Ray Simpson and Carter Schlumberger are no strangers to winter weather. In fact, while others are safely bundled in front of the fireplace at home, the duo and their team at Savage Excavation are hard at work in the snow and ice of Aspen, Colorado.
“We run year-round and business doesn’t slow down in the winter. It’s not always fun to go to work in 18 inches of snow and dig into frozen dirt,” says Schlumberger.
However, they aren’t ones to throw in the towel due to harsh weather. Savage Excavation specializes in high altitude excavation, large residential projects, earthmoving, demolition, utilities, foundations and grading. Their work with ski companies in the area comes with its own set of unique challenges, in part thanks to the steep slopes of the Rockies and the wintry weather that shortens their working window to just three months.
Due to the nature of their work, they need machines that can operate in tight spaces and perform reliably.
“Our people and our equipment help us consistently deliver a quality work product,” says Schlumberger.
That’s where their fleet of Cat® machines comes in handy, especially their excavators. Designed to meet a variety of customer needs, the 305, 314, and 315 have all become work horses for Savage Excavation due to the space constraints of working on the mountains.
“We have [Cat] machines that are 18-19 years old that still run like new,” says Schlumberger.
Savage Excavation was one of the first companies to try out one of the Next Generation Cat Mini Excavators—the 308 CR. And the benefits they bring to the table have been game changers.
Work Force Challenges
Labor shortage is always an issue in the excavation industry and skilled workers are hard to come by. Next Generation Mini Excavators have helped here, with new features and technological enhancements that appeal to younger operators.
“The 302 and 308 have a ton of features the younger operators like, including stick steer,” says Carter.
Even Savage Excavation’s more experienced operators benefit from the ability to quickly switch attachments, maintaining high levels of productivity. With a machine like the 302, they’ve turned what would be a 2- to 3-person job into something completed by one operator.
Comfort and Productivity
The comfortable cab designs of the Next Generation Mini Excavators, which feature plenty of leg room, A/C and hands-free Bluetooth, have also been valuable to Savage Excavation.
“Creature comforts make a 10-hour day go by faster and make the work easier on your body,” says Schlumberger.
The technology in the cab is especially important for Ray and Carter, both operators themselves, to keep the business running while working in the machine.
“Ray and I often have a phone call every 10 minutes, so being able to take calls without having to stop working is a big deal,” says Schlumberger.
In addition to all the new feature perks, Schlumberger appreciates the drastic fuel efficiency improvements on the Next Generation machines.
The Savage Excavation team works closely with their local Cat dealer, Wagner Equipment, to alleviate down time and keep their machines running smoothly all year long.
“Usually if we call in with a need for parts in the afternoon, they’re ready the next morning...They bend over backwards to support us,” says Carter.