‘Our brand of choice’: Contractor shares keys to high production, cost savings

Southern Transport relies on Komatsu intelligent Machine Control Dozers.

Good decisions are often directly tied to profitability and prosperity. Justin Lott, Co-owner/Senior Vice President of Southern Transport & Equipment, LLC, learned that lesson after completing fire school.

“I had my sights set on being a firefighter, but I had to finish EMT training as well,” recalled Lott. “The summer after I graduated, I took a job working for an oil-field company to make some money. I quickly realized that type of work paid much better than I was projected to make as a firefighter. I was given an opportunity to grow with the business that I worked for, so I took it.”

Lott started his own land-clearing and earthwork firm to keep busy during breaks in his two-weeks-on, two-weeks-off schedule. Those side jobs eventually evolved into a full-time business, and after a few years, he combined forces with three other entrepreneurs to form Southern Transport & Equipment in 2017.

The new venture needed a dozer to make aggressive pushes in tough material. A colleague suggested a standard Komatsu D155. A visit with his local Komatsu distributor convinced Lott to demo an intelligent Machine Control D155AXi-8.

“The material at the test site was a very coarse aggregate, and the dozer handled it with ease,” Lott recalled. “The grade control is phenomenal, and the fact that we can use a machine of its size from first pass to last on large-scale projects is incredible.”

After purchasing the initial D155AXi-8 and then a second, Southern Transport & Equipment also added two intelligent Machine Control D65PXi-18s, a D61PXi-24 and a D85PXi-18. “No matter the size of the dozer, the integrated GPS system works flawlessly,” reported Lott. “The costs savings are apparent. Fuel usage is down, while production and efficiency are up. We love that there are no masts or cables to install or remove every day. That increases time spent moving material.”

The company has invested in standard Komatsu machinery as well, including a WA500 wheel loader it uses to fill trucks at a gravel pit. On some projects, Southern Transport & Equipment utilizes PC360LC-11 excavators and HM400 articulated trucks to move mass amounts of material.

“Once we tried the intelligent dozers, Komatsu equipment became our brand of choice,” declared Lott.

Justin Lott, Co-owner/Senior Vice President, Southern Transport & Equipment
Justin Lott, Co-owner/Senior Vice President, Southern Transport & Equipment
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