Meyer, RMS Share Priority of Finding Creative Solutions

Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) excavators like this PC490LCi allow Meyer Contracting to complete pipe jobs efficiently. “We can have all the plans in the excavators, set our limits, and we’re good to go,” said Vice President Mark Conte. “We dig just the right amount. We back fill exactly what we need to. We save time and material, and we can use our crews more effectively.” (RMS photo)

Wed July 06, 2022
Road Machinery &?Supplies Co.

Completing projects requires more than manpower and diesel fuel. Every job site poses unique obstacles that must be dealt with. Some of the solutions are as simple as adding a machine to the fleet, but others require real ingenuity. The constant challenge to provide those solutions for its customers is what drives Meyer Contracting Inc.

"Once you understand the customer's needs — and then meet them — you'll have a successful project and a satisfied customer," said President and Chief Operating Officer Verlyn Schoep. "In order to do that, we adopt our clients' values and make them extremely important to us."

Those values change with each project. Schoep said Meyer Contracting has developed a knack for identifying a customer's main value for a project and understanding how to best meet it, whether it's track time for rail customers or strict timelines for cities and municipalities.

For example, it needed to complete a $33 million renovation of Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis before thousands of fans, media and other attendees descended on the area for Super Bowl LII in February of 2018. As a prime contractor on the project, the firm performed removals, grading and underground work at the 12-block site that serves as the centerpiece of downtown Minneapolis today.

"I don't think a stick of pipe that was installed went in as per plan," said Schoep. "We had to come up with some creative work-arounds to accommodate all the pre-existing infrastructure in the area."

Last summer, Meyer Contracting undertook a massive project that included building two roundabouts, redesigning traffic patterns, installing crosswalks and performing utility work on the main road in front of a school on CSAH 30 in Eagan, Minn. The catch? The project needed to be completed between the last day of school in June and the first day of school in September.

"The project came about after a student was killed in a traffic accident on that road," said Vice President Mark Conte. "We had a lot of people and resources on the job. We built both roundabouts concurrently. We had several crews on there, and we had a lot of heavy equipment in a very confined space, which is not something we would have typically done."

Meyer Contracting followed that job up with the Mina Lake spillway project in Mina, S.D. Working through the winter months required its crews to preheat rebar at the site and use thermal couplers to monitor temperature during the curing process as it poured a 2-to-1 slope.

"Originally, we were supposed to install a siphon to drop the lake's water level by 10 feet to install our pipe," explained Schoep. "The lake association didn't want us to do that because it would affect the recreational use of the lake during construction. So, we got creative. We figured out a way to lay pipe underwater and transition into the landside without disrupting the flow. We broke ice, set machines on mats on the ice, installed the pipe and kept the homeowners happy."

Problem solving not only helps Meyer Contracting win more bids, but also gain recognition. The company won an award for the Nicollet Mall project, and Meyer Contracting is thanked on a plaque at Mina Lake.

Accountability Drives Success

For Meyer Contracting, finding solutions that work for its customers is at the company's core, but it hasn't always been a smooth process. Five years ago, the company realized it had an issue.

"We had a company meeting where we set out to develop an estimating system," said Schoep. "It was a great meeting with lots of participation and feedback. Everyone left super excited about it. Then a year later, we took score of what changed ... and nothing had. Everyone went back to their old habits. There was no accountability."

The company set out to define its core values and developed a flywheel model that hangs in its building today.

"Integrity. Coaching. Teamwork. Problem solving. Grit. These five values were picked because they are the traits we want to have as a company," said Schoep.

"We placed them in a circle on purpose," he said. "They all work together, creating momentum. Integrity leads into coaching to develop ourselves. That flows into teamwork and working together. If we're trying to solve a problem, we need lots of ideas and people to then help build off of them — that's problem solving. Through it all, you need to have grit in this business. You have to have an intense desire to succeed."

All five values working together lead to Meyer Contracting's mission: "Developing exceptional people to provide distinct value to our clients."

Additionally, Meyer Contracting replaced its organizational chart with an accountability chart. It developed small groups in which accountability is tracked internally, and ideas and concerns are shared.

"People are held accountable, but also feel more empowered to speak and share," said Vice President MistyLee Quast. "It has really helped us improve productivity, develop more leaders in our company, and strengthen our workforce."

Solutions Partner

Creativity and accountability are two important factors in Meyer Contracting's problem-solving equation. Equipment is another. To work as efficiently as possible, crews need to be able to dig, grade and fill accurately and quickly.

Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) equipment with integrated GPS technology from Road Machinery & Supplies Co. allow Meyer Contracting to do just that. The firm's fleet includes three D51PXi dozers, two D61PXi dozers, two PC490LCi excavators and a PC360LCi excavator.

"During mass site grading, it's much easier to use an iMC machine," said Conte. "We can get to the bottom of the cut and dig footings much faster. We get exactly to grade, and we don't waste any material. Using iMC has been a huge savings for us operationally."

The iMC excavators also enable Meyer Contracting to get even more creative as it did a project in which it designed a file that allowed it to precisely place riprap and bedding underwater.

Pipe installation is another application where the iMC technology stands out.

"We can have all the plans in the excavators, set our limits, and we're good to go," said Conte. "We dig just the right amount. We backfill exactly what we need to. We save time and material, and we can use our crews more effectively."

As for winning over the operators and integrating the machines, Conte said that was a quick process.

"We have operators who have been doing this for 30 years, who typically wouldn't like new technology. But, after 15 minutes of operating an iMC excavator, they're all smiles. It's very user-friendly."

Conte also credits RMS Technology Solutions Expert Chris Potter with making the training process effortless. It's the latest example of the two companies working towards a productive outcome in their relationship of more than 20 years.

"RMS, and especially Phil Major [territory manager], have always been there to help us when we need it," said Conte. "They make things easy to do, and that has also been the case with integrating technology. They helped us understand how to make the machines work for us. Now, we're basically plug and play."

Much like Meyer Contracting does for its clients, Conte said that RMS has worked to make Meyer Contracting's values its own.

"GPS is important to us, and it's important to RMS. We really value that."

About RMS

Road Machinery & Supplies Co. is a distributor of construction and mining equipment with sales and support operations throughout the Upper Midwest. RMS represents backs up its brands up with responsive, knowledgeable product support and technology solutions, enabling customers to complete their jobs safely and on time.

Based in Savage, Minn., RMS operates nine locations across Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and seven affiliated companies in Minnesota and Texas.

RMS' business is anchored by its long relationship with Komatsu, the second largest manufacturer of construction equipment in the world. Other brands represented, such as ASTEC, Epiroc and Sandvik give RMS additional presence in the quarry, mining and conveying industries. RMS plays a sizable role in the highway construction industry as well with products for paving, milling and compaction sourced from manufacturers such as GOMACO, LeeBoy, ASTEC and BOMAG.

RMS supplies the equipment, support and technology solutions that enable its customers to build infrastructure and industry in the communities they serve.

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(This article was provided courtesy of Road Machinery & Supplies Co.)

This story also appears on Construction Equipment Guide.