East & West Excavating Grows Through Positive Equipment Partnership
There are many factors that go into creating a successful business. One such factor is finding a partner that is reliable and can supply the right equipment at the right time. For Grand Forks, North Dakota's East & West Excavating, the right equipment was Komatsu, and the right partner was General Equipment & Supplies, Inc.
In August 2012, Chad Lee and Jeff Jordheim began East & West Excavating. The company focuses on underground utilities such as sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water main installation, and site work such as site grading, concrete prep, and other earthwork. Other specialties include water treatment, pond rehab and cleaning, and landfill expansion, etc. The co-founders of East & West Excavating, which now has eight employees, have known each other since their teens and had been co-workers for 12 years prior to going into business together. Lee says, "We had been working for another excavating company in Western North Dakota and figured, if we were going to be away from home so often, we would work for ourselves."
Starting Out with the Right Equipment
The impetus to pull the trigger was an opportunity that came in the form of a developer who needed work to be done. The first gig required equipment, and East & West Excavating turned towards 30-year old, General Equipment & Supplies, Inc. and Salesman Wayne Slinger. The Fargo, North Dakota-based business is the local Komatsu dealer and sells, rents, services and fabricates heavy construction equipment from the company. Komatsu America is a subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd., which was established in Japan in 1921. The company is in 151 nations around the world and is the second largest manufacturer and supplier of earth-moving equipment, consisting of construction, mining and compact construction equipment.
Lee and Jordheim knew Komatsu from their previous 20 years of work experience and greatly appreciated the equipment. Jordheim says of General Equipment and Komatsu, "They sold us our first machines. Their service is impeccable but with Komatsu helping, it makes it even better."
The Komatsu CARE program raises service to another level. The exclusive service program features complimentary factory scheduled maintenance. It's a complete service and advanced product support solution that Komatsu and their distributors provide to customers for the life of the machine. Equipment owners can toss out their calendars because Komatsu machines come with KOMTRAX, an advanced remote monitoring data system that provides access to specific machine data via the Internet and sends a notification when a machine is due for service. An authorized Komatsu distributor performs the service. Jordheim says of Komatsu's service, "They take care of you after the sale."
East & West Excavating, which covers the entire state of North Dakota, uses Komatsu exclusively, even for it's used equipment. The original decision to stay with Komatsu was a simple one according to Jordheim, "Our first machine went two and a half years and had no breakdowns so we stuck with them and won't leave them."
Both Lee and Jordheim are impressed with Komatsu's intelligence equipment that their company uses primarily for site work. "Many won't embrace it because they can't appreciate the GPS system. I've engulfed myself in the system and have become very comfortable with it," says Jordheim. Lee's son who went to school for web design also helps with the GPS system. If the right information is put in the system and the CAD drawing is correct, one can build stake less grading. Cutting out stakes allows East & West Excavating to cut angles and grades that they would not normally be able to do. "Without Komatsu's GPS, we would have to ad-lib. We couldn't get the cut without the GPS," says Jordheim. This also leads to a cost savings.
The Komatsu D61 PXi-23 is a crawler dozer, which features intelligent machine control. The blade moves to the target surface until the load reaches a preset level, and it automatically rises to minimize track slip. Should the load decrease, the blade will lower to re-load a blade to an optimum level. It requires no cables, coiled cables, or climbing. Jordheim notes that the Komatsu D61 PXi-23 enabled East & West Excavating win a bid to reconstruct a lime sludge pond. "We came in under budget." The previous company had destroyed the pond. The job included two straight months of dirt work for East & West Excavating.
"˜Adapt and Overcome'
In addition, Komatsu's wide variety of equipment allows East & West Excavating to take on a whole host of different job types. Lee and Jordheim are willing take on an all kinds of projects including those that are new to them. This fearlessness and willingness to adjust is part of Lee's philosophy, "Adapt and overcome. If something surprising comes up, figure it out, and work around it." It's also why East & West Excavating continues to get called back by the city of Williston, North Dakota, one of its main clients.
On a recent job in Williston, East & West Excavating completely balanced a site where an apartment building would stand. They brought in gravel to get the job done. "We needed a packer, and they found it. General Equipment & Supplies was able to get it to us exactly when we needed it. This is typical for them because if we need something, they find it for us." Should a problem arise, General Equipment & Supplies will help guide and turn the situation around for East & West Excavating.
Beyond the Komatsu service, both Lee and Jordheim rave about the company's fuel economy, the equipment's infrequent breakdowns, and cycle time with the excavators. "The machines are excellent and have changed how we do site work," says Lee.
As East & West Excavating continues to put itself out there and take the interesting jobs that come its way, they appreciate having a good partner in their local Komatsu dealer General Equipment & Supplies. Lee and Jordheim say, "They are very helpful and have always came through for us." With Komatsu their equipment of choice, East & West Excavating is ready to take on all jobs.