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When Key Cooperative wanted to improve the overall efficiency at its new state-of-the-art facility in Grinnell, IA, it turned to the automation experts at Murray Equipment.
What They Needed
Speed, efficiency, and customer service were the driving forces behind Key Cooperative’s newest fertilizer and crop chemical facility. Strategically, centrally located in Grinnell, IA, this state-of-the art facility needed to supply not only customers and trucks going to the field, but also other locations as well. Speed without automation increases the potential for error. That’s why they brought in leading liquid handling equipment and automation provider, Murray Equipment, Inc. (MEI).
“Our main goal was to service our member customers better,” said Dan Dunsbergen, Grinnell Location Manager. “But we also wanted to improve our overall efficiencies — improve inventory management, reduce shrinkage, increase storage for more purchasing power, limit employee exposure, and reduce the potential for operator and applicator error.”
What We Designed
Key Cooperative’s 1.5-million-gallon liquid fertilizer and 120,000-gallon crop chemical facility features much of the latest in Murray Equipment technology. Complete with two fully automated fertilizer and crop chemical bays, which incorporate an automated weigh system, and a separate 24/7 loadout bay, this facility was built for speed.
“When a driver is done in a field he can call us on his way back to prepare for another load,” explained Dunsbergen. “We can create an order number and the driver just takes that order number to this facility where he fills his truck and takes the load and spray sheet out to the applicator. Then in our unattended bay both customers and transport drivers can get whatever fertilizer they need 24/7.” Murray Equipment was also the main supplier of liquid handling equipment. “I’ve worked with Murray for years and have a great relationship with them,” continued Dunsbergen. “I know if I need a part, in Iowa I can usually get it by the next day.”
This new facility allows Key Cooperative to supply customers on a timelier basis. This includes nearby customers and also those serviced by other locations. The facility’s proximity to I-80, rail, and the Mississippi River will improve inbound logistics. Larger storage capacity, enhanced inventory management, and greater labor efficiencies will increase overall margins. “We care a lot about our employees, too. We wanted to be able to mix hot loads, but we wanted to limit their exposure. Murray Equipment automation does that for us,” said Dunsbergen. Finally, aesthetics were of concern. MEI’s powerful, yet streamlined ICS series panels complemented the overall clean and modern facility design provided by Marcus Construction.
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