People often think fondly about how business used to be conducted. A day where a person's word was his or her bond, a handshake is all it took to complete a deal and serving the customer was, above all else, the primary objective.
While other companies have long forgotten about this business style, Kevin Yount and All Metals Market (AMM) of Fremont, Neb., still put this into practice. From walking curious customers through its scrap training and education facility to assisting peddler traffic through the drop-off process to offering quick turnaround container service for its commercial customers, AMM's mission is to provide superior customer service.
“We make sure we have a customer-friendly operation and walk anyone through the process,” explained Yount, owner of AMM. “This gives them a reason to come back.”
For its commercial customers, if there is a company from Omaha to Lincoln generating scrap, AMM has a roll-off container there. Whereas other companies take the philosophy of picking up a full container when it fits into their schedule, AMM is much more proactive.
“We have 15 trucks dedicated to this service and make sure we turn a container within 24 hours of receiving a call that it is full,” said Yount.
While this type of business philosophy may seem a little old-fashioned based in today's business environment, there's nothing old-fashioned about its results. The company has experienced significant growth, especially since the 2007-08 timeframe.
When Yount took over the business in 1987 from his retiring father, who started AMM as a side business, Kevin was the only employee.
For the first few years, it was a good day to see 2 to 3 trucks come into the yard along with local peddler traffic.
“But today we receive up to 20 of our containers and five to ten trailers each day,” said Yount, and the business is poised for future growth.
Although growth is good, it begins to show areas where an increase in efficiency is required to maintain the desired level of customer service. One area requiring improvement for AMM was in how it handled its scrap material.
“The short reach of the excavators at the yard hindered operators from keeping up with the inflow of material,” explained Jay Young, scrap and recycling sales manager of Roadbuilders Machinery and Supply Company, an authorized distributor of Terex Fuchs equipment. “They were handling material two and three times before processing it and that wasn't efficient.”
Long Reach, More Efficient
Of greater concern facing AMM with increased material inflow, operators had to stack material higher. This made visibility an issue, as stockpiles of scrap grew and high-wall trucks delivered material more frequently, which demanded efficient unloading. The converted excavators on the yard offered limited elevated vision, which did not help the situation.
Yount worked with Roadbuilders Machinery to find a purpose-built material handler solution that would more efficiently offload high-wall trailers and stockpile material.
“After discussing his needs, we determined that the Terex Fuchs MHL350 D material handler was the right fit for the operation,” recalled Young.
One change from the tracked excavators on the yard, the new material handlers had a rubber tire drive system. As AMM transitioned more of the yard from a hard aggregate base to concrete, a tire machine was the right choice.
“Plus,” said Yount, “the material handlers with tire drive get around the yard quickly, and they can pick a considerable amount of weight.”
The primary benefit for AMM, however, turned out to be machine reach.
“We bought the MHL350 D handler for its reach,” added Yount. This model offers a standard 52.5-ft. (16 m) reach, nearly twice as far as the excavators on AMM's yard. This extended reach enabled the processor to reduce the number of times the scrap material was handled, boosting efficiency.
As an added bonus, AMM's operators discovered significant benefits of switching to a material handler that offered an elevated cab design. The MHL350 D handler features a hydraulically height-adjustable cab with up to an 18.4-ft. (5.6 m) maximum eye level elevation.
The ability to elevate the cab helps operators to see better when loading and unloading trailers and the processing equipment at the scrap yard,” said Young.
Yount added, “For us, it's also about safety. The ability to improve visibility through the elevated cab helps us to safely handle the material.”
While the material handlers have helped AMM improve productivity, efficiency and safety, Yount still keeps a number of excavators at the yard.
“I'm an equipment nut, and if I need a piece of equipment, I want it nearby,” said Yount. “The excavators are relegated to doing the short-reach, tedious stuff. The real lifting and long reach work is left to the Terex Fuchs material handlers.”
The efficiencies gained at the yard gave Yount the confidence to take advantage of an opportunity to expand AMM's commercial business. A manufacturer of metal tubes had a need for an operation to process its out-of-spec product.
“It comes in all different sizes and diameters, from 2- to 14-inch round tubes to lengths reaching 42-feet,” explained Yount.
Initially, AMM partnered with another company to process the material. However, its partner found cutting the tubes into the smaller sizes required by the steel mill to be easier said than done. Many more truckloads of this material came through the gates each day than could be processed, so the out-of-spec tubes quickly stockpiled.
When it came time to review procedures, it was left up to AMM to go it alone and find a more efficient way to process the scrap material. Yount came up with a plan that involved a new type of shear and another material handler.
“I didn't look for or try any other type of loading equipment,” he said. “I trust Roadbuilders and the Terex Fuchs material handlers.”
A new gravity-fed, 2,000-ton (1,814 t) guillotine shear was installed at AMM's Fremont, Neb., facility specifically for processing the steel tubes. The company also purchased a third MHL350 D material handler, with its primary mission dedicated to processing the out-of-spec material. The elevated cab is of particular benefit for this application, as the feed hopper of the gravity shear is higher than that of the high-wall trucks transporting the metal tubes.
Up to five truckloads of the out-of-spec material pass through AMM's gates daily. The handler, with its four-tine grapple, immediately offloads the material, feeds the shear and loads trucks with the processed material.
“We had to go with the four-tine grapple for this application,” explained Yount, “since it's like grabbing a handful of straws.”
AMM's solution is working well for the unusual scrap material. Whereas the other processor could not keep up with the influx of material, AMM's operators are able to efficiently keep up, due to the help of the MHL350 D material handler and gravity shear.
“It's an interesting circle,” said Yount. “The material goes from the mill to the tube manufacturer to make its product. The out-of-spec material comes to us, and we process it and send it back to the mill.”
The lessons learned in serving the customer for this once one-man operation continues to be AMM's guiding principles and has led the company on a path of significant growth. It also has been a confidence-builder for Yount to continue to expand AMM's services, like the new venture with the metal tube manufacturer.
Because of the company's growth and the increase in scrap material volume, the next logical step for AMM was to install an automobile shredder, commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2013. The material handler operators quickly learned that feeding the hungry shredder demands their constant attention.
“It requires one, sometimes two Terex Fuchs material handlers working together to stage and feed the mill,” said Conner Yount, yard operations manager of AMM.
Kevin Yount added, “Conner has mentioned that we need another material handler for the shredder.”
With two guillotine shears, a bailer and shredder to feed, operators find that there is never an “extra” Terex Fuchs material handler available during high volume periods, so the future addition of a fourth machine is a virtual certainty.
“This time we may increase in size to the MHL360 for the additional reach,” said Kevin Yount.
This model offers a 12.5 percent longer reach of 59-ft. (18 m) than the MHL350 D material handler, which will be helpful in boosting loading efficiencies at the shredder, he said.