Boh Bros. Construction Adds Tracking
BY Jim Wahl
After being in business for over a century, Boh Bros. Construction Co., New Orleans, has seen its fair share of change in the heavy construction industry. The company’s commitment to never being satisfied and continuously innovating isn’t just marketing speak, but the reason this family owned business has made it 112 years to the third generation of family leadership. Back in 2019, Boh Bros. made a significant optimization when they installed FleetWatcher’s Materials Management Solution (MMS) across their asphalt paving fleet.
Every second and every mile in trucking operations add up to impact a business’s bottom line. That combined with the hyper competitive asphalt contracting landscape in the Southeastern United States means James Breland, Boh Bros. asphalt operations manager, is always searching for ways to optimize his team’s operations. After experimenting with two different telematics systems, Breland hadn’t found the right solution for his team’s asphalt paving fleet, consisting of 7 company owned trucks and 38 third-party haulers. After watching a FleetWatcher presentation he decided to give that technology a shot.
Implementing a telematics system isn’t always an easy proposition. At least that’s what Breland thought going into the process.
“Like any new software, implementation and training takes time,” Breland said. “Although there was a learning curve, with the organization and the customer service reps at FleetWatcher, it was a lot smoother than we anticipated. We were thinking it’d be a three- to six-month learning curve, and really, after a month, we were masters of the program.” Within the first six months Breland noticed at least a 10 to 15 percent savings on his team’s trucking costs.
Breland and his team were able to use their new MMS system to better understand their 45-unit asphalt trucking operations and make adjustments in how they employed them. The first lesson they learned is sometimes less is more.
“We were over-trucked because we never wanted to have our paving equipment stopped. If it’s stopped, it’s not productive. What we found was, sometimes being over-trucked actually hurts you. You’re staging too many trucks. You’re having to move them forward. You’re obviously paying for more trucks.”
FleetWatcher gave Breland a direct line of sight into his field operations to diagnose and correct their over-trucking issues in real time. The counterintuitive notion of producing better results with fewer trucks was just the tip of the iceberg for Boh Bros.
Clearing Traffic on Louisiana Highways
No one likes a traffic jam. Not the people sitting in their cars and especially not workers causing the traffic back-up. The LA1 Project was a 13-mile-long, two-lane road that backed up significantly during construction.
The project also featured multiple entrances, which proved a challenge when it came to trucking jobsite logistics. With the help of FleetWatcher MMS, the Boh Bros. dispatcher could see where their trucks were at all times and direct traffic using real-time data.
“One of the things our team loved was being able to see where the trucks were live,” Breland said. “That way our dispatcher could direct the fleet and tell them exactly where they needed to go.”
Meanwhile on Interstate 310 in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, another 11-mile stretch of road also needed re-paving. The nighttime project proved to be tricky with tight lane closure times and restrictions. In an attempt to keep the project schedule on time, Boh Bros. ended up being over-trucked when the project started. Using FleetWatcher’s MMS, Breland was able to recognize the problem and pull two trucks a night off to streamline their operations and achieve a 10 percent savings on trucking costs.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are only as valuable to a business as they are visible, measurable and actionable. For Boh Bros. asphalt operations, the metrics in question were tons per hour, load ups per hour, cycle time and tons paved per hour. With FleetWatcher MMS, Breland was able to track these KPIs and be alerted when something (or someone) was headed in the wrong direction.
“It’s really easy to see. There’s four or five KPIs that we focus on. If yours is in green, you’re doing good, and if it’s in red, you’re not. It’s so easy for me in a corporate office to look at and see how our guys in the field are actually doing.”
For Breland, the in-the-moment analytics were just the start of the analytic revolution.
With KPIs and a direct line of sight into their trucking operations, Boh Bros. could see in real-time where opportunities existed to save time and money. By taking a step back from the day-to-day action, Breland could see how the data was starting to tell a more fluent narrative of their business operations.
“The KPIs give you all of the day-to-day information, but then you’re also able to go back and look at all the data for similar projects to spot trends and insights. That’s where we find a lot of the real value.”
By transitioning from fixing over-trucking to rarely over-trucking to begin with, the asphalt paving operations team transformed from problem solving to proactively setting their team up for success. This shift is not lost on Breland: “As we go on, you don’t recognize a savings as much. Once it helps us become more efficient, our goals get harder to beat.”
For more information, contact Evan Triggs at (317) 257-8740 or firstname.lastname@example.org.