Diamond 8 Concrete Enjoys Growing Alongside The Rio Grande Valley

As the Rio Grande Valley in south Texas enjoys steady growth, so has Diamond 8 Concrete. What began with two Cemen Tech C Series volumetric mixers in late 2018 has quickly grown to a fleet of more than 10 providing concrete delivery throughout The Valley.

Mike Perez, Owner

What came first – finding the volumetric mixers or the desire to supply your own concrete?

The desire to supply our own concrete was a need, it wasn’t a want. We struggled with that, getting concrete, and we needed a way to overcome that obstacle. The demand for concrete is big right now in our area. Getting into a Cemen Tech C60 was an option available to us.

Texas in itself, along with specific metros, is booming with growth right now. You said it’s happening down here in The Valley — do you see it continuing?

I think the construction market down here is going to continue for a while. Right now, we have a 3-year commitment, so I think it’ll go on for a while in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Coming into the retail market, the housing market has been strong, and that’s where we’ve succeeded. Going two and a half years now, going on our 11th mixer, business has been good.

What’s your favorite feature of the C Series?

My favorite feature is the accuracy, and we preach accuracy. We deliver to our customers what we say we’re going to deliver. The technology it carries, where the truck talks to the iPad, then the iPad talks to our office, and we’re able to get all that information in real-time. We’re able to make our adjustments with our drivers as the day goes on — that’s a great feature that Cemen Tech provides for us.

Does that help you become more efficient as a business and with operations?

Absolutely. It’s a battle against the clock; we’re trying to pour as much concrete as we can in a day, so efficiency is a large factor in what we do.

What is your favorite benefit of using the C Series?

One of the benefits of using the C Series is I know where I’m at, [and] when I’m done paying this truck off. The resale value is a big part of why we chose Cemen Tech and why we went with the C60. 

Describe a time when ACCU-POUR™ solved a business problem.

ACCU-POUR™ solves our business problem every day. The core of our business revolves around ACCU-POUR™. Our office is fluent with the Cemen Tech ACCU-POUR™ system. We can move customers, see our aggregates, check our schedules, move schedules and make sure we can collect everything we needed that day. 

At the end of the day, ticketing can be confusing if you don’t have it. Having ACCU-POUR™ allows us to make sure that we collect every ticket for that day and don’t miss a ticket.

What’s one thing a new user to ACCU-POUR™ should know.

If you’re a new user to ACCU-POUR™, it’s going to help your business. It’s going to help your business, not only the way you pour concrete, but it’s going to help you be efficient, and it’s going to help you know where everything is in real-time.

Does efficiency come from more streamlining the bookkeeping and payment process?

We have efficiency in our bookkeeping, and we do streamline our tickets a lot better, but it also helps us keep track of our drivers and know where they are. If somebody finishes sooner, we can make a quick change and move another driver over to another pour.

What would you say to someone who isn’t sure they want to have the entire ACCU-POUR™ system immediately?

We went all-in with the ACCU-POUR™  from the start. We knew tracking tickets was going to be something hard to do, so we didn’t hesitate to jump in, and it worked out well for us.

How has Cemen Tech customer support been?

Customer support with Cemen Tech has been great. It’s been second to none. Our business has prospered because of what Cemen Tech has done for us; our business is good because of the help we have from Cemen Tech.

Have you used CONNECT? 

Yes, the app helps us when we have an issue with the truck. We can call directly to Cemen Tech, get a video of what’s going on, and they can help us troubleshoot our truck on the spot. 

We wanted to have a demonstration with our team on the washout feature on a new upgrade. We did a Cemen Tech CONNECT and were able to get [our] whole team together, and through CONNECT, show them the new washout feature. It benefited the team on the spot and took a couple of minutes to do.

What has been feedback from your operators on using the C Series and ACCU-POUR™? 

It’s the simplicity of doing things. We can pour concrete with the touch of a button and have information with the touch of a button. It makes life easier, rather than doing things manually. We have the information readily available all the time.

A desire to gain more hands-on experience in the construction industry led Pete Recio to Diamond 8 Concrete as an operator in early 2020. As the business continued to grow, Recio moved into a sales role then operations manager.

Talk about your job on an average day.

Day-to-day basis, I start the day by checking on ACCU-POUR™ — a very useful tool, by the way. I check it to make sure all my trucks are running and everyone is on schedule. Check my phones, check for cancellations. I’ll finally work my way to the office, check in with dispatch, and once I check that the schedule has been taken care of, I’ll move on to accounting, check on collections, make sure that we’re up-to-date, anything that we might be behind on. 

I’ll come and check with the shop and make sure that all our machines are in tip-top shape, getting greased daily, getting maintenance, tires, oil, top to bottom, front to back and also check on our material levels.

Talk about your experience with ACCU-POUR™, and what would you say is your favorite feature of it?

I like ACCU-POUR™, and I like the versatility of the app. I like that any time of the day, I can check on my trucks and I’m getting live feed as to the progression throughout the day. I’m checking routes, materials, how much they’re using, and that helps with the budget as well.

Another thing I like is with the press of a button, no matter where I am, I can check the schedule, move it around. That helps the day move along a lot faster — a truck’s getting behind, a couple of clicks, and we’re back on schedule, make a few adjustments. I’m able to provide the customer with an instant invoice. As soon as we’re done with ACCU-POUR™, they’re able to see it on my phone or my tablet; this is what you poured and this is specifically for your location. We have the address, names, and how much yardage in concrete we’ve provided for them.

Does the ability to change the schedule around as needed help give you a little peace of mind given the number of jobs Diamond 8 Concrete handles?

Everyone experiences delays, whether it’s the concrete finishers or the general contractor or ourselves, we also experience delays. Mechanical issues, driver issues, or if a driver is getting behind, I’ll immediately adjust ACCU-POUR™ to a driver who’s moving a lot faster. He can provide relief to the schedule as the other driver catches up to speed.

What’s your favorite benefit of the C Series?

One of the best benefits of using the C Series with Cemen Tech is its versatility. The fact that it’s at the tip of your fingers and you’re able to make on-the-spot changes to the schedule, to the pour  — from 3,000 psi to 4,000 psi — immediate changes.

Does the one-button make the learning curve easier for someone who lacks experience working with concrete?

The C Series also helps you understand concrete in a much easier way. It’s at the tip of your fingers, a user-friendly system, especially if it’s matched up with ACCU-POUR™. It can make things so much simpler when it comes to getting the customer what they need.

You’re able to eliminate a lot of human error. You’re able to immediately see on the screen anything that might be needed to be troubleshot.

Talk about the classroom training and your take-away from them.

I attended Cemen Tech’s training classes in Iowa a few months back. I learned how our trucks work and all the updates that send out every day. I highly recommend those classes. You learn a lot more about who Cemen Tech is and how much they care about you as a driver/operator, and it brings it all together.

Is there one particular part of the training class that makes it worth it?

You learn in-depth, from the beginning to the end, as to how your truck works and the ins and outs of your truck’s parts, and how easy it can be for trained mechanics to troubleshoot. It is also very user-friendly as far as drivers, the fact that we have a web-based Cemen Tech CONNECT. I like the Cemen Tech CONNECT from your cell phone. Anybody can contact Cemen Tech and get immediate assistance as to how to troubleshoot your truck, and that’s something that you get to see at these courses.

Lisa Perez, President

Demand is insane. When we first got the trucks, I thought, ‘Oh, another concrete thing for us,’ nothing major. Then suddenly it boomed — we went from one truck to now we’re on order for our 10th truck. They’re busy, super busy. We got into it, as Mike stated, for ourselves, but using the Cemen Techs, the ACCU-POUR™ has expanded our business. My son has joined us to help. It’s been different. It’s had ups and downs like every business, but on my end with the office, it’s helped tremendously. Sometimes I don’t have to be here, but I can get on my phone, pull up ACCU-POUR™, and it’s there for me.

Jarren Jimenez, Asst. Operations Manager

Why did you choose to get involved in the family business?

All my life, I grew up around construction, but this is a little bit different than construction, this is concrete. I enjoy it a lot.

Talk about your experience using the C Series and your experience with the training class.

I learned a few things (at the training class). I was already here for about three months, so I knew the basics of it but then they [the class] went into why this works, why this works in this way, and how it pours. I learned quite a bit.

Talk about your experience, even though you grew up around the construction side and concrete is a bit different, of becoming an operator, pouring the concrete, and using the C Series.

At first, it was difficult. I didn’t know, but as you get used to it, knowing it, it’s pretty simple. You do have hiccups here and there, but they’re easy to fix because of the technology on them. You can add water, less water, it’s better for the customers because down here they like it real wet. It’s like a luxury to have that option.

Talk about using ACCU-POUR™.

ACCU-POUR™ helps everybody out. You can see where the drivers are if you’re running on time, and if you’re not, you can call the customer ahead and tell them we’re running a little bit late, that’s it. It’s easier providing how many yards each truck poured which helps so we can add it all up in the end. It has all those features like sales tax, how much per yard, and customer information.

If you were to talk with someone on the fence who had operators but didn’t know if they wanted to get trucks with ACCU-POUR™ on them or add it to an existing truck, what would you say to them?

I would say it would be a lot of time saved in being that you can see where they’re at, what time they come in, and it’s easier for the driver to communicate with the customer. Let’s say you’re running late; the driver can call or we can call and tell them we’ll be running late. We can tell them when the driver is taking off to the location and say he’s already on his way, we’re going to get there. It helps out a lot, it saves a lot of time.

Have you used Cemen Tech CONNECT?

Actually yes, I’ve used it a couple of times, for a little hose in the back, a hydraulic hose [leaking].

Did it alleviate some of the headache?

Oh yes, it did. Yes, we went to training, but we don’t know everything they [Cemen Tech service technicians] do. So when they get on a call, they know what to do real quick; they just tell us what to do and we do it. My calls have been good.

Diamond 8 Concrete: At A Glance

MARKET AREA: Rio Grande Valley
SERVICES: Residential & Commercial Concrete Delivery
EQUIPMENT: Cemen Tech C Series