Wayne Wienecke, founder of Granbury Excavating in Tolar, TX could be considered one of the earliest adopters of technology in the industry and state of Texas – and not because he simply wants the latest-and-greatest gadgets on the jobsite. Wayne believes in the value of a strategic, thoughtful approach to technology, one he has had since the early days of his business.
Wayne grew up on a family farm and ranch, and chose a career in Ag Science. Around the time he was in his third year as a high school Ag Science teacher, he was delivered two tough personal blows: both his father and father-in-law were diagnosed with cancer. Both would be unable to run their businesses.
To help support the family during these tough times, Wayne chose to build a company of his own. In 1996, Granbury Excavating was born, starting with a few residential jobs, and a small equipment fleet that included a skid steer and John Deere 650G dozer rented from RDO Equipment Co. in Forth Worth.
“I still remember when Wayne came in to rent that first machine,” Mike Young, Sales Professional at RDO Equipment Co., said. Mike recalls Wayne coming to the store with his father-in-law, an existing customer. “His father-in-law knew the business and helped Wayne find what he was looking for. It ended up being the right choice because that John Deere dozer eventually would be the first machine Wayne purchased.”
As quickly as Granbury Excavating began, it grew, taking single-home residential work to larger sub-divisions, and adding commercial services in new areas including aggregates, material handling, mining, oil, and utility. The growth also brought need for Wayne to examine an area for the company he was interested in and knew would be a game-changer: technology.
Turning to Technology
One of Granbury Excavating’s earliest experiences as a technology pioneer came in the form of equipment – another John Deere dozer; this time the new 650H series, the first fully-hydrostatic dozer and one that included the modern operator cab found on most models today.
“I really loved that first John Deere 650G dozer I had,” he recalled. “That and because of the upgrades from G-Series technology, I was eager to get the new H-Series.”
Throughout the next few years, Wayne continued to expand his company and equipment fleet, adding John Deere articulated dump trucks, excavators, and scrapers. He was also enjoying his expanding partnership with RDO Equipment Co., from the equipment to the regular maintenance and service the team provided at multiple locations in the state, and soon began working with the technology specialists in the next new area he felt would be a difference-maker in his business: Topcon GPS and machine control solutions.
“I was very aware of what these technology opportunities were bringing to the industry and I knew it would be something that would give me a competitive advantage because no one was doing it at the time,” he recalled.
Seeing early success using machine control, Wayne began adding it to all his machines, from excavators to motor graders, and using it on various jobs and size of jobs. He recognizes there’s no job too small that Granbury Excavating doesn’t need the advantages that come from machine control. He also credits it with getting the company through some particularly tough years.
“Like many in the industry, we felt the effects of the ’08 downturn,” he says. “Machine control was a difference-maker in keeping us cost-effective and efficient, and helped us survive those tough years.”
His passion for technology was also something he shared with Ron Offutt, founder of RDO Equipment Co. Ron, aware of Wayne’s success, asked him what gave Granbury Excavating an advantage over competitors. Without hesitation, Wayne again credited technology.
“I told him it was the GPS units and machine control, and explained what that was doing for us. Then, I’m told the story is that Ron told all RDO salesmen they needed to be pushing the technology more.” He added, with a laugh, “I think I accidentally revealed one of my biggest secrets.”
Finding More Solutions
Not only has Wayne realized success with technology solutions on the jobsite, he has found ways to use technology to improve sales and marketing for his company.
“I recently started working with a new oil company and, rather than just tell them about our services, I was able to show them 3D models of some of the larger sites we’ve worked on. That helped sell them and we’re already visiting about more jobs.”
Wayne is also finding ways to use technology to help him be aware of what’s happening on all jobsites. When Granbury Excavating’s footprint grew, eventually expanding to the entire state of Texas and even some work in Oklahoma, Wayne realized he couldn’t be on every jobsite. Partnering with the RDO Equipment Co. specialists headquartered in Moorhead, MN, he looked to JDLink.
“We began using JDLink on our machines to monitor their usage, fuel consumption, those types of things,” Wayne said. He further explained the key advantage, “Especially as a company grows larger, you can have a lot of iron to dedicate on a jobsite. But if you’re not utilizing those machines to their fullest potential, you’re not managing assets as effectively. Using this data lets us be smarter about how we manage our assets.”
With a technology mindset, it’s no surprise Wayne is continuing to look to the future of construction and his business, thinking about the next steps that will allow him to be more efficient and keep a competitive advantage.
“UAV technology is something I’m very interested in right now, especially for mining,” Wayne said of his next likely move. He has identified numerous ways drones can provide value on these sites, from measuring material to tracking stock piles, so RDO Equipment Co. is currently arranging a UAV demo with Wayne and his team.
RDO Equipment Co. has enjoyed the opportunity to provide a mix of equipment, service, and technology solutions to Granbury Excavating throughout the past 20-plus years. Wienecke is equally appreciative of the partnership and says, no matter where his next years take him, he’s confident the team from RDO Equipment Co. will be part of the journey.
Watch an interview with Wayne: -----
Learn more about construction equipment and technology solutions from RDO Equipment Co. by visiting your local RDO Equipment Co. store.