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07 Sep 2021

Ready-mix concrete: expanding margins for just-in-time deliveries

Distribution of ready-mix concrete is by nature a highly dynamic business. When you’re dealing with a perishable commodity batched to customer specifications, your margins have little to no room for errors or mishaps.

Resource efficiency is everything

You’ve got to reduce trucks’ idling times and fuel consumption, and capture material rejected by customers, for example. Otherwise, you erode your resource efficiencies, and with them, your margins. The problem is, without digitalisation, you can’t always see what’s eroding your margins.

Your biggest challenge

You’ve got to calculate loading times, driving times, and unloading times. Predicting quantities and delivery pace are typically inaccurate, which leads to further changes. It comes down to this: your number-one challenge for batching and delivering the ready-mix concrete in the most cost-effective way possible is scheduling. When an order is received, you have to plan deliveries so that trucks and drivers have little idle time. Yet there are so many unknowns at play that it’s impossible to make accurate calls. And how do you react as those unknowns are revealed?

You need agility

The more agile you are, the more successful you are at handling the unknowns and delivering just in time. Agility is made possible with technologies that optimise your fleet while improving your accuracy. This enables you to give your customers a much higher level of service, while reducing operating costs and expanding your margins.

The Covid effect

Driverless trucks are appearing on sites and construction companies embracing innovation are certainly thriving. Yet for the most part, the industry has lagged far behind other sectors in adopting digitalisation. The pandemic exposed weaknesses exacerbated by companies’ outdated processes and operations as they struggled to address issues, such as supply chain interruptions.

Becoming resilient

In the UK alone, 46% of construction companies suffered reduced turnover in a two-week span during the summer of 2020. It was a similar picture worldwide.  Yet during the pandemic, many companies took control of their situation by implementing new technologies. These companies are now in a stronger position to take advantage of the resurgence that the construction industry is experiencing in the aftermath, while expanding their margins. 

It’s a critical lesson if you’ve not yet adopted digitalisation. Don’t wait.

How to drive margin expansion

To stay competitive, relevant and in command of your margins, you need digitalisation so that devices and vehicles can exchange data. This is how you work efficiently and more productively.

This is where AMCS Concrete Planner comes in. This is an enterprise system that optimises the entire process of ready-mix concrete distribution. As delays, last-minute order changes or unforeseen events happen, AMCS Concrete Planner optimises and reoptimizes your schedule in real time.

Consider the steps required from beginning to end in distributing ready-mix concrete:

  1. Order received
  2. Planning and scheduling
  3. Execution
  4. Follow-up

With AMCS Concrete Planner, these processes are no longer siloed. You have total transparency between each task. This is dynamic and incremental planning with event-based resource scheduling in real time.

Why it’s so effective

AMCS Concrete Planner uses planning algorithms designed for the ready-mix concrete industry. These powerful algorithms react quickly to data, ordering changes and feeding you delivery updates in real time. If any surprises occur, you’ll know right away and can take appropriate action to ensure just-in-time delivery. This is what it means to be agile. 

Results that impact margins

Users of AMCS Concrete Planner report:

  • Operational costs reduced by up to 15%
  • Increase in the number of loads delivered per vehicle by up to 20%
  • Up to 50% less time spent on planning and resource scheduling
  • Between 30 and 60% less time spent on registration and follow up
  • Ability to meet tight time windows

A closer look

AMCS Concrete Planner integrates seamlessly with your ERP system, mobile devices and batching systems.

  • Automatic splitting of sales orders into delivery loads for parallel or sequential delivery
  • Planning across plants and sharing of vehicles
  • Alerts if too many vehicles are on site
  • Distribution of loads among vehicles according to qualifications, cost profiles and availability
  • Ability to handle pumps, PUMIs and orders combining ready-mix and pumps
  • Parameters ensuring a steady flow of loads (shuttle delivery, time between loads, or cubic metres per hour)
  • Handling of alternative capacities and loading times
  • Forecasting of detailed plans in order to calculate raw material consumption

Planning features include:

  • Order booking: Receive sales orders, split them into loads, and check capacities without locking the plan
  • Resource scheduling: Provide overview of resources and manage these according to demand and availability
  • Operational planning: Perform incremental planning and insert new orders, both automatically and via manual drag-and-drop
  • Execution: Real-time monitoring of the operation, fast handling of last-minute and changed orders, real-time re-optimisation, and data collection from trucks
  • Follow-up: Supply collected data for reporting, including invoicing, statistics and self-billing
  • What-if scenarios: Simulate consequences of relocating plants, using different vehicle types or other events