RURAL TAYLOR — When he first began working for Southwest Grain several years ago, Kent Candrian said there were days when he would walk about a mile or more at work — all of it in a 20-square-foot area.
Manning toggles and switches on a large wall switchboard, Candrian would make sure grain hauled to the Boyle Terminal between Gladstone and Taylor made it to the proper bins.
These days, Candrian still does that job. Instead, he sits in front of a bank of computer screens and does the majority of his work with the click of a mouse.
“I do everything in one spot,” said Candrian, a longtime driveway attendant for the CHS Inc. elevator. “Basically, it eliminates walking.”
Like many elevators, Southwest Grain has converted to automated systems that speed up its daily unloading of farmers’ trucks, its own loading of rail cars and also makes the lives of its employees easier.
“In the last four or five years, technology has advanced to the point where it just makes more sense because of the volume we do anymore,” Southwest Grain General Manager Delane Thom said. “It gets rid of some employee fatigue. It makes their job much easier and you can manage the whole system from one spot.”