Running the Numbers in Reno

John Deere scraper system in action on a job site

Away from the bright lights and blackjack, the outskirts of Reno exude a more natural way of life. "We're free out here," states Bernard Smith, a Reno resident of 50+ years and project superintendent for Granite Construction. "Other than the city, this is one of the most conservative places in the country."

That tendency to hedge against risk is a common trait in this industry — one that can make or break a company. So when it came time to move 1.2-million yards of dirt on the SouthEast Connector Project, the team at Granite did more than leave nothing to chance — they stacked the deck.

We're hitting our targets every single day with these tractors.

Bernard Smith
Bernard Smith
Project Superintendent, Granite Construction


Estimating a job and submitting a bid is a thorough, detailed process. Accurate numbers are a company's lifeblood, and living up to those numbers determines its success. "We try to find the easiest and most economical way to move material," Smith explains. "The John Deere eight-wheel tractor-scraper system with triple pans has worked well with the conditions we have here. We're hitting our targets every single day with these tractors." And at one-third the initial investment and half the labor compared to self-propelled scrapers or competitive tractors and scrapers, there's even more to love.


Granite's feet boasts three 9570R Scraper Special Tractors. With an output of 419 kW (570 hp) and hydraulic capacity of up to 435 Lpm (115 U.S. gpm), pulling three 2412D E Ejector Scrapers with AutoLoad™ is a powerful combination. "These John Deere tractor scraper systems are very self-sufficient," explains Operator Daniel Bagan. "If we weren't running them, the same work would require an excavator, more haul trucks, possibly a dozer pushing to the excavator, and a dozer or a compactor to spread out the piles after the trucks dump."

Smith is equally pleased by the tractors' efficiency. "We're burning less fuel, emissions are down, and the fuel economy is there, too. We could have up to six engines doing what one does now, and we are moving the yardage — we're getting an easy 50 yards per cycle." Fewer moving parts means more than optimized efficiency, it also makes for a safer jobsite.


The team at Granite isn't just pleased with their machines, they're also happy with the local support from their dealer, Papé Machinery. "Papé is a friend to Granite," says Smith. "They treat us very well. I've never had a complaint with them at all."

Bagan agrees and touts the benefits of Deere service. "The dealer has been very good to us. If we have a problem, they show up right away. And about every other week the rep comes out to ride in all the tractors, so if we have any questions he can answer them and help us run the equipment better."


The relationship between John Deere and Granite Construction goes deeper than a transaction or even support in the field. Granite has gone as far as teaming up with the Deere Corporate Business Division to find ways of advancing its Continuous Improvement program. While touring different Deere facilities, Granite learned about how the manufacturer implements aspects of Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing to ensure both optimum efficiency and top quality. Says Joe Mazzulo, senior vice president, business processes for Granite, "We left with new ideas and insights that will prove extremely valuable in our Continuous Improvement journey."