Aug 16, 2019

More than 250 pieces of machinery working on anywhere between 12 and 15 commercial or industrial excavation jobsites across as many as seven states. That scale of work takes a lot of resources to keep every machine operating at peak capacity.

It’s the daily reality for Port Allen, Louisiana-based Beard Construction, and that’s why Equipment Manager Lee Morrison relies on Sage Oil Vac systems. And he recently took that relationship to a new level with a customized machine that meets specific, unique needs of many of Beard Construction’s jobsites.

By the time Morrison joined the Beard Construction team in 2010, the company was already using Sage systems for mobile fluid changes. The company’s 25 – 30 job superintendents were already familiar with the benefits of using Sage systems for mobile oil changes and lubrication services on the jobsite after having previously worked with a local company to build lubrication units. As mobile maintenance requirements grew and evolved, Morrison saw a need for maintenance equipment that was simple, straightforward and efficient, but could accomplish more on each jobsite.

“Our old units were standard large tank trucks with each unit having its own oil pump. The problem with those units is there are so many pumps and there’s always a leak somewhere, or there’s an issue with the plumbing or pump itself,” Morrison said. “Sage systems are so much less problematic with no pumps, and the plumbing is virtually problem-free. They’re customizable, more compact and they really hold up well.”

Designed for specific applications

The ability to customize Sage systems is a benefit that extends well beyond basic jobsite functionality, and it’s one that Morrison is fully leveraging with the latest addition to the 15-year-old Beard Construction maintenance fleet. On top of the two multi-tank Heritage skids and their jobsite trailer currently doing services, Morrison worked with Sage Customer Service Specialist Kyle Ottmers to build the company’s latest system from the ground up. The process started with an idea and a conversation.

“I wanted a unit designed for specific applications that only had what we needed on it and nothing else,” Morrison said. “We knew the dimensions and that we needed full containment, and we got together and sketched out some drawings and came up with what would work best. With a lot of companies, you’re at their mercy, they have what they have and if you want it customized, you have to do it at your own shop. With this Sage system, we worked together and came up with the exact rig we needed.”

The process yielded a one-of-a-kind machine: By combining a Sage lube skid with a Morooka tracked vehicle, Morrison now can solve a long-standing problem on many jobsites. Working in the southern and southeastern U.S., heavy, wet soils are common on many jobs, making it difficult for operators to maneuver large, heavy service vehicles where they need to be to perform service and maintenance.

Customized machine benefits

Morrison needed a smaller, more maneuverable vehicle to get the job done. Between a Sage lube skid with a smaller physical footprint and a tracked vehicle with a 10×7-foot bed, Morrison worked with Ottmers and the Sage team to customize a maintenance vehicle with everything necessary to provide jobsite maintenance for the company’s excavators and other jobsite machinery.

“The vehicle is based on a Morooka tracked machine and a Sage lube skid. It’s not like anything we’ve ever done before. We have customized vehicles before, but this machine is unique in that it has two product tanks, a place for diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) and a place for grease,” Ottmers said. “The footprint is smaller, and the fluid containment system and different components are all pretty specialized and geared specifically to what Lee was looking for.”

The benefits of the customized machine stretch beyond productivity. It helps Morrison better manage labor, and it’s a safer, cleaner way to provide jobsite machinery maintenance.

“Some of the jobsites we got this unit for probably have $10 million worth of equipment on them. The better you can keep that equipment serviced, the more value you’ll have in it in the long run,” he said. “This machine matches our needs 100% from a labor standpoint, and it helps us achieve our No. 1 priority of safety. Everything is at an arm’s reach for the operator, and the controls are simple and easy to use. And, we’re not leaking any grease or oil on the ground. That’s huge for us since being environmentally sound is important to this company.”

Future work with Sage

Moving forward, Morrison expects the company’s next 15 years to build on the success of its first decade and a half. A big part of that growth and advancement will come in streamlining equipment and machinery to best meet the specific needs of the large-scale excavation jobs that are common for the company. Tools like Sage mobile lubrication systems will be a large part of that ongoing evolution.

“As we continue to update our fleet, I want to continually add customized systems like this to our mobile lubrication lineup so that we are working with machines that meet our direct, specific needs. Gone are the days when we will work with machines that are generic and straight off the shelf. These Sage systems are low-maintenance. We believe in quality, and quality pays.”

In addition to the utility of Sage systems on Beard Construction’s jobsites, Morrison said they have already shown promise for other areas of the business. Not only do they work more efficiently, they also provide a visual representation of Beard Construction’s innovation and attention to productivity and efficiency.

“In the long run, if you buy quality equipment, it will generally pay for itself,” Morrison said. “When we go to our large industrial clients, it’s no small bid. You are selected for these large bids based on your performance, safety, innovation and how proactive you are with how you operate and the equipment you use. These machines help us get the job done and leave a better impression with our customers.”


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