By Mark S. Kuhar
The aggregate industry is typically comprised of very localized markets - however it is far from immune to trends and developments beyond the borders of the local marketplace. Integration of data, both internal and external, is essential for the development of a viable business plan, especially for multi-state stone producers.
While most companies are experts in their local economy, they often lack the time or resources to acquire external data. The U.S. Bureau of Mines has been the nation's top resource for construction aggregate data. In 1994, it began reporting in metric tons, making its current data non-comparable to past data.
In addition, the closing of the Bureau of Mines, and the transferring of many of its duties to the U.S. Geological Survey, makes it unclear what type of construction aggregates data will be available in the future.
The job of compiling a comprehensive database and keeping tabs on future statistics has been taken up by Jane Snyder, Construction Market Research, Pittsburgh, Pa. Her Construction Aggregates Databook contains 238 pages of tables, charts and accompanying information, including sections covering:
- 1994 and 25-year average construction aggregates data, broken down by state.
- 1990-1994 quarterly reports in short tons and metric tons.
- 1970-1994 construction aggregates data in short tons.
- 1970-1994 construction aggregates data in metric tons.
- 1970-1994 total value of construction aggregates.
- A state-by-state ranking, by 25-year averages.
- A section covering operations, producers, end-use and export and import data.
- Economic, demographic and industry-related data.
- State data summaries and key state contacts.
- Trade associations.
- Sources for more information.
Snyder, a researcher with 12 years experience in the aggregates industry, says the project was undertaken because of the lack of a single-source reference work in the aggregate industry.
"Information existed in a lot of forms in a lot of different publications, but there was no single-source volume," she says. "The Construction Aggregates Databook is meant to fill that niche."
Snyder says aggregate producers can use the Construction Aggregates Databook in a number of ways.
"It is an excellent ready reference for strategic planning, for gathering data needed to help (in evaluating) past performance, identifying market trends and growth opportunities, and for forecasting or planning sales quotas," Snyder says.
Stone producers can also benefit from the Construction Aggregates Datadisk that comes with the Construction Aggregates Databook. It contains Lotus files that can be loaded into word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect; spreadsheet applications such as Lotus-123, Excel and Borland QuatroPro; and database management programs such as dBase, FoxPro, Access, Oracle, Ingress and DB2.
Snyder suggests that producers first use the data to determine the historical relationship between company sales and state aggregate production. Similar comparisons can be made between company sales and trends in key factors such as population or total construction expenditures.
Whatever way you look at it, database analysis can be a valuable tool for any forward-thinking stone producer.
The accompanying chart is an example of the type of information available in the Construction Aggregates Databook.
For more information, contact Jane Snyder, Construction Market Research, 508 Edgewood Road, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15221; (800)-397-3240, (412)-241-3244, FAX: (412)-241-3173. P&Q
Pit & Quarry, April 1996; pages 36-37.