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Down to Earth, Down to Business

Machine technology improves efficiency for Maryland-based SEH Excavating Contractors, Inc.

Success in the site-development game is about being more efficient and cost-effective. To maintain its competitive edge, SEH, based in Finksburg, Md., employs technology that makes the company more adept at meeting ever-more-demanding schedules on tighter and tighter jobsites.

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“We’re always looking for the newest, easiest solutions,” says Scot Hare, president of SEH. “Smaller machines such as the John Deere 135G Excavator give us more versatility in tight spaces. And GPS-equipped crawlers ensure we get it right the first time. We started using them about two years ago, and now they are standard equipment on all of our jobs.”

SmartGrade, Smart Thinking

When we visited SEH at a residential site, the company was demoing a new John Deere 700K SmartGrade™ Dozer. A few weeks later, they ordered one.

“Because GPS is integrated, you don’t have masts that can snag tree limbs or cords hanging down that are easily damaged,” says SEH Superintendent Jason Gouge. “Setup is much faster and easier, too. We don’t have to calibrate everything every time we get in the machine. It takes a half-hour instead of several hours.”

Gouge proudly claims to have converted SEH to Deere almost 20 years ago. “My brother, who is also a superintendent, and I demoed 650J and 850J Crawlers against comparable competitor machines. The Deere machines held a steep slope, while the competitor machine slid all the way down. We bought both dozers, and we still run them today.

“We keep upgrading to newer Deere dozers. The machines keep getting more comfortable and user-friendly. And with enhancements such as Eco mode and Total Machine Control, the performance keeps getting better and better. They’re just phenomenal grading machines — when you’re done, it looks like a golf course.”

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Scot Hare, President of SEH Excavating Contractors, Inc., built the company on a foundation of exceptional customer service and a commitment to getting the job done right the first time.

Baltimore’s Ravin’

SEH has been in business for 27 years. Hare started on his own, digging foundations for a custom-home builder. “My first jobs were excavating and backfilling using a track loader,” says Hare. “Eventually I wanted to get into more site-development work, so we acquired some dozers and rollers, and grew from there.” Word began to spread about SEH and the company began to grow. “We take a lot of pride in getting the job done right and on time,” says Hare.

Today, the company employs 115 people and provides full-service site development at commercial and residential locations around Baltimore and in Maryland. It runs 17 crews handling approximately 30 jobs at any given time. The company purchased its first piece of John Deere equipment in 1998 and today owns almost 50 John Deere machines, including crawlers, excavators, wheel loaders, and articulated dump trucks.

Deere machines are extremely easy to service and maintain. One of the key features for me is the onboard diagnostics. The monitor provides easy-to-understand messages that really speed servicing and reduce downtime.”

—Jamey Hooper

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Simplifying Fleet Management

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To manage its large fleet, SHE’s Service Manager, Jamey Hooper, oversees 13 people, including shop technicians, road mechanics, laborers, a welder, and a fabricator.

“Deere machines are extremely easy to service and maintain,” observes Hooper. “One of the key features for me is the onboard diagnostics. The monitor provides easy-to-understand messages that really speed servicing and reduce downtime.”

JDLink telematics help Hooper centrally manage the entire fleet. The machine-monitoring system helps minimize downtime and maximize productivity and efficiency by providing real-time alerts and utilization data. Hooper receives alerts from JDLink on his smartphone. “I can quickly dispatch one of my road technicians to a machine before something becomes a major problem.”

If needed, Hooper can have the dealer establish a remote-diagnostics connection with a JDLink-enabled machine. “If it’s a software issue, they can perform the update remotely. Or if they determine a service visit is needed, they can send a technician to the jobsite with the right part the first time, avoiding the time and expense of an initial diagnostic trip.”

The dealer can also set up a virtual fence that alerts SEH if an unauthorized person is trying to move the machine. And JDLink allows Hooper to monitor fuel usage, idleness, and service intervals. “Idle time is one of our worst enemies. It’s just fuel and money going up the tailpipe. JDLink helps us identify where we have issues. Plus the auto-idle and auto-shutdown features on some of our John Deere wheel loaders further prevent needless idling.”

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Down to Earth, Down to Business

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