Most renewable energy construction projects are very similar to their oil and gas equivalents. There are more similarities than differences because of the nature of the work and the requirements for on-site services. Yet, resources are finite, logistics are difficult and the remote nature of most of these projects makes everything just a little bit harder.
Considering the first oil well was drilled in a remote section of Northwestern Pennsylvania in 1859, oil and gas procurement specialists have had a lot of time and practice on how to secure adequate on-site services, including the ideal on-site services provider. There is much to be learned from their experiences.
Having your vendor, for instance, simply truck in portable restrooms for your crew seems like it would be easy enough and certainly not on the list of top concerns for project managers. But unfortunately that’s why it’s often managed so poorly. Simply taking a vendor’s word that they will have their equipment on-site is often trouble in the making.
We asked Austin Thompson, CEO and Hank Dallam, President of Just in Time Services & Rentals, about what makes supporting renewable energy projects so unique and yet so similar to the oil and gas business at the same time.
Q. Aren’t all portable restrooms the same?
Thompson: We use durable and dependable units, but you’re right, the basic function of all units are the same. However, that’s not what makes portable restroom companies different. Servicing a festival that has 25 restrooms all in a line in a parking lot is very different than having sometimes two hundred units spread between 5,000 acres.
Q. How is it different?
Thompson: I’ll give you one example. With equipment spread out that far, it’s easy to lose one. Hiring a company without this type of specialized experience means the sanitation worker is going to be knocking on the door of the project manager asking where their restroom is. Most of our clients don’t want to be bothered by these kinds of petty and unprofessional requests. Our assets are GPS enabled, so we do not have to bother the client about its location. Our technicians simply look it up on their mobile device and give it the service it needs.
Q. What else makes large scale construction experience critical?
Dallam: As in any business, it’s all about the people. As part of our process, our technicians attend every morning safety briefing of our clients and understand how the project is evolving. If they need to move restrooms to support a particular activity, like a new windmill assembly, they’ll do it. It’s our goal to integrate our people with the client’s team so that there is no drop in expectations and performance.
Q. It’s strongly encouraged to hire locally on some projects, is that ever a problem?
Thompson: Most projects are in remote areas so it can be difficult for project superintendents to find local on-site services vendors capable of meeting the demands and specialized requirements of their projects. At Just In Time, we not only have the customized services and specialized equipment required for these projects, but we have the resources and experience to manage all aspects of the project and respond to unique on-the-job situations that so often arise in our line of business. As a case in point… On one project, we had a client call us in a panic. They had contracted with a local caterer that was supposed to supply ice. The problem is, they couldn’t keep up with the demand and harsh conditions. They just couldn’t freeze ice fast enough. Then, one call to us and we had our trucks on the road immediately and provided what they needed before they had an upset crew. I chuckled because later the client said “You arrived just in time!” I said, of course, it’s in our company name! He got it, and now we have a great client/vendor relationship.
Our Just in Time teams are on-site for the duration of the project. That means they are frequenting restaurants, living within city/county limits, buying groceries and diesel. We are consuming local goods and services that directly support the local economy.
Q. How can portable restrooms be environmentally friendly?
Dallam: Every portable restroom requires water to run effectively so the biggest impact we can make revolves around managing this resource. Recapturing grey and black water and disposing of it properly ensures we don’t contaminate the environment or pass disease to wildlife. Using the proper portable restroom is amazingly efficient. Most people don’t realize that Americans use 100 gallons of fresh water everyday and most of that is from flushing toilets (credit: Environmental Protection Agency). Using a portable restroom is much more efficient. Portable Sanitation Association International calculated that everyday, portable restrooms save 125 million gallons of fresh water.
Q. What 3 things should a procurement manager look for in a portable restroom vendor partner?
Thompson: I would say number one is safety. What is their safety record? Are they trained and accredited in industry safety standards and procedures? Do their people know what it’s like to be around heavy equipment? Are they experienced enough to know how to stay out of the way and do their job at the same time? Are they familiar with OSHA and ANSI standards? We have experience with these complex and specialized projects to keep everyone on site safe and the client in compliance.
Next is reliability. Delivering on what you promised seems so simple, yet hard to do sometimes. A good partner operates with integrity and has the resources to manage unexpected circumstances.
Lastly is resourcefulness. Of course, a procurement manager needs solutions for more than just restrooms. Some companies, like Just In Time, can provide other things like fencing, freshwater, ice, light towers, compressors, sandblasters, trailers, water tanks & services, generators, and power washing systems. Because this is the work we specialize in, we have resources others don’t. We can procure 3rd-party specialists under “one roof” and our clients appreciate having a single-source provider for multiple services. Our model works, no matter what the dynamics of the project are. Our goal is to make superstars out of our clients.
About Just In Time Service & Rentals:
Since 2012 Just In Time Services & Rentals has been providing top-tier on-site rental products and services for the oil & gas pipeline and renewable energy construction industry. JIT services some of the nation’s largest construction companies across the Southwest region (NM, TX, OK, LA), and across the United States. From the beginning, JIT’s focus has always been to go above and beyond for clients and it’s the obsession around customer service that continues to fuel the Company’s growth. The company is led by co-owners Austin Thompson (CEO) and Hank Dallam (President). Combined they have over 25 years of experience in the oil and gas and renewable energies construction industries.
Just in Time Services & Rentals: “Great Value. Great Service. Great People. Great Experience.”
They can be reached at 833-548-7368 or JITRental.com