Concrete Products

AUG 2018

Concrete Products covers the issues that attract producers of ready mixed and manufactured concrete focusing on equipment and material technology, market development and management topics.

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Page 52 of 71 August 2018 • 51 FEATURE FUTURE OF DISPATCH With integrated mobile apps, producers can satisfy customer demands for up-to-the-minute project statuses and performance. PHOTO: Josh Russell "MODERN" DISPATCH SYSTEMS Clyde Companies Inc., based in Orem, Utah, owns several construction and building materials companies in the Intermountain West, includ- ing ready-mix suppliers Geneva Rock Products and Sunroc Corp. In 2017, the company replaced its legacy customer relationship manage- ment (CRM) system with an integrated, cloud-based system. The new CRM solution retrieves data from other systems used by Clyde subsid- iaries to streamline internal processes and provide better access to customer activity and history. As a result, ready-mix sales teams can respond more quickly and accurately to customer needs, create quotes based on customer "score cards" and maximize new sales opportuni- ties. The company is considering implementing similar technology to improve concrete dispatching. "Our dispatch system cannot easily integrate with new technol- ogies, and our scheduling process is manual, as compared with other industries," says LaNette Andrews, production systems director for Clyde Companies. "Many of our customers are anxiously waiting for more robust, mobile solutions. They don't want to wait to have their questions answered during normal business hours. They are requesting fast, accurate, intuitive information 24/7." Like her customers, Andrews expects to see mobility, simplicity and integration in a modern dispatch system. Those three features are largely missing in many legacy systems, says Craig Yeack, president and co-founder of BCMI, a software development company serving the construction materials industry. The firm designed Clyde Companies' new CRM solution and has been working with Smith Ready Mix to develop and implement its new dispatch system. "Many of these dispatch systems are around 25 years old," explains Yeack. "They were developed before smartphones came into existence and installed before internet access and Wi-Fi became common on jobsites. Even with updates, they are not equipped to seamlessly inte- grate with mobile technology, much less other stand-alone systems." Like most software solutions of the 1990s, legacy dispatch systems were built as stand-alone entities to exist on office hard drives. They weren't intended to communicate with other systems or to be acces- sible from a jobsite. Their isolated nature turns them into information silos, making it difficult to share the most up-to-date data between different teams and departments—not to mention with customers. Yeack says add-ons can be installed to help some systems "talk" to each other, but the data-transfer process often becomes a headache that results in additional time spent on data entry and redundant information living on multiple systems. When duplicate data becomes out of sync, employees must take steps to determine which database has the most current and accurate details. The value of a more modern dispatch system that was built with integration in mind, rather than as an afterthought, is it can easily connect with other systems—i.e., accounting, inventory manage- ment, truck tracking, quality control—to give dispatchers quick and easy access to production, delivery and customer data. This improves their decision-making, and ultimately makes operations more effi- cient and the company more profitable. No more time is wasted chasing down the details. Continued on page 53

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