Contractors Pave the Way With Roadtec Equipment

Mon January 12, 2009 - Northeast Edition
Mary Reed




Roadtec Inc., located in Chattanooga, Tenn., is a supplier of material transfer vehicles in the United States, having captured a 90 to 95 percent market share with its Shuttle Buggy MTV. The second highest seller of milling machines nationally, the company also holds a similar rank in sales of pavers, according to the company.

Roadtec also recently entered the soil stabilizer market with its new SX-7 soil stabilizer/reclaimer.

A member of the Astec Industries group of companies, Roadtec Inc. is proud of the user-friendly operation and maintenance, as well as the reliability and productivity of its products. Roadtec sells every piece of equipment it makes direct from the factory and has assembled a team of service and parts experts who work in-house as well as in the field to service Roadtec products.

Repeat business plays a significant role in the company’s continuing success, and three of its long-standing customers recently talked about their experiences with the company’s services and range of machinery.

Charbon Contracting LCC of Madisonville, Ky., specializes in concrete construction, slipform paving and asphalt scarification and milling.

Formerly Charbon Bridge Company, it has been in the milling business since the 1970s, performing this work primarily in Kentucky and also in Indiana and Tennessee as well as occasional projects across the southeast.

“We own 12 Roadtec mills,” Brett Kik, co-owner and vice-president of operations, said. “Our first Roadtec mill was purchased in 1991 and is still in our fleet.

“Our milling work is 95 percent subcontract work and we have to be dependable for our prime contractors,” he added. “When we need parts or service we usually need them very quickly and Roadtec parts and service does an excellent job of keeping us running. Our organization focuses on teamwork to provide our service and we consider the staff at Roadtec a very crucial part of our team.”

Roadtec prides itself on its after-sales support. Should repairs be needed, parts can be obtained directly from the factory, which can reduce clients’ costs. Minimum orders are not required and Roadtec’s 24-hour emergency service carries no extra expediting charges. In addition, the company’s support — its service and parts departments are open around the clock — means less downtime, which in turn aids its customers’ return on investment, adding to profitability.

John Irvine, vice-president of sales and marketing of Roadtec Inc., concurred, noting customers repeatedly purchase the company’s equipment because Roadtec offers what he described as “the best support in the industry.”

“That is because we are the manufacturer of this equipment and no one knows this equipment better than we do. When customers call our parts department, they rarely have a part number, but we take care of them anyway. If they call our service department, our guys have the schematics in their head. They have heard it before. They know how to fix the problem. We get them up and running on the spot the majority of the time,” he said.

Another factor influencing repeat purchases by customers, some of whom own 20 to 30 or more pieces of Roadtec equipment, is the simple design of the machinery.

“For example, we hardwire our machines,” Irvine said. “It costs more to produce a machine this way, but avoiding computers and CAN-bus systems in this harsh environment creates more uptime for our customers and allows them to help themselves because a decent mechanic can fix our machines. Swapping of expensive computer modules is not necessary.”

Asphalt and concrete paving contractor E & B Paving Inc., is headquartered in Anderson, Ind. Incorporated in 1967, the company handles a variety of commercial, city, state and federal projects with about three quarters of its work in the public sector. The company’s area of operations includes the northeastern, southwestern, and central parts of Indiana.

E & B Paving has a long-standing friendly rivalry with C. W. Matthews Contracting in Atlanta, Ga., as to which company owns more Roadtec equipment. Currently, it appears E & B has the edge with 35 Roadtec pavers and 12 Shuttle Buggy MTVs, although since Matthews also owns Roadtec mills they may be drawing ahead.

“The earliest piece of Roadtec equipment we purchased and still own is a RP 1810 paver, and that was bought in 1997,” E & B Maintenance Superintendent Dave Christman recalled. “Of our current fleet, five Roadtec pavers have over 10,000 hours on them, and seven have over 5,000.”

Christman, who described his job as “keeping ’em smoking,” added, “Owning as much Roadtec equipment as we do, we keep their standardized parts in stock, which helps tremendously with our inventory. Many parts are interchangeable — for example chains, bearings and screed plates — but if we need to order them, 90 percent of the time they arrive within 24 hours. They are able to get parts to us here in central Indiana in eight hours, if necessary. Even if they are out of stock or have to be made specially the longest we have had to wait is three days. In fact, they are so responsive to our needs that I have known them take parts off a machine they were building to keep us going.”

“From the first day we owned Roadtec equipment, their support has been phenomenal,” he added. “All management is available 24/7. The company is receptive to input on how their machines can be made better, and have changed them as a result of such comments countrywide. As a result, the machines with which we started are different from the ones we have now.”

Asphalt paving contractor LoJac Enterprises Inc., based in Lebanon, Tenn., is another long-time client of Roadtec Inc. Its services include storm drainage, utilities and grading work as well as laying base stone on projects ranging from city street rehabilitation to interstate construction.

“We have been a Roadtec customer for approximately 15 to 18 years,” Equipment Superintendent Paul Swann said, “and we own eight of their pavers, three 25-ton Shuttle Buggies and three milling machines — one apiece of the RX60, RX 500, and RX900 models. Our two oldest Roadtec machines are 1999 models.”

As have other Roadtec customers, Swann praised the company’s parts department.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time they have the part you want, and if it has to be manufactured you’ll get it in about three days, which is very efficient from a time point of view. Also we do not have to purchase from Roadtec so we can also get parts locally, which again saves time.”

As part of Roadtec’s customer service, clients may avail themselves of service schools held each winter, where hands-on instruction is given in separate classes on material transfer vehicles, milling machines and pavers. General operation, hydraulics, electrical and maintenance of the various pieces of equipment also are covered. In addition, the company runs paving operator-training courses covering asphalt lay down, testing equipment and rolling, and featuring both hands-on work and classroom work.

“As far as service goes, we do not use that department a lot due to their training seminars, which our technicians attend yearly, though when we use Roadtec’s technicians, they are excellent,” Swann noted. “One incident last year stands out. We had trouble with a machine and it happened one of Roadtec’s technicians was passing by. He stopped and helped fix the machine and get it running again.”

This July, Roadtec reported record sales for its road construction machinery, which rose by more than 22 percent year-over-year in the first half of 2008. The company attributes this growth largely to an increased share of the asphalt paver market, which was responsible for a 50.3 percent growth in North American sales for the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2007. Roadtec’s half-lane and larger mill sales were up 14 percent from the same period last year, while shipments of its Shuttle Buggy material transfer vehicles increased 2l percent year-over-year, largely because of international interest.

President Jeff Richmond, in speaking of these results, said, “Customers are loyal to those who can supply well-engineered equipment and our level of support. I would like to thank all our customers that are making this success possible.”

(This story also can be found on Construction Equipment Guide’s Web site at www.constructionequipmentguide.

com.) CEG