The Hard Value of Batch Plant Tuning

Plant tuning matters when it comes to plugging profit leaks. Ready mixed concrete can be batched with pharmaceutical precision and accuracy. It’s just a matter of time and equipment, which means money. The industry challenge is configuring plants with precise (repeatable) and accurate (close to target) equipment tuned well enough (with speed) to minimize cycle costs. Accuracy is dictated by…

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The Age Decline of Ready Mixed Concrete Workers

Ready mixed concrete is a generational business that requires both young innovators and older, experienced employees. Our industry is in a demographic decline. We are losing older, steady hands much faster than their impact can be replaced, and continued enticements to delay retirement only last so long. Compounding the issue, most ready mixed concrete business leaders are rueful about having…

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The Real Value of Integrated Material Replenishment

Looking for true savings? Transition from “keep full” to “don’t run out.”  U.S. ready mix concrete (RMC) production in 2023 should be just north of 400 million cubic yards, a recession notwithstanding. Based on an average five-bag mix, that means at least 27.5 million equivalent truckloads of aggregates and 4.75 million equivalent truckloads of cementitious materials will be required.  Bulk…

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The Economics of Reducing Truck Times at the Plant

Shaving off 1 minute of time at the plant could save $832 per truck annually. Managing ready mix concrete logistics is best summarized by an adaptation of the Serenity Prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Dispatchers cannot change the…

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Interoperability: The Digital Mindset

Application programming interfaces and the API ecosystem explained. What if you could reconfigure your business processes to be faster and less costly by easily offering new products and services from emerging providers … and offloading your non-core competencies to outside providers? What if, in the competitive market you are in, you could bind your customer to your products and services…

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AI Part 2: The Concrete Case for AI Bots

Artificial intelligence is in the house—and it’s about to shake things up! Google, now a verb per Merriam-Webster, controls over 90 percent of the internet search market. Yet the search engine colossus lost over $100 million in market valuation on February 9 when its newly released AI chatbot, called Bard, gave a widely publicized wrong answer for an astronomy question.…

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The End Game of Digitization

Artificial intelligence pushes decision-making to the edge. In January, Bloomberg News reported that Microsoft is investing $10 billion in OpenAI, a startup company specializing in artificial intelligence (AI). OpenAI is the maker of ChatGPT (an online chatbox) and other tools that can generate readable text and images in response to short prompts or questions. In terms of ready-mix concrete U.S.…

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The Technology Upside in an Economic Downturn

Embrace the paradox: Invest in tech partners and people now, while an impending recession makes talent and time abundant. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION RATIONALEResearchers preparing the 2022 KPMG U.S. Technology Survey Report asked businesses: “What are the key drivers of your organization’s digital transformation and corresponding investments?” As the United States slides into a recession, our industry is starting to feel it.…

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Alternative Materials to the Rescue!

Geopolymer concrete and fiber-reinforced polymer rebar can be the perfect match for sustainability in structural applications. Steel and concrete have a love-hate relationship. Steel brings tensile strength to concrete, making it stronger for structural applications. Alas, concrete lets water seep into the relationship and corrode the hope for a lasting union. To fix this marriage, Dr. Ruth (Westheimer) has been…

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A ‘Bit’ on Digital Currency and Ready-Mix Concrete

With Ethereum’s blockchain radical overhaul, look for digital currency to come to an industry near you. We have all heard of the cryptocurrency called bitcoin. Ether (ETH) is the second most popular cryptocurrency, and it’s about to expand into vastly new areas thanks to a recent development with the platform on which it is used: Ethereum. The Latin word aether…

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