After the purchase of the RDS-15, Riverside Sand Company began to process recycled concrete, a new market for the small North Carolina company. Recycled concrete now accounts for about 95 percent of the business.
One of the wisest things an aggregate business owner can do is diversify. As markets constantly change, planning ahead and preparing to adapt is key to making or breaking it. Not only that, but diversifying gives these business owners an opportunity to explore markets they may have never considered before.
Riverside Sand Company, a family-owned business out of Wallace, N.C., took this approach.
For more than 25 years, Riverside specialized in processing sand and gravel for use in brick projects, playgrounds, golf courses and concrete pre-casting. The company also had a trucking division for delivering ordered materials to customers. It was the one thing that kept Riverside from being a one-channel company.
After a quarter of a century, the company had its trucking and sand and gravel operations down to a T. But Riverside Vice President Wade Norris knew such a narrow focus could be dangerous long term. He began looking into options for the next move.
Little did Norris know at the time, the steps he took to diversify would be the pivotal point in shaping Riverside's future.
Norris researched new markets and machinery and saw an opportunity with an aggregate business that was closing its doors. The North Carolina operation had focused on processing materials for the concrete market, a segment Riverside had never served. Norris knew there was opportunity with the company and its large range of equipment, including an 18-year-old IROCK RDS-15 closed-circuit plant. Norris traveled to the business owner's site to see the unit in action.
Riverside had been operating with a stationary impact crusher from a different manufacturer to process sand and gravel. While it appeared to be meeting needs, Norris was just seeing a hint of the productivity the company had been missing out on. One look at the IROCK RDS-15 and it was clear the machine would open the door for new opportunities since it had several features toincrease efficiency. Not only that, but the unit incorporated both a screener and crusher.
In addition, the unit is able to recirculate material. After the initial round of screening, operators can set the machine to automatically return both decks of oversized material back to the crusher for additional sizing. Riverside's previous system required an extra person and an additional loader or excavator to pick up oversized materials and manually re-feed the crusher. While it might sound simple, this feature alone would help the business reduce expenses and boost production by as much as 20 percent.
Norris also saw that it would help Riverside branch out even further than he hoped and allow the company to perform contract work for concrete customers along the East Coast. With the portable unit, he and his team could essentially go where the work was rather than wait for it to come to them.
This was possible because the crushing plant's rapid deployment system (RDS) makes the unit exceptionally portable, not to mention quick and easy to set up — key benefits if the Riverside crew were to take the unit on the road.
Norris jumped at the chance to purchase the crushing plant. Overnight, Riverside gained the ability to process recycled concrete, a brand-new market for the small company. On top of that, Riverside was able to offer its services on the go; with the RDS-15, it could provide customers onsite crushing services. It was ideal for companies that had materials to crush but lacked the equipment to do so.
Riverside quickly gained concrete customers, and it wasn't long before its customer base had grown exponentially. Very quickly, the company's usual residential and commercial builders, manufacturers and landscapers were taking advantage of Riverside's expanded offerings. In addition, by simple word of mouth among those in these industries, new customers learned of the new crushing company and began requesting products and services.
“We couldn't continue to put all of our eggs in one basket. If we had kept relying strictly on sand and gravel, I don't know that we would have survived when market demands changed,” Norris said. “But expanding our services to include crushing concrete and on-the-go crushing gave us another avenue of income when the sand business was down.”
The New Impact at Riverside
Buying the RDS-15 closed-circuit plant made all the difference for both Riverside and its expanding customer base. The RDS-15's return conveyor cuts out the associated operating expenses and labor costs. For example, in a 10-hour day, an employee earns about $200. Add the cost of running, fueling, repairing and maintaining an additional piece of equipment, which averages about $100 per hour, and the total is roughly $7,200 in a six-day workweek. The savings are substantial.
Norris says concrete has risen to the top of Riverside's production list and now accounts for about 95 percent of the business. The company crushes an average of 800 tons of concrete per day.
Seeing things were going well, Norris decided to take it one step further. The unit had worked well, but it had been in operation for nearly two decades. Norris had worked with the IROCK team on several occasions to ask questions and fulfill parts and service needs. He was always impressed with IROCK's support, he said, so what came next was a natural progression.
Hitting the Road
Norris decided the used RDS-15 would be best as a backup crusher and screening plant and Riverside would further excel with a new crusher on the front lines. During one of his calls with IROCK, Norris discussed purchasing a new unit. Just three months after he purchased the used machine, he and IROCK closed the deal on a new RDS-15.
However, rather than using the new RDS-15 on site as he expected, the new unit became the company's traveling machine and the intended standby crusher remained stationary at the Riverside site. Riverside has been running both crushers steadily ever since.
Riverside's mobile crew and machine travel to sites within two hours of home base, where contractors have stockpiled anywhere from 4,000 to more than 165,000 tons of material for Riverside to crush and sort.
The RDS-15's closed-circuit design makes it ideal for the road. Because the machine incorporates both a screener and a crusher, there's little need to purchase or haul a screener separately.
“The bottom line is, this plant is the whole kit and caboodle on one chassis,” Norris said. “We can drag it down the road, pull into a customer's site and set up. We don't have to haul the crusher with one truck and a screen with another. It's all right there together.”
This traveling crew recognizes the importance of this, as the RDS unit is just a portion of the traveling operation. With all of the conveyors, excavators and other equipment, the crew has to transport a total of nine loads of equipment in and out of each job. One load fewer is something the team embraces, and the savings show.
The journey through diversification isn't one that will end soon for Riverside. As Norris looks back, he knows that taking chances and looking for new, more profitable opportunities is key to staying successful in an ever-changing market.
For more information about Riverside Sand Company, visit www.riversidesand.com.
For more information about IROCK Crushers, visit www.irockcrushers.com.