Research pays

24 April 2008

Since 1983 the SC&R Foundation has given SC&RA members a unique opportunity to make philanthropic contributions to a separate, nonprofit organization that focuses on furthering their industry through research, education, and scholarships. All donations to the SC&R Foundation are tax deductible.

To date, the foundation has provided over $165,000 to fund 13 research projects. Many questions of considerable interest to SC&RA members would have gone unanswered without the financial assistance of the SC&R Foundation.

Information revealed in projects funded by the foundation helps companies save money and, more importantly, lives. The projects also help educate legislators, regulators, prospective employees and the public about the industry and its needs. Among the respected organizations that have conducted the research are the Center for Transportation Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the University of Florida's M.E. Rinker Sr. School of Building Construction and Association Research, Inc.

Underway is a study, funded by a $25,000 grant, to address how the lack of uniformity in state, county and municipal permit requirements hinders the specialized transportation industry. Although permitting requirements vary from state to state, cooperative efforts with regional transportation groups have resulted in numerous areas of permit uniformity that promote more efficient and economical movement of goods. In the last several years, however, the industry has seen an alarming increase in individual municipalities requiring permits.

Thousands of municipalities in the US now require separate permits, causing SC&RA members to lose time and money and risk noncompliance. The resulting fines and restrictions amount to millions of lost dollars annually for the industry.

Because a 50-state process seemed overly broad in scope, the research focuses on the Midwest region of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan. SC&RA members will be able to present findings to state and federal officials to show ways that lack of coordination among the permitting authorities results in duplicative, counterproductive, and burdensome permit requirements.

The study is being conducted by J. Garza Consulting, which also completed SC&RA's comprehensive Pilot Car Best Practices training program. Coordinating the study is SC&RA's Transportation Truck Permit Policy Task Force.

The SC&R Foundation also is involved with efforts by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials to enhance its bridge rating software. The software will give engineers who rate bridges for overweight loads a tool to properly and effectively incorporate the presence of nonstandard gage length axles. This enhancement will benefit both the state departments of transportation that must rate bridges as part of an overload permit request and the members of SC&RA who move those loads. The 5.5 version of the software, in the final stages of beta testing, is expected to be released this year.

Through the years the SC&R Foundation has invested in a number of research projects and programs that have had a profound impact on the crane and rigging and specialized transport industries. Among those:

Oversize/Overweight Transportation Study (2 Volumes)

This 365-page resource featured tables broken down by state, insightful analyses, and listings of FHWA and State contacts. It also included all working papers from FHWA's Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study, covering shipper logistics costs, truck operating costs, energy conservation, pavement and bridge wear, roadway geometry, safety, permits, mode share, and enforcement.

Computer Applications for the Crane and Rigging Industry

This 34-page book showed how to integrate general business computer applications with specialized software for the crane and rigging industry. It demonstrated how to increase efficiency through computerization in bar coding, financial management, simulation, dispatching and vehicle tracking, human resources management, scheduling and CD-ROM training.

Guidelines for Determining the Value of a Crane or Rigging Related Company

This 43-page publication showed how and when to use eight different standards of economic value to determine the worth of a business. It also covered three different, interrelated approaches - asset-based, income and market - recognized by the American Society of Appraiser's Business Valuation Standards.

Training and Certification of North American Crane Operators

This 18-page report summarized the survey of SC&RA's companies on crane operator training and certification. It covered on-the-job training and formal training methods such as classroom education, computerized training, text materials and virtual reality technology. Also included was certification testing information from the National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators.

Injury Case Description Safety Survey of Specialized Carriers & Rigging Companies

This 7-page report provided analyses of accident incident rates, lost workday rates, injuries by job title of injured persons, type of injury, body part injured, and equipment in use. In addition to presenting an accurate, detailed portrait of the industry's current safety record, it gave users a valuable gauge for comparing their company to others in the industry.

Crane and Rigging Safety Program Guidelines

Included in the 70 pages were safety rules, responsibilities, motivation and training, emergency preparedness, safety inspections, accident investigation, recordkeeping, OSHA and ANSI compliance, program evaluation and pre-employment physicals. Step-by-step instructions and excerpts from SC&RA members' safety programs helped users start a new safety program or evaluate an existing one.

Overall Assessment of the Crane and Rigging Industry

This 39-page report presented findings on resource issues, including personnel, equipment, computer technology and safety. Also covered were economic issues involving financial information, accounting methods, lease-purchase decisions and company acquisition. Regional summaries let companies compare themselves with other in the industry.

Accounting Guidelines for the Growing Crane and Rigging Company

This 20-page tool surveyed and critiqued accounting methods used in the crane and rigging industry. It helped companies understand how to use accounting in daily and long-term decision making.

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D.Ann Shiffler Editor, American Cranes & Transport Tel: +1 512 869 8838 E-mail:
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