One way concrete producers are responding to customer demands is by improving and expanding quality control services. In Upland, Calif., Holliday Rock opened a new 5,800-square-foot Technical Services Laboratory and Support Facility last year, with space for full-time staff as well as visiting customers and partners to foster collaboration.
With new testing equipment and a greater capacity for storing materials, the QC staff is better equipped to handle a growing number of complex mix designs. They are also taking a proactive approach to researching and developing new products to meet customers’ needs.
James M. “Jay” Shilstone Jr., concrete technologist for Command Alkon and a well-known QC advocate, believes this kind of goal-oriented approach to quality control is key to the industry’s success. “In the past much QC testing has been done for the sake of testing, or just to get a passing report,” he says.
Shilstone says producers can make the most of their QC operations in several ways:
Management should receive key performance indicators related to quality, and understand how to interpret them.
- QC managers must know how to use test results to properly improve concrete.
- Engineers should be educated on the significance of QC data and how to specify quality characteristics accordingly.
- Concrete operations should understand how their actions impact quality and be able to monitor and measure appropriate processes.
- Producers need a way to accumulate, interpret, and display a wide range of QC data in a meaningful fashion.