N.Y. contractor improves productivity, efficiency with technology

Therapy for Chip Kronau is 10 several hours on a dozer. “Leaving the telephone in…

N.Y. contractor improves productivity, efficiency with technology

Therapy for Chip Kronau is 10 several hours on a dozer.

“Leaving the telephone in my truck and to go out and grade a parking large amount or a little something, that’s just like heaven to me,” he states.

But the proprietor of Chip Kronau Building & Machines in Poestenkill, New York, does not have that significantly time these days for pushing filth. In spite of staying shut down for two weeks throughout the pandemic, the company has been its busiest at any time. That puts him out on the company’s numerous jobsites each individual working day building absolutely sure the perform meets his significant expectations for high-quality and basic safety, or in the workplace generating confident the business is obtaining compensated and the get the job done retains coming in.

The bulk of the company’s function is personal professional, this sort of as excavation and internet site perform for convenience merchants, storage businesses and nursing homes. It also performs crisis utility repairs for local municipalities.

It has grown from $300,000 in volume in 1998, its to start with year, to $3 million to $5 million each year. The enterprise has steadily additional faithful prospects in excess of the years and has sophisticated into 3D machine manage on its machines to improve generation and functionality. It has also added application to electronically keep up with serious-time task fees to streamline operations.

For those factors and extra, Chip Kronau Design & Equipment is one particular of Tools Globe’s 12 Contractor of the Year finalists for 2021.

chip kronau and ron brock wearing safety gearChip Kronau with Ron Brock, who served start off Chip Kronau Design & Tools in 1998.Equipment EarthChip’s introduction to the marketplace arrived by means of his father who began a residential building organization. At an early age, Chip would go on the jobsites with his father, and by 10, he was operating a dozer.

“Dad claimed when you might be previous enough to access the pedals, you can start to find out,” Chip recollects and laughs. “So the next week, I got some blocks of two-by-fours and stuff from a single of the jobsites that he was functioning on and taped them up on the pedals and reported, ‘We’re superior to go.’”

He was too compact to sit in the seat. He would stand as he operated it.

“And then it variety of just took off from there,” he states. “Pretty substantially all throughout high university during the summers, I would get the job done for him.”

He gravitated toward the earthmoving side of the business and the yellow iron. In 1990, he joined his father complete time, undertaking site and basis perform for new households. In 1998, he acquired the excavation arm of the company and started out on his personal.

He was joined by Ron Brock, who also worked for Chip’s father.

“It was essentially the two of us, and then we employed one other dude and developed it up more than the several years,” he states.

They commenced on household operate and following a 12 months began landing business jobs. The huge crack arrived when they acquired a connect with from New York-centered Stewart’s Outlets, which owns hundreds of benefit shops.  

“We completed a web site that yet another contractor began but could not preserve up with the plan,” Chip recalls. “And we’re however undertaking function for them these days. They are a person of our significant purchasers.”

The Stewart’s projects are brief employment on a tight routine with lots of other crews on a confined jobsite. You are also expected to answer at a moment’s see.

“If they call, you very considerably drop what you happen to be performing, and you take treatment of what they require,” he states. “We created a excellent connection with them.”

Chris Potter, a project supervisor for Stewart’s Retailers, would concur.

“They have been a person of our top picks since they begun functioning for us around 20 many years in the past,” he says. “We have extremely limited schedules for our tasks, and they have in no way failed to meet up with a completion date, and the quality of work is normally topnotch. As a venture supervisor, hiring Chip Kronau Development helps make my career less difficult.”   

kronau construction contractor of the year finalistKronau Design & Devices installs pipe for a warehouse and gas station venture.Devices WorldChip thinks in adapting to the variations in the market, specifically when it will come to reinvesting in technology and gear.

His first purchase of new tools came in 2004 with a Cat D5G dozer. He experienced landed a job constructing indoor and out of doors horse arenas, and they had rigid grading needs. So he acquired the dozer outfitted with a laser-guided technique, which he nevertheless utilizes nowadays.

“That was my 1st new-gear order,” he claims. “There ended up a great deal of sleepless evenings and hemming and hawing, and ‘Geez, which is a lot of dollars.’ But it was a excellent go for us.”

In 2015, he commenced using 3D device management on a dozer with masts. He later on added a dozer with a mastless method and just lately purchased a upcoming-technology 323 Cat excavator equipped with 3D device regulate.

He estimates the technology shaves about 30% off the time for a common grading work on a Stewart’s web-site.

“You can just have a guy go out on the dozer and do the cuts and fills, and he doesn’t even have to get off the machine,” he claims. “You’re not out there pulling stringlines and measuring less than the string or taking pictures with a line stage.”

It also helps on the crowded web-sites for the reason that you don’t have to wait around for the other crews to go their vehicles and things out of the way so you can do your format get the job done.

The GPS on the new excavator arrived in handy on a the latest 100,000-sq.-foot self-storage challenge.

“We were able to dig the footings for that entire constructing with out placing a single grade stake in,” he says. “We experienced a laser established up just to look at the quality, and place the excavator on automobile-dig.”

In the previous, a worker in the trench would use a rover and laser to continually check the quality and layout.

“It’s just a ton smoother, and it goes a good deal faster,” Chip states of machine management.  

“If you will not get on to GPS,” he provides, “you’re likely to be very a great deal left in the dust, and you happen to be not likely to be aggressive with the rest of the firms that are using it.”

Yet another location of technologies that has aided the corporation continue being aggressive, whilst also reducing paperwork, is lately obtained software that electronically retains up with employees’ time and devices use on jobsites. The superintendents enter daily reviews, like elements they used, images, customer logs, any check success.

“So we have actual-time work-costing, and we know in which we are on the career at any given time,” he suggests. “It’s streamlined a whole lot of our accounting and made points a ton additional productive and easier. Where we made use of to have to manually do knowledge entry from paper timesheets or paper occupation stories and enter it into an accounting process, now it is just mechanically downloaded into the accounting system.”

matt senter operating a CAT excavatorExcavator operator Matt Senter has labored at Kronau Design & Gear for 17 years.Tools Entire worldTogether with reinvesting in the company, Chip believes in building a family members ambiance at the firm. “I see every single worker that I have as a person of my family members customers,” he says.

Kronau doesn’t have significantly turnover, with lots of personnel serving a lot more than 15 yrs.

“This company treats their workforce fairly and they are respectful,” says Brian Carter, gross sales supervisor at Milton Cat dealership. “Chip Kronau keeps his personnel, and that lends to the integrity and top quality of his business.”

Keeping that high-quality as the enterprise grows is a top rated precedence for Kronau Design.

“I’m not hunting to grow just to get the volume figures up, to just be a even larger contractor,” Chip says. “As extended as we’re becoming successful, we are executing good quality perform, and we have an superb standing, which is far more significant to me than than just the sizing of the company.”

He always strives to retain lengthy-expression interactions with customers. He does not advertise for perform and does not lack for jobs. Other than a two-7 days shutdown in 2020 at the commencing of the pandemic, Kronau Construction has been busy, and 2020 was truly a person of its greatest-grossing decades.

“We want to do repeat small business for the exact people today,” Chip suggests. “We want to be the go-to corporation that when somebody’s obtained a task, they say, ‘I’m heading to call Chip, due to the fact I know he’s likely to do a very good occupation.’”