Starbuck Excavations keep things social

If James Starbuck had decided to keep on the straight and narrow, he wouldn’t be where he is today…

James, a third-generation earthmover, decided at age 19 to strike out on his own, buying a 2.5 tonne excavator and starting his own business.

Today, his companies Starbuck Excavation and Starbuck Plant Hire are a huge success, sending up to 100 workers on to sites on a good day… and he’s got one of the excavator world’s most popular social media accounts to boot.

And all because he didn’t want to just dig trenches.

“Dad was mainly doing underground electrical work,” James explains.

“Long, narrow holes weren’t my style, so I struck out on my own.”

His grandfather started an excavation business in the 1950s that, by the 1970s, could be sending up to 400 workers out on to sites a day. It wound up in the 1980s and his father “just kept doing what he was doing”.

“The name Starbuck is well known for excavation in the Melbourne region, that’s for certain,” James says.

Literally growing the business from the ground up, 12 years later he’s running a business that can handle anything.

“I like helping people out. If you need a hole dug in your backyard for a pool, I can handle that, or if you need diesel tanks removed, I know the bloke to do it… right through to huge infrastructure projects, such as work for the railways,” James says.

James is an early adopter of technology, which he sees, in part at least, generational.

“I’m only 31 – I say I am part of the PlayStation generation,” he laughs.

“Not only do I understand what technology can do, I expect it to do it.”

“There’s no exception for excavation and earth moving. Things are improving and changing rapidly, and I reckon if you don’t keep up you won’t get the work.

“The reality is that labour costs are going up while skill levels are going down. The use of technology, such as 3D machine control, means you can subsidise that skill level. With it, you can make an average operator an excellent operator.”

Safety and savings are the key advantages, James says.

“Using Earthworks, for example, means we don’t need spotters and string lines. Straight away, that’s safer and its saving money with less workers on the ground,” he says.

“And the margin for error is hugely reduced so there’s rarely any redoing of work. I truly believe we are at the stage where if you are not using the tech, you won’t get the contracts.

“More and more clients are demanding it because they know it makes the workplace safer and that their plans will be carried out exactly to spec because the systems talk to each other.”

James said SITECH Construction Systems had been crucial to his business’ growth.

“The team are absolutely phenomenal,” he says.

“I doubt I’d be where I am now without them.”

And as for that social media stardom?

“I started my own Instagram account five years ago. I just posted pictures of me working on diggers – that’s what I do, I don’t have any hobbies – and its just grown and grown,” James says.

That is has. His Instagram account starbuckexcavations now has more than 18,000 followers, making it the top earthmoving account in Australia for a private company - and top 10 globally.

“I post pretty much daily and it’s all earthmoving, it’s what the people who follow it want to see,” James says.

“I take the time to reply to comments and questions, and I reckon people appreciate that too. It is definitely worth the effort – we get a lot of work via the Insta account – a lot of work – plus I’ve had a few trips thanks to it, including to Japan with Kobelco to see their factories.”

It’s all not too shabby for a bloke who just 12 years ago decided he wanted to chart his own course…

SITECH Construction Systems is now on Instagram – find us here: instagram.com/sitech_cs/

SITECH’s solution for Orica now spanning the globe

A high-tech system for one of the world’s largest mining  services companies that was devised and created by SITECH Constructions Systems here in Queensland is going global. 

The system has been employed by Orica, the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction markets, a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling. 

It was introduced first in Australia in 2014 and due to its success is being phased in by Orica across its global operations. The system has already been introduced in 11 countries around the globe and will be further installed in another 22 countries.  

The system in question is an In-Vehicle Monitoring System (IVMS) boasting a range of features that provide live monitoring of an array of activities. 

The system includes Trimble Car Cube, hands-free phone function, rollover sensor, duress switch, and interior and external cameras. 

Location, road speed, driver behaviour, pitch and roll, and activity durations are among activities monitored. 

Emergency situations are a particular focus with alert notifications, cameras, and duress switch just some of the safety minded applications. 

Operational and driver behaviour data is captured and sent to Orica. This live system provides global visibility for Orica’s management teams. 

“The solution is purpose built to provide data and information regarding driver behaviour and operational activities,” says SITECH’s Anthony Kwok. 

“It provides Orica with information to improve driver safety and work more efficiently. It also provides information that Orica can share with their customers and to investigate vehicle incidents.” 

Anthony said Orica released an RFP to market and Trimble approached SITECH to see if the Australian firm was interested in working with them on it. 

“Orica wanted one global solution for all their vehicles.  This included a low cost and advanced telemetry solution that could be deployed globally,” he said.  

“We put together a team of project co-ordinators, technical experts, subject matter experts and a lot of research and development to respond to their RFP.”  

For SITECH installation technician Matt Redwood, the roll-out has meant plenty of new stamps in his passport – this year he has travelled to Indonesia and South America and in June is headed to the UK as part of this worldwide roll out. 

“I was in Indonesia early in January to train local installers at one location – a coal mine in Borneo,” Matt said. 

“I trained up four installers who will then implement training for Orica throughout its Indonesian operations.” 

In March Matt spent about two weeks in South America, this time undertaking installations and system checks, repairs and QAs in Panama and Colombia. 

“It has been a busy but rewarding year so far,” Matt said, adding that the Google Translator app had been invaluable on both trips. 

Next up is the UK and Northern Ireland, where he will train installers for Orica’s European operations.  

Anthony said it was an important project for SITECH and something of a landmark. 

“It’s the largest project in the history of SITECH Construction Systems - and the first global project for us,” he said. 

 

 

How variable depth paving saves asphalt contractors time and money

Using 3D paving and an uncompacted design helps achieve optimal pavement smoothness, even on an imperfect base.

If you’re already doing 3D paving, uncompacted design is not a large jump to make. There’s no new equipment to buy, you just need to make changes in how you build the design in your software business centre and making that change can save you big money.

READ ON…..

Article by Jessica Lombardo – For Construction Pro.com

SITECH Constructions Systems scoop awards

Australasia’s own SITECH Construction Systems and SITECH New Zealand have come away international award winners at Trimble’s global dealer conference held this year in Peru.

SITECH Momentum, the Trimble global SITECH Technology Dealer conference was held from January 29 to February 1 in the Peruvian capital, Lima.

As part of the event, distributors were recognised for outstanding performance in various categories at an international awards night.

SITECH Construction Systems won the 2017 World Wide Sales Achievement Excellence – Trimble Protected Plus+ as well as the 2017 Best Regional Partner in Asia Pacific.

General Manager Australia Tim McPhillips said the awards reflected on the entire SITECH CS team.

“It is great to be recognised in this way as the best in the world and is something all of us can be proud of.

“Our focus on putting our customers and their needs at the forefront of all we do is key to SITECH’s success, not only in these awards but in our everyday operations.”

Mr McPhillips said the sales achievement award was particularly gratifying as it reflected SITECH’s commitment to its customers.

“Trimble Protect Plus+ is all about helping our customers with support and ensuring reliability,” he said.

“It something that has been crucial to establishing our market leading position.

“We take it very seriously, so to have that outlook recognised is great.”

Trimble Australasia Regional Manager Dan Barry said SITECH Construction Systems’ regional partner award reflected the organisation’s commitment to delivering outstanding customer service.

“We at Trimble take these awards very seriously and SITECH CS were a deserved recipient with an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement, ensuring the most advanced solutions are available and superbly supported from the outset”  he said.

“SITECH CS is well into creating a successful 2018 as we implement Trimble Earthworks across the regions.”

As well, SITECH New Zealand won the 2016 Emerging Channel Partner Excellence in Performance in Asia Pacific.

Mr Barry said New Zealand was a growing market for SITECH and Trimble, as the award demonstrated.

“We are building our resources in NZ and working hard to create strong and lasting relationships with customers, new and existing,” he said.

“This is also of benefit to our customers in Australia who may be looking to expand into New Zealand or indeed have projects in that country.”

Congratulations to the SITECH businesses  across the globe who won awards at this year’s conference.

 

EARTHWORKS – it’s how we operate

Machine control might be something of a breakthrough innovation for many operators, but for one southeast Queensland group it’s been as much a part of how they do business as any tool for many years.

Terry Cogill, managing director of Bielby Holdings for the past 20 years, said the business, which has been operating for three decades, had adopted Trimble machine control about 15 years ago.

“We implemented it on a grader for a specific job – replacing pavement under traffic, a job we didn’t want string liners working on for safety reasons,” he said.

“It was just too dangerous for them to work in a high-traffic situation like that.

Shannon Watson has been in the mining and construction industry for 12 years.

“We experienced increased productivity, tighter tolerances and virtually no reworking.

“The advantages flowed through to all our projects and today we operate no-peg sites.”

Terry said that for Bielby, Trimble’s Earthworks Grade Control Platform was in essence just the latest tool needed to do the job to best practice, in much the same way as the Caterpillar 313F excavator, which was acquired earlier this year and came fitted with Earthworks.

“Earthworks is the standard for us. It’s all about safety, productivity and accuracy and making us more competitive,” he said.

Behind the controls of the new excavator is Shannon Watson, who has been in the mining and construction industry for 12 years, the past two and a half as an excavator operator.
The Cat is her first experience using machine control and her opinion of it is pretty clear cut.

“I love it,” Shannon said.

“It is mind blowing what you can do using Earthworks. It is not only making the job easier in that it’s more precise and efficient, using it is also engaging me as an operator.

“I find it really interesting to use.”

Learning how to operate with Earthworks was not big deal for Shannon.

“If you can use a smart phone, you can use Earthworks,” she said. “I had an initial run-through of if with the guys from SITECH, who were great – really informative, patient and helpful.

“They will be back to do some more training with me, really to fine tune a few things for me.

“I find I’ve been learning as I go with it also. It is very intuitive.”

Shannon said using Earthworks had also helped her as an operator in a way she hadn’t expected.

“It has helped with my visualisation of jobs,” she said.

“I’ve found that when I’ve worked on something with Earthworks, if I then jump into the smaller excavator without it, I can ‘see’ the job in my head really clearly and that makes it easier to achieve.”

SITECH Construction Systems has been working with Bielby from the beginning.

“Bielby Holdings was an early adopter of Trimble machine control technology and has continued to upgrade and utilise our technology to be a highly competitive and efficient business,” SITECH Construction System’s Brent Daniels said.

“We’re proud to have helped this company continues to grow and succeed.”

Bielby Holdings has about 100 employees and 80 pieces of plant. It is currently working on a massive road upgrade, the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade between Rocklea and Oxley, Brisbane, which will be completed mid-2020.

Contact us to learn how SITECH can help your business reach its full potential.