Veit, with the help of industry partners such as SITECH Northland, continues to lead the way in onsite work by delivering next-generation connected worksites.
Founded in 1928, Veit & Company Inc. has long been a technology leader in the site preparation and civil engineering market segment in the Upper Midwest. Over the years, this family business has expanded its services from earthmoving to large-scale demolition, foundations, dredging, utilities, waste management and industrial cleaning. The company’s nearly 100 years of success is a tribute to multi-generational vision, talented and hardworking employees, and a focus on state-of-the-art tools and equipment.
Britton Lawson, director of building technologies at Veit, attributes much of the company’s success to its technology culture.
“It’s a mindset that’s been fostered over generations and an attitude that helps us continually improve performance, quality and safety in every job,” he said.
The company was an early adopter of the traxcavator (a hydraulic tractor/excavator), hydraulic rippers, wheel and articulated loaders, and more recently, one of the first high-reach backhoes and rock drills. downhole percussion of the region.
Today, Veit continues to lead the way in deploying modern talent and technology to complete some of the most complex projects in the industry. With over 30 3D machine control systems used on bulldozers, excavators, graders and skid steer loaders; 30 rovers and total stations; and more than 50 base stations, the company operates one of the largest technology fleets in the upper Midwest.
With all this investment, some might ask, “What’s next?”
“The real challenge for us is logistics,” Lawson said. “We have many projects going on at the same time in multiple states, so equipment needs to be moved daily to facilitate jobs. When it comes to technology, workflow, and process improvements, our focus is is to provide connectivity.”
Further promoting his motto “Never settle, dig deeper”, Veit, with the help of industry partners such as SITECH Northlandcontinues to lead the way in construction sites by offering next-generation connected construction sites.
At any given time, Veit could have 100 to 120 commercial, industrial, energy and infrastructure projects underway nationwide, with a focus on the Upper Midwest.
“During peak construction periods, we have many operators and machines on various projects in many states. We need to be able to react quickly in response to issues that arise in this fast-paced environment. Fast file transfers are critical,” Lawson said.
In the past, Veit relied on familiar data transfer methods such as email and VPNs, both of which require time, money and expertise. Today, all of its GPS-guided machine control systems, base stations, rovers, and total stations are cloud-connected, making it easy to transfer 3D project files to field crews.
“One of our greatest business advantages is our ability to get information across quickly, accurately and efficiently to our people and equipment,” Lawson said. “We can send designs to any machine at any job site anywhere in the world, giving our teams the most up-to-date information. If our teams have questions about a culvert, fence or any other project detail we can add to the template and easy sync. No more laptops or USB sticks.”
The construction technology team relies on Trimble Business Center to create templates that can be shared with field teams. The team uses Trimble WorksManager as part of Veit’s connected workflow to wirelessly transfer data such as 3D buildable models to the construction site.
Over the past year, the company has also put Trimble WorksOS software to work connecting office design data to machine control data for real-time progress and productivity updates such as cut, fill, volume and compaction data.
Lawson said, “We didn’t realize or think about the value of real-time data when we invested in digital connectivity, but it’s a huge benefit.”
Veit teams first tested WorksOS on a very large distribution warehouse project in the summer of 2020.
“It was a huge job that required us to move 20,000 to 30,000 yards a day, totaling about 600,000 yards over a period of about five weeks. We had multiple scrapers, bulldozers, excavators, trucks and other equipment on site,” Lawson said. “By connecting to control data from our machines, we were able to check quantities and track our progress on schedule. Best of all, we got all the work done without a single stake in the ground.”
Veit crews used two excavators equipped with the Trimble Earthworks grade control platform to excavate all of the linear and footings.
“With WorksOS connected to Trimble Earthworks, we were able to quantify the number of footings and the number of linear feet of material made each day,” he said. “Now we can assess our production capabilities for future estimates and offers.”
With WorksOS, Veit teams are able to get near real-time machine mapping data. Lawson continued, “We can see the amount moved in a day on a job site, compare load counts and production quantities, even on a bulldozer. We’ve never had production data for bulldozer operations, just best guesses. But, with WorksOS, hardware push quantities and hours are automatically counted, helping us bid future projects more accurately.”
The company’s technology-centric mentality also opens the door to innovative thinking in the field.
Collective decision making
“One of the intangible benefits we have gained from our investment in machine control and other systems is the way it empowers our operators. We have found that they are more immersed in the process and taking subsequent decision, which results in better quality work,” Lawson said.
He pointed to an increasingly common construction site event related to the movement of dirt. Typically, a foreman dictates how dirt is moved in a cut/fill situation. Now, with real-time data, operators and workers can work with the foreman to help them make more informed decisions. It’s a much more collective decision-making process.
“Because material and design data is readily available in the field, our teams come up with ideas to improve common practices such as digging building foundations or bridges to improve safety, accuracy or speed” , did he declare.
Recognizing this increased collaborative process, the Veit Construction Technology Group is hosting internal GPS training sessions to further explore the systems’ features and functionality for their field teams.
As Veit’s fleet has grown, so have the number of support questions.
“We don’t expect our operators to be experts in software features and functionality after just one training session,” Lawson said. “Our training focus is more on introducing them to the features. Then, as the majority of operators are hands-on learners, when they have the opportunity to implement a feature, they can call and we can walk them through it. throughout the process.”
A key component of this field support is Trimble Remote Assistant, a real-time technical support application for field staff and machine operators, which is especially beneficial for new hires.
“Often, at the height of our build season, new operators will be thrown into a machine with very little training,” Lawson said. “With Remote Assistant, we can guide them through the process as if we were in the cabin with them: they are up and running very quickly.”
The Remote Assistant has also become invaluable to Lawson for machine diagnostics.
“Instead of driving to a job site, we can connect to any machine our operator has and diagnose a problem – no more waiting for a technician to drive to the job site,” Lawson said. “In many cases, they can return to work while we work on an issue. That’s a huge plus because we’re not shutting down the operator, the foreman, or the entire production. Ultimately, improved availability.”
Lawson estimated that the company has virtually streamlined the process and reduced help desk costs by almost 200% since implementing Remote Assistant.
Veit’s legacy of technology adoption has been integral to the company’s growth over the years, according to Lawson, who added that management support is second to none.
“Realizing the value of technology investment and application is not possible by one person – it is a business commitment that requires full management buy-in,” he said.
He also stresses the importance of industry relations to keep abreast of industry progress. SITECH Northland is Veit’s home base for all things construction technology.
“Our relationship with them has really grown over the years as we have expanded our fleet, and particularly as we have focused on new capabilities and connectivity,” he said. “They are often the ones who introduce us to new technologies that can help improve workflows, safety or productivity. They have been a great partner and ally along this journey.”
Ultimately, Lawson emphasizes the value of relationships – both with people and solutions – as key contributors to business success. “Our time is valuable, our crew’s time is valuable and our equipment is a significant investment,” he said. “The sooner we can get data to our teams, the better off we’ll all be. The technology – machine control, GPS, underwater sensors, software and more, is great, but the greatest value to all of us is when everything is connected, which has opened the door to opportunities we didn’t know existed.”