For high-volume ready-mix producers in New York, adopting the latest information technology advances is a necessity. Demands keep intensifying, but continual plant and delivery improvements are allowing them to succeed.
High-volume producers have set up one or two high-capacity operations in strategic locations so they can service as much of the five-borough market as possible, and they've reinvested big dollars to keep up with customers' and specifiers' demands. Smaller producers use the inherent advantages of lower overhead and fewer customers to handle the bulk of smaller orders.
For now the high-volume-producing members of the association are delivering product to plenty of public works and transportation projects, so keeping up with volume demands is the current priority. To survive, these high-volume producers must be flexible enough to meet customers' and agencies' requirements--while making a profit. These producers have responded by investing in the latest batching, truck-tracking, and accounting systems.
A couple of the larger companies have upgraded to the most advanced computer batching systems available. These systems not only batch materials within tight tolerances but store up to thousands of mix designs the producers' customers and specifiers demand.
Having the capability to supply specified mixes is one thing. Delivering them through a city as dense as New York is quite another. To contend with high placement rates and traffic patterns, a couple of producers are early adopters of global-positioning systems for real-time truck status without the need for driver interaction with dispatch.
One producer is adapting a computerized system that ties together dispatch and accounting, which will automate the back office and allow billing every week instead of every month.
One of the future challenges facing these producers is a looming Department of Design and Construction requirement that producers take more responsibility for quality control of product. This specifying agency for a large share of city work would replace tried-and-true quality-control requirements--specified in the city's and ACI's building codes, such as appropriate overdesigns in connection with variables encountered in concrete placement--with a performance-based system. The fear among many of these producers is that a performance-based system would lead to corner-cutting in material use by some and hurt concrete quality, not to mention the industry's image.
Despite these kinds of challenges, these producers and various agencies have generally succeeded in teaming up to improve the city's infrastructure.
Keywords: information technology, plant, agency, Empire Transit Mix, Ferrara Bros., Jenna Concrete, Scara-Mix, Association of New York City Concrete Producers, volume, batch, truck-tracking, accounting, computer, cement, aggregate, silica fume, mix, high-performance, global-positioning system, GPS truck status, dispatch, accounts receivable, bill, cash flow, Class HP, fly ash, combined sewer overflow