Komatsu Intelligent Machine Control technology helps Nicol & Sons complete projects in less time with significant costs savings
In 1972, Stuart Nicol and his two sons, John and Jerry, founded Nicol & Sons Inc. As a small, family-owned operation, John later gave his two sons, Jason and Joel, opportunities to be involved with the company from a young age.
“Dad always had something for us to do, whether it was working or cleaning the shop and the pickup,” recalled Joel. “In the summer we did a lot of ditch work and seeding. Occasionally, he let us run the machines. My brother and I built a passion for the company and the construction industry growing up in that environment.”
After graduating from college, Jason and Joel returned to work for Nicol & Sons full time. Joel is vice president and foreman, and Jason is vice president and superintendent. Since joining the firm, they have expanded the types of projects it takes on.
“When my dad and grandfather started the company, they focused on county drain work,” noted Jason. “We excelled at those types of jobs through the late ‘90s. Eventually, my brother and I transitioned toward street projects, site work and some precast bridgework.”
‘A difference maker’
The Nicols said that introducing Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) equipment with factory-integrated GPS technology has increased Nicol & Sons’ productivity. Its fleet includes a PC360LCi-11 excavator.
“With the iMC machines we’re able to accomplish the same amount of work as a company with 20 employees,” said Jason, noting that currently it has a staff of 12. “Jobs that would have taken five or six days to complete now only take us two. Although we’re a smaller company, this equipment allows us to take on more challenging projects.”
Recently, Nicol & Sons completed a large site work project for a local school. While completing the subgrade work, the company faced several challenges.
“Due to the size of the football field, we had to dig elaborate foundations,” said Jason. “The GPS technology on the PC360LCi-11 shined when digging those, because we were able to complete everything in two days using only one operator and three dump trucks.
“When we finished, we were on grade and saw huge time and costs savings,” he continued. “We wouldn’t have been able to complete this type of project the old way using stakes and lasers. The iMC technology is a difference maker.”