Custom Concrete, a family-owned and operated organization that is headquartered out of Indianapolis, strives to be the industry leader in providing concrete solutions. They specialize in residential, commercial, multi-family, and room-addition foundations. Due to the current industry demands, Custom Concrete had its busiest year in 2021 in over a decade. With scarce materials and high demand for ready-mix trucks, the company looked to volumetric technology for a solution.
Custom Concrete is not alone. Across the country, the number of residential, commercial, and industrial building projects continues to rise with no indication of a slowdown in sight. Many concrete contractors are looking to the latest smart volumetric technology to expand their current businesses for current and future needs.
Supplying the Demand
SiteSource, a subsidiary of Custom Concrete, became the solution to a growing issue. Jeff Davidson, operations manager at SiteSource, said, “We were having difficulties getting concrete when we needed it due to high demand, which made completing current jobs and planning for future work a challenge.”
Adding volumetric mixers to the fleet has allowed Custom Concrete to get concrete anytime and increase overall productivity, therefore increasing their capacity to fulfill more projects. “Our volumetric mixers allow us to pour short loads – a four-yard stem wall or two yard footing repair – and send the ready-mix trucks to other jobsites so we can maximize our fleet,” said Davidson.
Lets talk a little bit about how you start looking into volume metrics. How did you guys discover that? Did you see them someplace?
Custom Concrete saw a need in our business. What we found was we really needed to boost our ready mix allocations. The industry’s busy, construction is booming in central Indiana, and we needed to find a way to fill the gaps. So, what we looked at was how can we take those short loads that four yard stem wall, that five yard driveway, and take those two short load ready mix trucks that we typically send to the job site, turn them into nine yard trucks to a wall pour, and send one volumetric truck to do that stem wall and driveway in one turn.
Were you part of that process of deciding about volumetrics, and what brand you select?
When we made the decision to go with volumetric mixer trucks, we really took a deep dive into the construction and the technology that went along with the volumetric mixers. We looked at a couple different brands and Cemen Tech really stood out to us from, really, both of those standpoints, the construction of the equipment, the support that came along with Cemen Tech. And, the biggest thing was the technology. The technology made a huge difference. We saw what we could get with ACCU-POUR™, how we could run the business and the data that it would give back to us to make good business decisions in the future. We knew that was going to be a big part of moving forward.
Do you use ACCU-POUR™ regularly?
We use ACCU-POUR™ on a daily basis. That’s how we do all of our dispatching, our billing and invoicing, keeping track of inventory. Everything we do from a volumetric standpoint goes through ACCU-POUR™.
So you’ve been able to see the return on investment with that?
ACCU-POUR™ has allowed us to really take a deep dive into the analytics of our business. It’s allowed us to see all of our different customers, get reports on how much we’re pouring for them on a daily basis, as well as the materials that we’re using. Those reports are important to us as we move forward and make decisions for the future.
What sort of applications are you using the volumetric mixers on?
The volumetric mixers really support custom construction, and all of our needs there. We do some footings, we do driveways, stem walls, repair work for our service department. It really fills those gaps, those needs, that we have those short loads to make sure that we keep the business moving forward.
What about the operators running those? Were they concrete guys? How was the training?
So, our first two operators actually came from within our organization. He was running a Slinger. So he was slinging stone for Custom Concrete, and he was looking for a new opportunity wanting to learn something new. And so, he found himself in the seat of one of our first volumetric mixers, excited to learn about concrete and what goes along with it. He didn’t miss a step. The process with the volumetric mixers, the support from Cemen Tech allowed him to really just take off and to spring forward into this new endeavor for him. Our other driver had some experience with concrete, doing flat work and different things in the industry. He actually was hired by SiteSource to come in and run the truck again with the support and training from Cemen Tech was able to jump right in and move forward.
Do you feel like they don’t have to be concrete guys then to run this technology?
Yeah, I don’t think that being a concrete guy is required to run a volumetric mixer. With the technology that’s available on the mixer truck and the resources we have within our organization, we’ve allowed our operators room to grow, to learn about concrete, to learn about what it takes to get the job done.
How has the service been?
Service has been great. We have Tyler and Tony supporting us on the other side of the phone. Anytime we call them, they pick up the phone, answer, and get us a solution.
Tell me a little bit about how you guys started integrating volumetric into what you do. Why did you decide to do that?
Part of our business is being a concrete contractor. We were having difficulties getting concrete when we wanted it. The times that we needed it and not able to complete all of the jobs, or we can complete more jobs annually if we could get the concrete when we ordered it. So that was the basis of the decision.
So what have you seen as the benefits?
So far it’s been a really enjoyable experience with our first few trucks. Drivers have been able to pick up on the operations of the trucks pretty easily. We enjoy the ACCU-POUR™ dispatch system as well, helps us manage our business.
What types of concrete do you guys do?
We’ve done a little bit of flowable fill. Mostly so far, we’ve done more residential standard concrete mixes. So from 2,500 PSI to 4,000 PSI.
How easy is it for your operator to start using it?
They were able to attend a two day training course at Cemen Tech office or facility. After that, we spent one week with a Cemen Tech trainer that Stayed with us for, I guess it was most of the week. But in that period of time, the guys did pick up everything. Once that week was over, they were able to step out and deliver concrete without hardly any assistance.
How has the analytics of ACCU-POUR™ helped you?
It has helped us schedule and manage our business on a daily basis.
Is there anything that you’d like to see change or different?
So I think I’ve voiced this before but I believe that as the ACCU-POUR™ technology continues to be developed, it would be nice to have more of a communication from ACCU-POUR™ to the trucks instead of the trucks being the basis of the information. So for example, the truck is the primary part and the ACCU-POUR™ is the secondary part. As far as the information delivery, you can’t send a ticket from the ACCU-POUR™ system straight to the truck. The truck has to basically ship its ticket to itself. So I feel that communication will eventually change and it’ll become a more cohesive piece of software.