and Chesapeake with an easy and secure way to collect and utilize data pertaining to a specific asset directly from the database with their smartphone or tablet.
Best Mobile Data Collection App for the Job
The other options that had been explored satisfied many of the requirements that the IT team was looking for, but Nektar was the one that had mobile data capture capabilities through tablets and smartphones, and seemed to be the perfect fit for the following reasons:
- It satisfied all requirements set forth by the operations and the IT team.
- The application was user-friendly and easy to learn.
- The software solution had a quick implementation process.
- Extensive training and continued support were provided at no extra cost.
- It was a mobile technology that allowed the team to track and record data using smartphones and tablets.
- The team at Nektar was the most responsive of the options that they had explored.
- Nektar was open to all questions and performed multiple demonstrations.
- The team at Nektar made themselves available whenever information was needed.
Tracking Proactive Maintenance and Equipment Efficiency
After a gradual implementation process, the first users quickly became proficient with the system, and with no push-back, the tool began being used by all operators. Soon, the entire fleet resided within the database and the workers became self-sufficient with Nektar and were using the system on a daily basis for electronic inspections, maintenance tracking, and other tasks related to the assets.
The first use of Nektar at Luck Stone was to have the team use the custom-built electronic forms to perform pre and post-shift inspections. These paperless inspections would be recorded and stored forever within the secure database and only retrieved electronically when they needed to be. This was also the beginning of being able to truly implement a proper individualized scheduled maintenance program that allowed for a proactive service approach and healthier assets that were the first of many benefits to be realized.
One example of an additional purpose for the system that was soon realized was to track the tonnage of stone that was being produced from site to site. This gave Luck Stone visibility into the efficiency of production equipment and the sites and quickly gave them the data needed to identify trends in their production output.
Additionally, Regional Operations Manager of the Chesapeake Materials Group, Jamey Epps, points out that his team is able to use the information collected in the system to track the fuel usage and use the information to compare the fuel burn to the fuel invoiced in order to determine equipment efficiency and to identify any discrepancies.
Benefits of Paperless Data Collection
There have been several benefits that Tom Faillace and Jamey Epps have noticed since implementing the Nektar platform, including:
- Complete visibility and ease of information sharing for all workers into scheduling, service intervals, fuel burn, etc.
- Complete understanding of the health of individual assets.
- Ability to perform pre-shift inspections and record repairs on mobile devices, giving others real-time access to the happenings and needs of the site.
- Seamless alignment of the product with the needs of the company.
- Comprehensive collection of relevant data that is available at all times.
- Increased visibility for operators and regulatory agencies into the data being collected within the company.
- Managers no longer needing to bother associates in the field for routine records, as all records are available in real-time as they are completed.
- Field associates have all asset information at their fingertips while on the job through their mobile device.
- Knowledge sharing between people about assets and operational processes that were previously not possible when information was only known in individual people’s heads.
- Having the ability to capture data from specific assets allows for an individualized maintenance program for Luck Stone’s fleet.
- No longer needing physical space to store paper inspection documents.
Cost and Time Savings Among Benefits of Paperless Data Collection App
There have been several notable results that have transpired since the implementation of Nektar, including:
- Healthier assets with a higher resale value, as a result of the proactive service approach and tracking of maintenance.
- Time and money savings through more efficient use and maintenance of the assets.
- Reduction in man hours needed for data tracking.
- Ability to use data to identify trends.
- Better communication and quicker responses to enquiries related to the data between operational individuals and those working in the field.
- More informed decision making into daily operations based on data collected.
- Visibility into efficiency of equipment and success of operational processes has led to more efficient production.
- Cost and time savings due to reduction in paper usage.
- Better overall understanding of operational process and entirety of assets’ health for all individuals, which can be succession planning and general consistent understanding of what is happening within the company.
Moving Forward with Nektar
From a simple need to track their assets came a uniquely tailored system that satisfied all of Luck Stone’s needs and more. The simplicity of the Nektar platform lent itself to be quickly adopted, easily implemented, and ubiquitously accepted from the individuals on the operational side, as well as those making decisions from the data collected. The newly implemented system has already produced many benefits and results, which will continue to emerge as more and more uses for the system are realized. Although, they are a fairly small company, Luck Stone saw the benefit of implementing a paperless data collection system that would continue to propel the success of their business for decades to come.