Concrete Products


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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48 • August 2019 FEATURE BY VICTORIA K. SICARAS With BCMI Corp.'s Material Now mobile app, contractors can track order delivery and progress from a mobile phone or tablet, and adjust orders as needed. PHOTO: BCMI Corp. Concrete Supply is providing contractors with mobile apps to monitor their orders from batch to pour out—and the trucks delivering them. BUY-IN REQUIRED FOR MOBILE APPS The success of a concrete pour is a collaborative effort. The producer must deliver the right product at the right time, and the contractor must be prepped and ready to go when the load arrives. The same can be said for the success of technology adoption. Both employees and customers must be willing to use the tools provided. When Concrete Supply Co., Charlotte, N.C., began adopting cloud-based and mobile solu- tions, CEO Henry Batten says he still had employees and customers who used flip phones. Plus, technology options geared for the concrete industry were limited. Getting the right solutions in place and everybody onboard was a gradual process. "We didn't get it right at first, but we never looked back." Technology is a cultural change, and Batten admits culture is hard to change. However, the tides turned as a new generation began entering the workforce that was eager to embrace technology and run with it. "Now since most people have smartphones, mobile technology has enhanced our quality of communication because we are giving our staff and customers complete transparency." Concrete Supply uses BCMI Corp.'s Material Pro mobile app for employees and Material Now app for customers, both of which tap into the producer's operational information and share those details with the user. "The mobile app holds us accountable because it will show when 'the concrete guy' screws up. It will also show where the customer can do better, and our account managers and customers can look at that scorecard and have an honest discussion about what both sides can do to improve," Batten explains. "Time is everything for both the contractor and the producer," says Craig Yeack, co-founder and president of BCMI. "When a producer can use a mobile app to show contractors their day- to-day jobsite activity and performance, and how small changes can have big impacts on their project schedules and costs, those contractors will be more willing to use the app to help improve their own business." "We want this process, because if we can help our customers make more money, then we make more money," Batten adds. As mobile technology continues to advance, Concrete Supply Co. periodically reviews their tools and processes to evaluate what is working, what is not and what needs to be changed. PHOTO: Concrete Supply Co. ON THE HORIZON: TECHNOLOGY AND MARKET CONDITIONS Henry Batten is seeing more widespread use of mobile technology by concrete produc- ers, and he expects that trend to continue, thanks to an increased number of providers who specialize in developing cloud-based solutions for materials producers. "They are doing a better job at providing what we need," he says. "The technology advance- ments have actually outpaced our industry, in terms of our ability to implement and adapt to them. But we're catching up. We'll get better at it." Wireless technology also can be lever- aged to help insulate companies against the next economic downturn, says Craig Yeack, co-founder and president of BCMI Corp., a technology provider that offers cloud-based concrete dispatch and mobile solutions and has been working with Batten and Concrete Supply for the past year. "Downturns are cyclical, inevitable, and the market is already flat for many pro- ducers. While times are still good, we have to prepare for what we know is coming," says Yeack. "The companies who are able to invest in technology before or during a downturn have a higher chance of coming out of it stronger." Continued on page 51

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