Taking the stress off construction site managers in urban environments
By Luke Van Wyk
Managing the flow of fuel in compressed, urban environments is a challenge many contractors in the country’s largest cities face on a daily basis. On many metropolitan jobsites, fueling becomes a juggling act of servicing core heavy equipment, but also generators, lighting structures, and other on-site assets that require around-the-clock energy.
In big cities, the crush of traffic and small jobsites puts immense pressure on foremen and site managers to ensure optimal traffic flow of third-party partners—including their fueling provider. The challenge isn’t just space, though. Optimizing uptime and eliminating process-halting interruptions is another key element that business owners can eliminate by selecting a fueling partner that’s working smarter to maximize efficiencies.
KEEPING SITES HUMMING
One such fuel distributor that has leveraged new technology to fit the needs of tight, high-pressure construction sites is IZE Rentals of Brooklyn, New York. Started 2 years ago primarily to provide construction sites with generator power, IZE Rentals has diversified into providing smart fueling solutions to construction clients in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, New York.
When the company first launched, its owner, Ari Simkin, used 100-gallon tanks in the back of pickup trucks to squeeze onto construction sites to fuel generators and heavy equipment that was running. They quickly found it wasn’t an efficient process for them or their clients.
“We were spending half our day in gas stations just refilling the auxiliary tanks, going to the jobsite, dumping, going back to the gas station,” Simkin says. “It was costing us a lot of time, especially in Brooklyn. You could sit in traffic half your day.”
And in the urban construction space, time is money. So, Simkin took action and purchased the very first model of Thunder Creek Equipment’s Multi-Tank Upfit diesel fueling solution. The MTU 920 has capacity for 920 gallons of diesel fuel and leverages a series of 115-gallon fuel tanks connected through a common manifold mounted to the body of a Ford F550 truck body. The design eliminated the need for Simkin to hire employees with a Commercial Driver’s License or HAZMAT authorization, and provided him with enough volume on a nimble chassis to service his customers around the city.
“We realized that a lot of big fuel trucks that carry 5,000 gallons of diesel cannot even access the certain points where we needed to fill up,” Simkin says. “And, we actually got phone calls telling us that with our new solution ‘only you could fit in to this specific area’ because Brooklyn is so tight and everything.
“The big fuel trucks just park, and they just block the whole street. When we’re doing that in front of a construction site, they can’t do that. They have other trucks coming in and out. They got dump trucks waiting. With our new fueling truck we can just sneak in there, fill them up, and then go on.”
Simply, Simkin’s new fueling solution took IZE Rentals from a rental company to a partner that could also ensure the uptime of that equipment. A fuel partner that is leveraging more nimble delivery equipment is also able to tackle smaller volumes of fuel. In many cases, a wet hosing service isn’t going to deliver small volumes of fuel in hard-to-reach places. Distributors with smart solutions should be able to reach your equipment anytime, whether it’s easy to access, or not.
“We can show up on a jobsite, and there’s a mini excavator 150 feet into the jobsite. You go, you schlep down the hose, you fill him up, it’s 11 gallons,” Simkin says of a recent job. “No big fuel truck is going to do that. But with this truck, we try to get in and out relatively quick. It’s part of the customer service, but it’s a service we provide, and other companies are not willing to do that.”
DON’T TAKE YOUR TIME
Every minute of downtime on a jobsite translates to money lost. On compact jobsites, that could entail equipment stopped for refueling, but with the domino effect of other vendors being forced to wait, or other work being delayed due to a fuel delivery truck blocking the single point of entry.
Across the construction industry, top-performing firms work tirelessly to maximize efficiency and eliminate downtime. The pressure of maintaining that kind of performance is even more important in urban areas where more variables—traffic, pedestrians, and unique municipal codes—come into play.
Simkin and IZE Rentals are saving customers time on a variety of fronts. First is the actual pumping speed of fuel. When on-site, Simkin’s team can pump 30 gallons of diesel per minute, meaning an average excavator can be filled in 2 minutes, a 100-gallon generator in less than 4 minutes.
“Sometimes in a day you could have a hundred trucks waiting to get onto a jobsite, and each truck’s costing the customer $1,000,” Simkin says. “A construction owner can’t just stop his whole operation because he’s getting a fuel delivery. So, we go around the trucks, and we fit into the jobsite somehow, and we fill them up. And, we could be in and out of a jobsite in 15 minutes where if you had a full-size fuel truck, it would be an hour situation.”
Simkin’s solution also saves time for him and his human resources department. Since his Thunder Creek MTU does not require the driver to have a CDL or HAZMAT, IZE Rentals is able to hire reliable employees with clean driving records to operate the vehicle, saving them time and the cost of a more expensive driver with higher certifications.
About the author:
Luke Van Wyk is the vice president of sales for Thunder Creek Equipment, a manufacturer of fuel transportation solutions for industries utilizing heavy equipment. The Thunder Creek MTU 920 was launched in 2019 and is just one of a variety of No CDL, No HAZMAT diesel and DEF transportation solutions engineered and built at the company’s headquarters in Pella, Iowa. For more, visit www.thundercreek.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, January 2020
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