Savvy business owners often name “flexibility” as the reason they’re able to navigate through changing economic times, always managing to find — and meet — the best opportunities. The other side of the story probably is being very smart and very demanding when it comes to choosing vendors and suppliers who can support your goals, your work style and your deadlines.
An unassuming guy, Dave Beisler would probably shrug off the “savvy” description. The rest of the comment, however, he’d have trouble arguing against — while a fickle economy has turned successful and well-located companies into nothing but memories, Beisler’s business continues growing, slow and steady, almost under the radar screen.
Beisler has sand and gravel running through his veins — his family owned a blue stone quarry — but it was on his own that he started and grew his businesses. One of his first ventures, an excavation and construction company, is still operating today, and was actually the reason why he acquired Seward Sand and Gravel.
“We bought the pit to use the gravel, so we didn’t have to buy it from someone else for our projects,” explained Beisler.
The way the Beislers — Dave, Dave’s brother and partner, Paul, and Dave’s son Sam — balance relationships with their customers and competitors is important, since in many cases, their customers and their competitors can be one and the same.
In the excavating and construction business, Dave and his team try hard not to step on their current customers’ toes. Even construction companies that are competing with the Beislers still go to Seward to buy sand, gravel, crushed stone or aggregate, or, they hire Seward to do contract crushing for them.
Well aware that for sand and gravel customers, travel time adds not just an inconvenience but also an unwanted expense, the Beislers have six pits and they will deliver within a 30 to 50 mile radius. In addition, they offer product nobody else has, such as washed stone and filtered sand for septic systems, and, when it comes to doing contract work onsite, they are always ready, according to the company.
A company that is balancing such intricate relationships and working in an environment where good projects are harder and harder to find needs to rely on top-of–the-line equipment, backed by solid vendors.
“There are three parties in that relationship,” said Dave Beisler’s son, Sam, explaining their reasons for choosing a particular supplier. “One is us, the customer, the second one is the equipment manufacturer and the third one is the dealer. If you can’t get the part that you need, what good is the best machine to you?”
The Beislers are particularly demanding when it comes to their mobile crushing and screening plants. A customer may choose to look the other way if he finds the Beislers competing with him for the same project, but if Seward fails them as a crushing and screening contractor or as an aggregate supplier, that’s a whole different story.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that when it comes to crushing and screening the Beislers are very clear — they cannot afford downtime. And since their equipment supplier works under the same demanding agenda, Seward’s crushing and screening plants never seem to give up.
Sager Loganathan, the Beislers’ sales representative from Milton CAT, puts it succinctly — “We go to bat for them,” and Dave Beisler agreed. Talking about the dealer’s level of response to their service and parts tight demands, Seward’s founder said, “We like Milton CAT because they are fair. Actually, they are more than fair.”
Seward has bought six Metso crushing and screening plants from Milton CAT, including several mobile, tracked plants for contract work. Sam mentioned the quick and easy setup as one of the big advantages of the Metso mobile plants.
“The typical setup includes a jaw, cone, conveyor and screen, and it takes us about one hour.”
The plants’ ease of transportation also contributes to the agility with which Seward can respond to its customers’ needs, and therefore, develop another competitive advantage.
“The dimensions are just right, large enough to handle a big range of jobs but not so enormous that it becomes a headache to get to the job site,” stated Sam.
What Will the Future Bring?
There’s no sure answer here, but there are a few things that the Beislers consider certain: regulations will certainly continue posing a challenge; tight emissions requirements for example are not likely to become any looser and the same can be said about water pollution, dust and smoke. As the mostly rural area where Seward is located gets more populated, hours of operation also will be more regulated.
And what will the Beislers do? Stick to what works — maintaining their flexible mix, carrying on with site work, growing business relationships, being very demanding but very appreciative customers to their own dealer, and in general, as Sam Beisler put it, “keeping work in front of our machines and keeping our customers happy.”
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