Equipment Type

Comments from the Field

What some contractors say about construction technology.
May 22, 2012

Johan Smet is Director of Technology Consulting and Services for Trimble’s Heavy Civil Construction Division. He joined Trimble in 2004 as Director for the Construction Division. Johan holds an Engineering degree from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley. 

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If you are still in the “thinking” mode when it comes to construction technology, it can be helpful to learn about the experiences of other contractors. What worked, what was hard and ultimately how it impacted their business—can really help with understanding the value and return on construction technology. Following are what some contractors say about the technology…

J.R. Chambliss, GPS survey manager for Delta Construction in Hawaii told us an impressive story about his experiences with machine control technology. He was an early adopter of the technology in the states, and took his knowledge to Delta when they hired him in 2008. You can read the full story here, but here are a couple of his quotes...

"Since we've implemented the technology, we've saved the company at least 90 percent of our outside survey costs alone."

"If we buy a new system, a whole set-up for a machine, we will recoup the investment within the first year if we count nothing more than the ability to allocate personnel required for the job to other tasks," Chambliss says. "Plus, if you toss in reduced survey costs because a GPS guided machine doesn't need it... [and] savings we achieve through better quality, no rework, and faster completion, it becomes a 'no-brainer' purchase."

"If you're a small company and you have one job and can save a couple hundred thousand dollars on a job, that's huge. But with a company of Delta's size, if we continue to control costs on multiple jobs, by the end of the year, we're saving in the millions of dollars."

While Delta is a fairly large construction company, smaller companies share similar thoughts. Greg Haight, president of H&H Enterprises (5 employees) in Colorado states that “In ten years, if you don’t have 3D GPS machine control technology, you’re not going be in business. I don’t care how big you are, how established you are, you’re not going to be competitive without this technology. The technology has elevated our company to a higher level—we can confidently bid and win bigger and more complicated projects than we ever could.” You can read the full story here.

We hear similar feedback from many users. Once they commit to the technology, they become believers. But just getting started is the big hurdle for most companies. Unfortunately you can’t make the change without changing. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Contact your technology dealer and let them walk you through the process. Then, try it out. Start small, get familiar with it and monitor the results. Chances are, you’ll become a believer.

You can read many stories about why and how customers made the decision to implement technology, and what their experience has been, at

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