Save Time, Save Labor this Summer with Concrete Direct

With a busy construction season in full swing, contractors need to extract every ounce of productivity from their crews to keep up with construction schedules. But one simple question that every concrete contractor must know can also waste a lot of precious time. 

“Every day contractors call dispatch and ask ‘Where’s my concrete?’” said Chris Clow, general manager for Aggregate Industries US, a member of LafargeHolcim. 

This question sheds light on a chronic pain in the construction industry. Customers call, they wait for a response and when they receive an update on the status of their order, the time of arrival is still uncertain when the concrete hits the road. This uncertainty wastes time, decreases productivity and creates frustration for customers, dispatchers and truck drivers.

 

A new digital tool that increases transparency

Recognizing this need, LafargeHolcim in the US developed the new ConcreteDirect app with the idea to help contractors, dispatchers and drivers work more effectively to answer the age-old question of “Where’s my concrete?” Today, contractors who signed on to use ConcreteDirect not only know when their concrete will be delivered to their jobsite, they’re aware of the status from time of order placement, to the truck loading, to travel to the job site to completion of delivery. All of this information is easily accessible with one click, making it easy to track and easy to do business with. 

“The app allows real-time notification of where and when we can expect the next truck. This is important and allows the placement team to make real-time adjustments for pours. Quality of the placement has improved as we adjust our trucks, ensuring fewer to no cold joints occuring. Another area it has been helpful is keeping the pump truck active with a lagging truck that occurs from traffic or a later than normal batch time,” said Matthew Sherwood, senior superintendent at Clark Construction.

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Stop wasting time on wasteful conversations

Time is money, and there’s definitely a difference between a value-added and non-value added conversation. Sitting on the phone for a status update or to cancel or place an order is not adding any value to relationships or the construction schedule. Now, contractors can simply place, cancel and track their orders with ConcreteDirect’s mapping system and text their dispatcher when they have a question. 

According to Clow, ConcreteDirect decreases wasteful conversations and makes more room for conversations that add real value. “We’re seeing that our dispatchers can spend more time addressing customer needs instead of having transactional conversations. ConcreteDirect eliminates the need for guessing and stressing about the status of concrete orders. We’re spending more time talking about solutions that add value to our customers’ projects,” he said. 

Continual improvement based on customer feedback 

One of the key benefits of ConcreteDirect is its ability to incorporate customer feedback and continually roll out new features over time. In fact, ConcreteDirect has a development team dedicated to programming and rolling out customer-recommended features every two weeks. 

“Our rapid releases are based on suggested improvements from our customers around the country. We want to hear what our customers think so we can make enhancements that will allow ConcreteDirect to authentically evolve over time,” said Sean Ali, general manager of ready-mix solutions at LafargeHolcim. 

The road ahead 

According to a McKinsey Global Institute study done a couple of years ago, the construction industry was the second-least digitized of the 22 sectors that power our economy. It’s no surprise that construction was surpassed by natural digital leaders, such as information technology, media and finance. But, consider this: construction beat only agriculture in McKinsey’s digital ranking. But change is coming. Fast. 

Digital innovations have the potential to optimize the construction industry, but only if they lead off with understanding the daily life, the decision making process and pain points of the customer. “Our customers are really starting to understand what ConcreteDirect can do for them. It’s rewarding to hear them say that it’s solving problems and adding value to their business,” said Clow. 

To learn more about ConcreteDirect, contact your local sales representative. 

 
 
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