Five Questions to Ask at World of Concrete

WOC 2024 is about YOUR Customers, and how you can help them.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of World of Concrete, an event that often has seen crowds of more than 50,000 attendees—mostly contractors. For producers, it’s an opportunity to feel the pulse of the industry, including current trends and what’s to come. 

This year’s event offers new ways to help your customers improve; you just need to ask the right questions. Keep the following topics in mind and you’ll go home with valuable insights to accompany your commemorative WOC koozie and swag.

#1 How do advances in “mobile manufacturing” benefit contractors?

Mobile manufacturing is a phrase this columnist initiated about a decade ago to mentally join the truck to the manufacturing process. How we treat the plastic stage of concrete has huge implications on its structural integrity (aka your liability). 

Contractors can now receive tighter quality loads AND performance measures that will guide placement and curing. If you aren’t taking advantage of everything your truck manufacturer provides, you’re probably losing more than man-hours. In addition, technologies such as CiDRA, Digital Fleet, EROAD and Verifi enable better concrete quality tracking and control in transit than ever before.

  • Tip: Visit Work Truck Live!, a dedicated exhibit area presented by Modern WorkTruck Solutions. This area highlights innovations in the design and configuration of work trucks and innovative accessories that help contractors increase safety and productivity. 

#2 What are the real advances in artificial intelligence (AI) for concrete?

There is a lot of hype about AI in concrete construction. Some call it “AI-washing.” Regardless, AI is real and making an impact—and it’s here to stay. 

AI has the potential to “flatten out” your organization by giving actionable, timely information to all participants, alleviating the delay of decisions running through the management chain. However, many fear it will take their jobs. It’s important to sort out responsible applications of technologies like machine learning. For concrete, we still require both mind AND body for success. 

  • Tip: Ask every vendor, every seminar presenter and every other producer you meet about the impact AI is having on their corner of our industry.

#3 Are your vendors trusted partners for concrete expertise?

If any of your vendors—equipment, admixtures, software—aren’t trusted experts who can help you assist your customers, it’s time to look for a real partner.

Most concrete professionals carry a wealth of knowledge that they share with customers. But sometimes even the experts need to phone a friend. It’s worth remembering that your vendors also can be a source of valuable real-world experience and an extension of support for contractors. 

  • Tip: Attend the Master Builders Solutions’ Breakfast with the Experts. This is a favorite event of World of Concrete attendees to pose technical, or not so technical, questions to leading concrete industry experts. A panel answers questions on concrete construction and sustainable concrete solutions. 

#4 3D printing: Is it our future?

Concrete producers are often asked and expected to advise on new and unproven technologies. Depending on who you talk to, 3D concrete printing either is already proven, remains unproven, or worse, not economically practical. Who should you believe?

A new luncheon will highlight challenges and important considerations for both producers and contractors in this new frontier of concrete technology.

  • Tip: Attend the 3D Construction Printing Luncheon on January 23, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. In this interactive, peer-to-peer environment, a panel of industry experts will discuss the challenges of bringing this technology to the field and attempt to create a consensus on how the industry should merge its efforts to advance 3D construction printing.

#5 What will impact us most over the next five years?

We know what has changed—and what hasn’t—over the past 50 years. With technology now evolving at an exponential rate, we can expect a huge transformation in the very near future.

Consider this columnist’s first job in the industry, which was to help transition from the old Alkon card-reading, batching-control monster to the brand-new Intel 286-based PC with an incredible 10 megabytes of disk storage. With AI, the world can change in the blink of an eye, and I am ready for it! Along with the rock band Jesus Jones, “Right here, right now, there is no other place I want to be. Watching the world wake up to history.”

  • Tip: Attend two technology roundtable breakfast sessions to be held at the Las Vegas Country Club. The AI Revolution in Concrete Production Presentation, sponsored by Marcotte, takes place January 23 at 8:30 a.m. The Technology Alliance Panel open discussion, presented by BCMI, CiDRA, EROAD, Giatec and Marcotte, takes place January 24 at 8:30 a.m. The January 24 session is targeted specifically on the intersection of AI, sensors, data and interoperability. 

As you walk the show floor, remember the sage advice of James Carville, a strategist for Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 U.S. presidential election: “It’s the economy about your customers, stupid.”

For more information about featured sessions and events at World of Concrete, go to and click Events on the top navigation bar.

BCMI, Redmond, Wash. developer of industry-leading cloud-based, mobile “quote-to-cash” solutions for materials producers, and Quebec-based Marcotte Systems, a key concrete production and delivery software provider, have announced a successful integration of their programs supporting a seamless experience for ready mixed producer users. With a shared commitment to open platform technology, the combined cloud-based solution marks a major milestone in concrete batching and delivery, BCMI and Marcotte officials contend, relieving producers from the burden of hosting and maintaining servers and hardware in-house.

The connection between MarcotteBatch and BCMI’s suite of quoting and dispatch products reflects both companies’ commitment to promoting service-oriented architecture to offer best-in-class solutions from multiple vendors. “We are delighted to establish this formal partnership with Marcotte,” says BCMI President and Co-founder Craig Yeack. “Our integrated implementations for innovation leaders such as Smith Ready Mix have proven that our solutions work together seamlessly and bring incremental value to the producer. We look forward to our upcoming implementations at Tanis Concrete and many others in the future.” BCMI and Marcotte are leaders in driving a new model addressing the industry’s urgent need for technology that responds to ready mixed concrete producers’ unique requirements, he adds.

“Real-time data sharing is crucial to optimizing efficiency and productivity,” notes Marcotte Systems CEO Joel Bardier. “This can only be obtained through seamless integration and communication between the producer’s core systems, devices and software. Interoperability is the future technological strategy as data is the fuel to the producer’s competitive edge.”

Craig Yeack has held leadership positions with both construction materials producers and software providers. He is co-founder of BCMI Corp. (the Bulk Construction Materials Initiative), which is dedicated to reinventing the construction materials business with modern mobile and cloud-based tools. His Tech Talk column—named best column by the Construction Media Alliance in 2018—focuses on concise, actionable ideas to improve financial performance for ready-mix producers. He can be reached at [email protected].