Smaller Equipment Means Greater Efficiency for Pinto Construction Services
The relationship between an equipment dealer and a contractor can be pivotal to the direction their company takes, the choices they make, even the degree of success they enjoy. For Pinto Construction Services, solid reliable dealer support is paramount, a feeling rooted in a period when it was virtually nonexistent, prompting them to abandon equipment lines entirely in search of dealer-backed support. Today, as a result of that effort, the Buffalo, New York-based company enjoys a long-term relationship with the local branch of Admar Supply Company, has amassed a fleet of Kubota compact machinery it views as integral to its success, and has become one of the region's preeminent site contractors.
Established nearly a century ago, Pinto Construction Services (PCS) is currently a third-generation company focused on site contracting, demolition and remediation work, according to James Panepinto whose great-uncle founded the company and whose father, George Panepinto, holds the title of President.
"Don't let that title fool you, however," he said. "My father spends almost all his time in the seat of an excavator, heavily involved in day-to-day work at the job site. He loves running machinery and prefers to leave the business side of things to me - that's worked out well for both of us. As a company, we've grown steadily over the years and currently employ around 50 people. While that's not a huge number, given the volume of work we do, it really spotlights how efficiently we work."
That efficiency he added, is due largely to the range of specialty equipment they can bring to bear at a job site - everything from four-wheel utility vehicles to top-end compact excavators. The fact that Pinto's smaller machinery is largely orange, speaks volumes for how strongly PCS believes in Kubota. Getting to that point, however, has not always been easy.
Large Scale Envy
Panepinto said their first experience with Kubota equipment occurred about 25 years ago when a local dealership introduced them to a KX121 mini-excavator, which became a staple of their operation. The equipment performance was great, the commitment of that dealership - not so much.
"The problem at that time stemmed from the fact that the dealership also handled a line of standard-size excavators," said Panepinto. "When that manufacturer introduced its own line of compact equipment, they frowned upon their dealers handling what was now seen as competitive equipment. So the dealer dropped the Kubota line, essentially leaving us without support."
Though performance is a key motivator in their equipment purchases, Panepinto said as much as 30 percent of the decision-making process revolves around dealer support. "No matter how good equipment is designed and built, the nature of our business is tough, so equipment will need maintenance and repair," he said. "We need to know someone will be there for us."
Though still huge Kubota proponents, Panepinto said that, without support, they had no choice but to migrate to a different brand for their compact equipment needs. They did so, making a number of alternative brand purchases over a half-dozen years, only to have the process repeat itself with that dealer and its line. "In addition to history repeating itself," he said, "we were finding that repair on that particular line of machinery was very expensive. Simple issues almost always resulted in an entire component needing replacement - and the sky-high bill that came with it. Once again, we were forced to look elsewhere."
Finding an Old Friend
This time around, however, PCS did not have to look far or familiarize themselves with yet another new line of compact machines. In the time PCS had been using the other brand, Admar Supply Company had become the authorized Kubota dealer for that area, a move which suited Panepinto just fine.
"We had been renting and buying other equipment from Admar for some time," he said. "We had a nice relationship established with them already and knew they were big on customer support, so this was really good news for us. We quickly focused on getting rid of the machines we'd tried over those years and replacing them with Kubota units."
A Compact Advantage
PCS currently owns and operates an impressive fleet of Kubota compact excavators including a pair of K008-3s, one KX71-3, five KX080-3 zero swing machines, several KX91-3s, five KX121-3S units, and one KX161-3S. However, that was not always the case, said Panepinto.
"Before getting into compact machines, we were huge believers in rubber tired backhoes," he said. "And truth be told, if we were limited to just one machine, it would probably still be a backhoe. But we aren't in such a position and we believe that a combination of a compact excavator and skid steer will outperform a backhoe all day long. It's a bit more in terms of up-front investment but the return in productivity recoups that in no time. Add in the versatility you can bring to a compact machine through the use of attachments such as augers, small shears, hydraulic breakers and thumbs and there's simply no comparison."
Putting It to Work
On a project adjacent to the newly-expanding Children's Hospital in downtown Buffalo, George Panepinto is at work showing just how advantageous a compact machine can be in such a setting. "We are digging foundations for a generator building that will support the hospital and several other buildings," he said. "The job site itself is tight and would be a real headache with a large machine. I'm using a Kubota KX80 with a Helac bucket rotator to excavate the foundation - the combination of the machine's compact size and my ability to rotate the bucket has been ideal."
In another part of that same jobsite, a Kubota KX121 sits idle in a newly-created area that will serve as both sub-basement and tunnel to nearby structures. The unit had already completed its job digging and backfilling for electrical and sewer services and waiting for removal via one of the onsite cranes.
"Again, the machine's size proved beneficial, both for working in tight quarters and for allowing a fairly easy - though unconventional - removal," said James Panepinto. "We can't say enough about the role these compact units play in our operation and the support we've gotten from Admar Supply since coming back to Kubota. They've done an excellent job in seeing that all our support needs are met as we move forward."
When asked about future growth for PCS, Panepinto is quick to dismiss that notion. "I know it's clichÃ©, but bigger isn't always better," he said. "We look at ourselves not like power lifters, but more like body builders - always trying to get leaner and meaner, going for definition rather than bulk. While we are very good at what we do, there are still things we can improve upon. The good news is we have the right people, equipment and support to make that happen."