• When asked about shortages of materials, equipment, or personnel, many TCP Survey respondents say theyve had trouble finding good employees, especially qualified and reliable drivers.

    Credit: Cranesville Block Co.

    When asked about shortages of materials, equipment, or personnel, many TCP Survey respondents say they’ve had trouble finding good employees, especially “qualified” and “reliable” drivers.

Each year, the TCP Survey paints a true picture of what producers are experiencing across North America—beyond the economic reports and construction data. This year, as always, we asked how business has changed over the past one or two years, what changes you anticipate for 2013, and how you would describe the “new reality” of today’s concrete industry.

Overwhelmingly, the answers to these questions—and even the company profiles some readers submitted—revealed how top producers have managed to survive the turbulence of the past few years, and how they’re preparing for a strong future. There were several recurring themes.

Education and recruiting

Most of our core leadership has been with the company for more than 20 years, yet we continue to integrate young people just out of college into the mix. We send our staff to continuing education courses to stay current with the industry. Larry Silvi personally helped establish and generously funds the Concrete Industry Management program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Toby Rich, vice president of sales and marketing, Silvi Group Companies (Fairless Hills, Pa.)

Reinventing the business

We have downsized due to market changes from competition and pricing, but we anticipate a much more profitable year. We’ve had to “think outside the box” and reinvent the way we do business.

Rick Metheny, owner, Metheny Concrete Products Inc. (Oklahoma City)

Excellent customer service

The large majority of our work is from returning customers. Many have been using Schmitz for as long as we have been around and we are going on our third generation of family ownership. We capture every order possible, no matter how small it might be.

Matthew Schmitz, president, Schmitz Ready Mix Inc. (Milwaukee)

Our dispatchers strive to make a realistic daily delivery schedule, and we notify our customers if we’re running late or if we can help them earlier. That has paid huge dividends now that construction has dramatically increased over the last five months.

Mitch Jorgensen, co-owner and president, Molalla Redi-Mix & Rock Products (Molalla, Ore.)

Adopting new technology

Since 2011, Ozinga has added over 100 CNG-fueled ready-mix trucks and support vehicles to our fleet, with a pledge to convert the entire 500-vehicle fleet to CNG by the year 2020. We are continuing to pursue natural gas as our primary fuel, which presents us with a 40% fuel savings.

Tim Ozinga, director of communications, Ozinga Bros. Inc. (Mokena, Ill.)

In addition to these and other insights shared in the 2013 TCP Survey feature, page 20, be sure to visit here, where you’ll find individual producer profiles, photos, and an interactive map of producers who answered the survey.