E.K. Services, Inc. is a woman-owned, full-service utility, excavating and paving construction contractor offering commercial and residential services throughout central Pennsylvania and beyond. From the beginning, the Beinhower family has never wavered from their vision of how they want to conduct business by treating both their customers and their employees with the utmost respect and honoring their commitment to performing quality work.
In 1976, Elaine and Ken Beinhower Sr. took a leap of faith to start their own business from their house with a handful of dedicated employees. Elaine and Ken’s passion for the construction industry guided the business through difficult economic times in the late 1980’s to the successful company E.K. is today.
In 1991, E.K. Services was born as a result of the hard work of the employees and with the leadership of Elaine and Ken. The name E.K. was chosen to represent both Elaine and Ken’s first names. As the majority owner, Elaine was determined to make E.K. a success for not just her family but the employees too. As a woman in business, Elaine did what often seemed impossible; she built, maintained, and cultivated a strong leadership role within a traditionally male-dominated industry. Elaine and Ken’s ultimate vision and end goal was to develop a business their three sons, Ken Jr., David, and Shawn would grow up in and one day run as part of their family legacy.
Together Elaine and Ken bring over 80 years of professional experience necessary to run a successful, well-established construction business. E.K. Services is proud to be a second-generation family business with each of their three sons presently working to help craft culture and drive aggressive growth. All with the hope of a third- generation who will follow in their dad’s footsteps.
As E.K. Services grew, it saw the need to find a better fleet management solution than what it had created with Excel. “We made our first purchase when we had about 35 employees,” recalls Shawn Beinhower, CIO at E.K. Services. “The first product we tried was better than a spreadsheet, but not by much. We tried another, which we made work, but we needed something more powerful and comprehensive.”
E.K. Services, which had long been a happy user of HCSS’s HeavyBid, an estimating & bidding software, and HeavyJob, project management for Heavy Construction, became an early adopter of HCSS’s shop management software, Equipment360. The company has since added HCSS Telematics, a comprehensive GPS and automated meter reading solution, and FuelerPlus, to manage fuel and fluid consumption and eliminate paper fuel reporting. The company also uses HCSS Dispatcher, to coordinate deployment of crews and equipment, as well as HCSS Safety to keep everyone safe.
Adding value to all of the applications is the seamless integration between the fleet management products and the operations products, including HeavyBid and HeavyJob.
Fleet Management Overview
E.K. Services has lots of equipment to manage. “We have more than 700 pieces of equipment—including about 200 pieces of off-road yellow iron,” Beinhower says. “We have to track and manage asphalt rollers, pavers, milling machines, crushing equipment, excavators, backhoes, wheel loaders, skid loaders, lowboys, a fleet of sweeper trucks and tri-axles. So, we really value how HCSS helps us manage all of these assets.”
Here’s a look at how E.K. Services uses HCSS applications to enhance its fleet management:
- HCSS Dispatcher
E.K. Services uses HCSS Dispatcher, including its magnet board feature, to schedule crews and equipment across all of its jobs Dispatcher. Sara Hanes says the integration between HCSS Dispatcher and Equipment360 makes it easy for her to schedule preventive maintenance.
- Equipment 360
All of E.K. Services’ more than 700 pieces of equipment are managed through Equipment360. The company uses Equipment360 across two shops and for its road mechanics working in the field. Beinhower also uses the wealth of data collected by Equipment360 for costing and other reporting and analytics.
- HCSS Telematics
E.K. Services uses HCSS Telematics to track its off-road and heavy equipment, with 183 pieces currently tracked. All but 11 of the pieces use HCSS Telematics hardware devices. The others have OEM GPS systems, which integrate with HCSS Telematics. Dispatcher Hanes especially likes the geofencing capabilities of HCSS Telematics. “The first thing I do when dispatching equipment to a new site is establish a geofence so we always know exactly where everything is—and get alerted if anything is unexpectedly moved.” HCSS Telematics also delivers engine hours and other metrics.
With its large fleet of equipment, a lot of fueling is required. The company’s full time fuel truck driver uses FuelerPlus to track deliveries.
E.K. Services has found a number of benefits since moving to the HCSS fleet management applications. Benefits include: easier scheduling and dispatching, greater efficiency for mechanics, alerts to help ensure scheduled maintenance gets done, and enhanced operational efficiency through integration. The company also values the easier asset management and visibility into equipment costs, equipment insights from FuelerPlus, exact equipment tracking with HCSS Telematics, and the fact that HCSS provides great support.
Easier Scheduling and Dispatching
E.K. Services uses HCSS Dispatcher for scheduling and dispatching crews and equipment and enjoys the visual displays of information through the product’s digital Magnet Board and Dispatcher’s Map View.
“Dispatcher has proven to be a great planning tool,” says Hanes. “Working with either a bid number from HeavyBid or a job number from HeavyJob, I can go in and use the bid information to set up a timeline for the equipment and crews that will be used for each point of the project—when we’ll need a service crew, a pipe crew, a paving crew.”
For bids still in process, Hanes exports the schedule back to the bidding department for use in submitting the project schedule.
HCSS Dispatcher makes it easy for Hanes to keep track of who is working on each job, and to modify crews as needed.
“Dispatcher also makes it easy to move equipment around,” Hanes says. “One job might need to borrow a backhoe and operator from another job for two days. With Dispatcher I can just toggle the assets from one job to the other and then back again.”
Greater Efficiency for Mechanics
Mechanics in the shop and in the field are enjoying greater efficiency because all of the information they need about a piece of equipment can be found on the Equipment360 mobile application on their iPad.
“When we buy a piece of equipment, we put all the specs into Equipment360, load all the warranty information in, insurance data, and set up alerts for all preventive maintenance and servicing,” Beinhower says. “We even set up our depreciation for it.” This means that as a mechanic prepares to work on a piece of equipment, they have immediate access to part numbers, diagrams, and technical specifications.
“Knowing the warranty information in the field can save you a lot of money when a mechanic identifies a problem that is covered,” Beinhower says. “They have all of the information at their fingertips, including contact information.”
Beinhower notes that repair data is complete and accurate, because mechanics are entering it themselves as they work, rather than submitting a handwritten paper form later, which would have to be deciphered by someone else to enter into the record.
“Our mechanics can also be more efficient, as they can see all of the work orders in advance before heading out to a site,” Beinhower says. “This means the mechanic addresses several problems while on site, instead of just the one that they were called about.”
Equipment360 Alerts Help Ensure Uptime by Avoiding Breakdowns in the Field
E.K. Services is enjoying increased uptime since deploying Equipment360. Beinhower attributes the configurable alerts for preventive maintenance and the ease and efficiency in which maintenance issues get reported.
“Equipment360 makes it easy to submit a main-tenance request from our teams in the field,” Be-inhower says. “This helps make sure that small problems don’t get overlooked and then become big problems. This also makes it more efficient for scheduling work in the shop. When a piece of equipment is coming in for an oil change, for ex-ample, we can schedule time in advance to handle any other issues that have been identified through the reports from the field.”
Using Equipment360 alerts for preventive mainte-nance has also proven its value. “Prior to Equip-ment360, I know there were times when preven-tive maintenance on a piece of machinery might have been missed—especially during our busy sea-son,” Beinhower says. “If you miss more than one of those in a row, you can end up with a problem. With Equipment360, that would never happen.”
“Equipment360 makes it easy to submit a maintenance request from our teams in the field. This helps make sure that small problems don’t get overlooked and then become big problems.”
- Shawn Beinhower, CIO, E.K. Services
The cost of downtime can be expensive.
“When a piece goes down, there’s downtime in just figuring out what is wrong, and then more downtime on the repair,” Beinhower says. “If it's an excavator on a pipe crew, then your whole crew's just sitting there waiting to be fixed. And if it can't be fixed, then, you incur the cost of getting a rental piece in, as well as the lost time waiting for it to be delivered. So, we value the way Equipment360 helps us do all that we can to avoid such situations.”
Enhanced Operational Efficiency through Integration of Applications
Even before deploying Equipment360, HCSS Dispatcher, and its other HCSS fleet management applications, E.K. Services had long enjoyed the tight integration between its HCSS applications. The company was happy to find the same smooth integration at work with Equipment360, HCSS Dispatcher, HCSS Telematics, and FuelerPlus.
“Equipment360 integrates with HeavyJob, meaning that a foreman in the field has the option of entering Equipment360 maintenance requests directly from HeavyJob,” Beinhower says. “From HeavyJob the request goes to the manager’s Equipment360 dashboard, where the job can be prioritized or combined with existing work orders for the piece of equipment.”
Hanes likes the fact that whatever equipment updates she makes while working in HCSS Dispatcher are updated to Equipment360.
“If I’m dealing with a backhoe, for example, I enter all the information into Dispatcher, as far as the make, model, year, the serial number, a description, the status of the machine, what job site it’s located at, what foreman it’s assigned to, and also the backhoe’s history,” Hanes says. “All of that information will also be displayed in Equipment360. It’s critically important that the information I use while working in HCSS Dispatcher is the same information that someone else sees while working in Equipment360.”
Hanes also values the fact that HCSS Telematics integrates with the other applications, sending hours and odometer readings to Equipment360, for example, and equipment location to HCSS Dispatcher.
For Beinhower, application integration was one of the top selling points when looking at Equipment360. “Integration with other applications was one of the main reasons we went with Equipment360, the way it ties into all the other HCSS products we have,” Beinhower says. “Our previous application lacked integration. It was kind of a stand-alone, which reduced its value.”
Asset Management and Visibility into Equipment Costs
Beinhower especially likes the Asset Management report within Equipment360. “Asset Management is one of my go-to reports,” he says. “I like to use Asset Management when making business decisions.”
Equipment360 reporting makes it easy to analyze the work codes, which mechanics use when documenting the maintenance and repair tasks they perform.
“Equipment360 reporting allows you to see exactly what a piece of equipment is costing you an hour to run,” Beinhower says. “All of the item codes are there. You can look at all of your excavators, for example, and see which pieces are costing more than the others to operate; which ones are requiring more maintenance, or burning more fuel. You can do the same with any of your fleet—get an overall view, and a per-unit view.”
“We can do our equipment costing with the click of a button.”
- Shawn Beinhower, CIO, E.K. Services
Beinhower adds: “In addition to helping make decisions on when to retire a piece of equipment, this data on a fleet level provides great costing information to use in building our bids. We can do our equipment costing with the click of a button.”
Tighter Fuel Management and Equipment Insights with FuelerPlus
FuelerPlus has helped E.K. Services gain tighter control over its fueling efforts. The company’s dedicated fuel truck driver, who previously used paper forms, now enters delivery information directly into FuelerPlus on his smartphone.
“It’s definitely more accurate to have the fuel truck driver enter the information himself, directly into the FuelerPlus app on his phone,” Beinhower says. “We have more accurate numbers now. The information used to be collected on paper forms that might get fuel spilled on them, or dropped in the dirt, and along the way things could get lost in translation.”
As with Equipment360, Beinhower values the costing information that streams from FuelerPlus: “I can look at a piece of equipment and see how many gallons per hour it is burning and compare that to other pieces in the fleet, which then factors into the equipment costing.”
Exact Equipment Tracking with HCSS Telematics & Geofencing
In addition to automatically reporting hours and mileage, HCSS Telematics provides exact location data helpful to the company’s dispatcher, as well as to its field mechanics.
“We really value the way Equipment360 integrates with HCSS Telematics,” Beinhower says. “When our field mechanic is preparing to go out for a job, he can not only see what other pieces of equipment are on the jobsite, but also check out equipment on other sites within the area. This really helps him plan his day with the greatest efficiency. He can load up all the parts he needs and take care of maybe five issues, instead of just one and having to be sent back out to the field.”
HCSS Telematics reduces lost time and the frustrations of trying to locate a specific piece of equipment on a large job site.
“Some of our sites are pretty big, especially when working in a town where we might be working a pavement project along a three-mile strip, with equipment parked on all of these different streets,” Beinhower says. “Whether it’s the fuel truck driver, the lowboy driver, or the mechanic, they can pinpoint exactly where the equipment is that needs their attention.”
HCSS Telematics also helps the dispatcher when double-checking on equipment locations.
“Being in charge of dispatch, it’s my job to know where all equipment is at all times,” Hanes says. “And with so many pieces of equipment and so many employees and getting so many phone calls a day, I will know that I have already assigned a piece of equipment in Dispatcher, but will sometimes check myself, just to make sure that it is where it is supposed to be.”
It also helps the dispatcher check on driver location. Hanes notes: “If I’ve got drivers out there on the same project and one is doing six trips, and the other just two, I can check with HCSS Telematics to see what has caused the delays.”
Administrative Benefits of Equipment360
While the shop foreman assigns work orders to the mechanics, Hanes uses Equipment360 to set up scheduled preventive maintenance, including alerts to ensure an item isn’t missed.
In addition, Hanes uses Equipment360 to move a rented piece of equipment into inventory, complete with ID number and meter readings, and then removes it from inventory when it is returned. Hanes also uses Equipment360 to issue alerts for vehicle registrations and to track inventory levels.
“The alerts mean that I don’t have to look at equipment one at a time checking for when preventive maintenance is due,” Hanes says. “And alerts also let me know when we are getting low on any of our tracked supplies, which has freed me from having to do spot checks.”
Beinhower says that product support is so strong at HCSS that whenever someone proposes introducing a new product, the first question is whether they can get it from HCSS.
“The strong support we get from HCSS has a big impact on our decision making,” Beinhower says. “You can call them 24/7, and I can’t think of an instance where I’ve called with an issue where it wasn’t resolved while I was still on the phone. If the first person can’t solve it, they’re going to elevate to the next person, or the next person, until there’s resolution. They don’t give up. They make it great and it stays great, they don’t just put a band-aid on it.”
Hanes agrees. “If I run into a question, I’ll see if I can figure it out on my own, but I know that at any time I can just call in to HCSS and they’ll just get right on a live session and walk me through,” Hanes says. “They are patient, because I’ll tell them I want to take notes on how to do it for myself next time. When I say that, they’ll follow up after the call with an e-mail providing me with their own notes on how to do it. They go the extra mile to make sure you know what you’re doing.”
Founded in 1986, HCSS is a leader in construction software and mobile applications solutions for the heavy civil, transportation, and utility industries. More than 80,000 professionals—including 44 of the ENR Top 50 Heavy Civil Contractors—use HCSS software to improve their proficiency at estimating, job management, resource management, safety and equipment management. In addition to high-quality software, HCSS is known for providing world-class customer service with professional implementation planning, ongoing training, and 24/7 instant support, 365 days a year.