“It puts the knowledge of the customer and the responsibility for invoicing at the same location,” McClellan says. “The location knows when a load got diverted from one customer to another, but central billing may not know that. Someone dealing with a smaller subset will have a better knowledge of pricing and the daily shipment routines. They are closer to the business and able to make better, more informed decisions, which translate into accuracy and better business relationships. No one likes to get a wrong bill, and this makes the transactions more efficient.” AM
Brierfield Quarry, an operation located just outside Montevallo, Ala., with an annual volume of 1.2 million tons of crushed stone, had been experiencing problems with truck times at the plant being unacceptable for the trucking firms serving the operation. The times were sometimes 20 minutes or longer.
But after adding automation products and streamlining the ticketing process, the operation was able to reduce its average time to less than 10 minutes from the time the truck entered the site to the time it picked up the ticket, explains Scott Killough, sales for JWS, a division of Shawnee, Kansas-based Command Alkon.
Additional benefits to this process included the ability to keep drivers in their vehicles from the time they came on site until they received their ticket and left the property. “This safety feature was very instrumental in the improvement (of) authorization for capital expenditures for new equipment,” Killough says.
The Process: The RFID equipment tags identify each vehicle as it arrives at the site. If the identified vehicle has valid orders in the system, the vehicle then is given a green light to proceed to a touch screen mounted on a stand to pick the desired product.
After being loaded, the vehicle then proceeds to the outbound truck scale and the RFID tag is read again. Once the scale stops motion, the software captures the weight and turns on a green light for the driver to proceed to the printer stand to retrieve the ticket. All of this is done without the driver leaving the vehicle.
“This process has relieved the scale person from physically handling tickets and concentrating on servicing customers calls and managing the truck process in a much more efficient method,” Killough says. “One benefit that was discovered after the effect was that certain trucks could process the loading and ticketing after hours without the scale person having to be on site, as long as there was company personnel available to watch the flow of traffic.”
Killough also notes that the use of laser printers instead of dot matrix printers for delivering tickets has improved the ticketing process. “Using laser printers allowed the purchase of plain bond paper with perforations, one perforation on an 8.5- by 11-inch sheet of paper — two tickets per page — or two perforations for three tickets per page,” Killough explains. “Using laser printers gave much more flexibility for printing information that the customer wanted to see on the ticket.”
For example, some of this flexibility included printing stone quality specifications on certain projects as an extra sheet for the tickets being delivered for a specific project. The clarity of the printing, in addition to being able to print state stamps on tickets, added more customer service value, Killough says.