In part one of this article, Carl Jones, vice president of the Coring & Cutting Group, and concrete contractor, Mike Iiams, owner of Precision Cutting & Coring, shared how their companies benefited by using remote-controlled equipment. The benefits included reduced workers’ compensation claims by making the working environment safer, and a safer work zone made for happier employees. In addition to improving safety, this new technology is pivotal to enticing a younger workforce.
DRAWING A YOUNGER, SAVVIER, CROWD
The new generations have been raised on advanced technology and have a strong desire to avoid manual labor. Cutting-edge robotics that appeal to the sense of technology and reduce or nearly eliminate manual labor will be much more successful in attracting younger workers. The Coring & Cutting Group used robotic demolition and sawing equipment to adapt their group of 25 companies to millennials and, as a result, the average age of their team of about 300 workers is just 25 years old. The group cut their turnover rate from 33 percent before the new equipment to 23 percent today. Productivity, including the speed the group completes jobs and the amount of new work coming in, increased 17 percent over the past 3 years. Jones says they keep the young workers excited and eager to work by holding regular training sessions and spending money on new technology. Jones says the group made the choice to invest in the machines after realizing insurance costs were getting too high, and that it would be difficult to attract new employees to eventually replace their much older crew if they continued their traditional approaches to their strenuous work.
Iiams explains turnover is low for him as well, and about half of his 45 employees are 25 or younger. The contractor says his younger workers are drawn to the high-tech Brokk equipment and are naturals at using it, while his older workers generally prefer not to run the units. But, as a result of using the machines for a portion of the work, the workers don’t need to use handheld tools, and experience the associated wear, as often. He also notes that the robotic equipment helps extend the careers of his older workers as they can limit the more physically demanding aspects of their work. The result is that the company benefits from keeping experienced workers around longer.
SOLUTIONS FROM UNIQUE TECH
The new, fresh-faced workers are demanding safe and efficient methods instead of unnecessary hard labor in their daily tasks. By choosing new technology, such as Brokk remote-controlled demolition machines, as well as cutting equipment, contractors, foundries, and operations in other tough industries, can reduce workplace injuries and workers’ compensation claims. They can then use the ROI to pay for the new equipment. Iiams estimates that, with the savings in injury, EMR and diamond blade costs along with the increase in productivity, it took about one year for him to pay off his smaller Brokk 100 demolition robot, and 2 years for his medium-size Brokk 160 unit. In addition, the investment can improve morale, lower turnover rates and attract a young generation of workers eager to learn to do their work in a unique, new way. ■
About the Author: Peter Bigwood is the vice president of sales and marketing for Brokk’s North American subsidiary. He has more than 25 years of industry and leadership experience. Bigwood is a member of the National Demolition Association, is on the board of the Concrete Sawing and Drilling Association, and is on the safety committee for the Steel Manufacturers Association. www.brokk.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, February 2017
Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe to the FREE Digital Edition of Modern Contractor Solutions magazine.