All posts by Tim Dwyer

IoT Discussion with Bridger Moreland, CTO of Manatt’s Inc. Part II

IoT Discussion with Bridger Moreland, CTO of Manatt’s Inc. Part II

Bridger Moreland

photo credit – the technology association of iowa

What are some of the challenges the Ready-Mix industry is facing and how can IoT help meet those challenges?

Working in rural Iowa, connectivity is always a challenge for us and we have done a lot of tests to connect and collect information out in the field and ensure that the live stream of data can flow through to the data collectors and data stores. When it comes to the Internet of Things, it’s all about collecting the data and in a timely manner, and if we have to wait until a truck or a manager or somebody touches a device or drives into a yard so that we are getting it, that’s a delay in the information that we are trying to analyze.

The other big challenge that is across the industry is interoperability between the programs and systems that we already have, a lot of them are very closed systems.

 

Hats off to Sysdyne for making moves on a more open API, because that hasn’t been the norm for a long time in our industry.

 

In the past it’s been very territorial, this is my system, buy my system all the way through, but your system only does this slice well, I want to use this other system so we have the best solution possible to answer the business problems we are trying to solve.

When you start bringing in Internet of Things, information needs to flow and we need to speak many languages and we need to do it fluidly, otherwise we have a lot information we can’t do anything with and its back to working in silos. IoT devices are about interoperability and breaking down silos, and I see that as the biggest problem. We have been on not always older technology, but very proprietary technology that won’t play nice with others. I think if we start sharing better and stop thinking, oh we are going loose customers if I let them move information back and forth, that is in fact a value you add. These are things that we want and we need, in order to have insight all the way through end to end in what we are trying to produce.

What does the future hold in leveraging IoT in the Ready-mix Concrete industry?

I see a lot of things happening over the next 3 to 5 years. I think we are still just scratching the surface on the capabilities of IoT, and we will see much more integration between the systems. On the leadership front, on the people side of it, we will better balance the dichotomy between operations vs technology. We are not a siloed group anymore, we partner and work together a lot more efficiently because there is a lot more coming into play here, it’s gone beyond what a typical operation manager can handle. Looking at all the various things out there that is capable of doing more, I see a lot more on how we do things, how we are structured, working together within a business. I think the future is wide open now that we have learned how we can collect information, store it and analyze it to provide real time feedback to managers. Their minds all of sudden are exploding with oh, can we put a sensor here, or can we maybe do this and the answer is Yes, we can. However, we need to prioritize what is the best investment and what we are going to get in return, does it make sense, are we going to use this data.

 

I think we are still just scratching the surface on the capabilities of IoT, and we will see much more integration between the systems

 

I think we will see a lot more emphasis towards the safety side, just because we care about our people, because we don’t need guys climbing from the top of silos, and looking down to measure material quantities for example, there is technology for that. I think we will solve this problem, about how to make things play nicely with one another, and the ones that refuse will probably start losing some share over the next 3 years in the industry. Mostly because there are other solutions and there are people like me who are supporting our business, saying hey I am here to help you analyze and figure this problem out, we are going to work through it. Just because we used the same vendor for the last 35 years doesn’t mean that they still own what we do, because we do things better than that. We’re going to do things with a tech4 idea and we are going to solve problems for 3 years from now and not problems we already solved and we are doing fine 3 years ago.

So, I think that’s what you’ll see, a lot more collaboration, better accessibility to valuable data and more technology to support operations and the business. In the next 3 years, we will be taking a harder look at how we can work smarter and how we can do things better because it makes sense and is making us more money.

Is there a specific process or product that is not currently available on the market, that would you believe would bring huge value to our business?

We have delivered concrete the same way for a long time and if we start looking in more detail at how we have been doing it for so long, there are definitely better ways to deliver concrete that will give us better results, especially with the onset of new technology. We have some great examples of autonomous vehicles now, and within the next 10 years I see that creeping into our industry as well. Once you think about that and how that process goes, so many other things have to come together as well to support that type of model.

 

We will have to build out a smarter dispatch system to better predict what we need and where we need it.

 

We will have to cover all the safety considerations that lead up to that as well. Sometime in the future, I see concrete being delivered by semi-autonomous trucks with remote pilots helping the process along. Technology wise, we have a lot of things to put into place before that happens. I mean, we are already looking at converting our plant to solar, so the introduction of autonomous electric ready-mix trucks is definitely possible in the future. Un-maned plants and autonomous trucks will increase safety, reducing risks and more importantly it better addresses the needs of the customer to get their concrete delivered where they want it and at the time they want it. Consequently, it won’t make sense to have certain plants going all the time, especially if you can do things remotely. At that point, you can meet that customer’s needs more effectively without having a full staff onsite or even having the plant running all the time, it can be an on-demand model.

View previous – Sysdyne and Bridger Moreland : Part I

Closing remarks

With all this talk of IoT and cloud and data analytics, I think we just advanced the industry 5 years! I would love to have more of this type of conversation, and definitely like to partner with Sysdyne more to discuss where you are headed and how we can work together as your customer and as a partner, the Sysdyne products are not going away from Manatt’s anytime soon, might as well make the most of this journey together.

IoT Discussion with Bridger Moreland, CTO of Manatt’s Inc. Part I

IoT Discussion with Bridger Moreland, CTO of Manatt’s Inc. Part I

Bridger Moreland

photo credit – the technology association of iowa

Hi Bridger, would you tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been in the IT field for over 30 years, and a lot of that has been in consultant roles working with midsize businesses, across many industries from finance, education definitely on the manufacturing side of things. I have always liked doing that and I found myself here as a consultant for Manatt’s, I really liked what they were doing, what they were about and decided to come onboard. As a consultant you tend to hope around a lot and make a lot of suggestions without seeing necessarily the outcome of those suggestions. So, it was nice to find a home and follow things through and build a team for the long term. My background, I have dabbled on the development side, information side, operations, security, compliance, I am one of those broad background IT people, but I have always been firmly rooted in how does that help the business and what kind of value are we offering.

I’ve always been the in-between person, very business-oriented and focused on creating value with technology and finding new ways of doing things. I’m originally from Nashville, Tennessee. I started off as a developer, but my degrees are in business.

What is IoT? What are the most common examples of IoT systems?

The way I see the Internet of Things, it’s about bringing objects together to share information, you analyze the data then you create an action, with a big emphasis on that action. IoT is used in everything now a days, anything from health bracelets to kitchen appliances, the door locks I have all over my house, even dog collars, I guess you can even program your pet now! Basically, it’s anything that can act as a data collection point to communicate information back, even across different networks, so you can create these huge bodies of data that power better decisions.

 

The quality and scope of the data across the internet of things, generates this opportunity for much more contextualized and responsive interaction, so these devices create a big potential for change. So that’s the exciting piece of IoT for me.

 

It’s an exciting challenge to bring new technology to our industry, how is harnessing the power of IoT any different?

When we look around, we are already heavily reliant on technology, think of the systems, the computers the software, the sensors, all that we use to be able to do our job day to day. When it comes to pushing levers, the minute you start pushing buttons you are pretty much programming the computer that gets that product done and out the door.

You just gave us a great definition of what IoT is and how it applies, so how about the industrial side of IoT? Why is there a special term for industrial application of IoT technology (IIOT) and how does that apply?

Well it’s another acronym we can throw around now to confuse people for one… but seriously the industrial IoT covers a lot of specific use cases for manufacturing logistics, mining, and other industrial sectors. Initially when this term was thrown around, it was very specific to optimization of operational efficiency, which is what I am completely about in my life. It’s all about operational efficiency and automation. It moved us toward intelligent manufacturing or industry 4.0, you know we have been through an industrial revolution and this is another big serious surge forward in what you can do in manufacturing. And now it’s driving areas like demand service models which is very specific to what a customer wants, digital transformation, asset performance management which we are pretty big into here at Manatt’s, for controlling our equipment and assets. I have always felt that

 

IIoT is that convergence of information technology with operational technology that used to be two completely separate things. When you think about it, our systems when you are setting some best practice protective guard rails, that is a very new way of thinking for management. But when you get those two things together, to converge, it enables this freedom to be a lot nimbler on the business side. And it is IIoT that is driving a lot of that empowerment.

 

What are some IIoT examples and top benefits? 

It obviously offers the ability to be more efficient in how we do things, it saves time, it saves money, it even reduces emissions in the process, so there is a green side to it. More importantly, it allows companies to rethink how they are delivering services and producing goods. You have sensors on product lines that can increase efficiency and cut down on waste using smart sensors. As an example of what we are already doing with our fleet of trucks, anything that has 4 wheels or more has sensors on it, even our drills in our quarries, all this moves the needle towards information accuracy and that drives not only operational efficiency but a discovery in that they can achieve better outcomes.

You mentioned already outfitting your fleet with more and sensors to increase efficiency, how will IIoT technology continue to affect the ready-mix concrete industry specifically? 

We are talking about an industry that has very small profit margins to start with, it’s every penny helps type of industry. IoT has the potential to affect every process in the ready-mix industry, and in a lot of cases it already has. For example, our fleet is already using cloud dispatch and GPS to pin point location and providing information that scales doing paperless ticketing. We have even played with drones to measure the size of the piles in the yard, which is much more accurate than pulling the yard stick up and having someone crawl up a pile of material. There are safety wearables that can identify where equipment is located, the location of the personnel around, making sure that we are keeping track of proximities. Some of the other things we are working with is smart cameras and sensors that allow for safe remote batching. There is this continuous delivery system that will allow a plant to be predictive on its production based on what’s happening on the job. Its focusing on the site that they are servicing, where they need the material and they know how much material is going there. On the other side of the supplies, the inbound to the plant from the quarries. You know if anyone thinks that the materials industry isn’t part of technology they are mistaken, because keeping track of all these separate factors, its easy when you are confined to one building. It’s like manufacturing a widget going through an assembly line. However, in talking about the job sites that we are supplying, we are geographically spread out, and having the visibility between when all those things happen, really takes a technology solution and sensors everywhere so we know what is coming, what needs to be done and what is necessary on the other end.

How does cloud technology fit within the framework of leveraging IoT?  

 

To me, the cloud is a big giant repository that allows us to dump data in and fluidly move it back and forth between other applications to analyze and make better decisions.

 

It brings its own issues around security and how we architect it, but it makes it a lot easier to manipulate information all in one space. We used to have to secure only a few machines, now we are securing untold number of devices that are smart. Central control makes it easier and more effective. Traditionally the materials industry did not put a lot into their IT support, typically more emphasis went towards the operational side of things. In the past, having security analyst and people filling those types of roles, was not the norm in the materials world. This is where the cloud can help with that, for example take AWS (Amazon Web Services), it is a government certified storage solution with really high levels of security that you simply could not get in your own infrastructure. So storage capacity and security is definitely helped by moving to the cloud.

I see the cloud being a good fit also because it has become affordable and accessible for smaller size businesses to benefit as well. This type of architecture used to be very prohibitive for a small business to get into, and now you can access AWS and spin up something in about less than 10 minutes. All of sudden, companies of all sizes can benefit from this great cloud environment, where you can store all your data, have it securely backed-up automatically, and the best part it works! When you are talking about IoT, it becomes even more important because now you are talking about hundreds of sensors that are out there and they are all feeding a little bit of data up continuously, and that becomes exponentially harder to design a data center that can accommodate. So, when we are talking about cloud, it has this elastic capability so you can grow it and shrink it, based on however much data you are collecting. And you can decide what type of information has business value and cut out the rest to contain costs.

 

I see the cloud fitting inside IoT just because of its flexible nature.

 

It’s custom built around the idea that it will take as much or as little information that we want and will shrink and grow both the cost and the effectiveness of that infrastructure to match it. It’s kind of like what we want to build on the products industry, something that is custom suited for our customer and that is what the cloud can do for us.

What are the potential benefits and ROI in using IoT in our industry?

Two pop out of mind, one is absolutely on the safety side. Not only are our people important to us, it’s hard enough to find people to come to this industry, so we want them to be safe in what they are doing. And so, knowing where people are, doing things using sensors instead of manual processes, especially those that put our people in danger, like climbing on ladders. It’s the simple things that can really cause an incident, like being behind a truck and not realizing that its moving, backing into things, these are solvable issues that can be handled with technology to significantly decrease any of these types of incidents from happening. The other benefit I see is definitely the communication and production line. I think knowing what we need and having that predictability to forecast what we need, will probably be the biggest operational improvement that we have to decreasing waste from a quality standpoint, and ensuring we have what we need when we need it.

Up Next – Sysdyne and Bridger Moreland : Part II

About Sysdyne

Sysdyne has been innovating the Concrete Ready-Mix Industry for over 40 years, having introduced the first cloud-based dispatch system to reduce IT costs and improve access to critical information throughout the enterprise. By introducing the latest in cloud computing technology, producers have been able to improve operational performance and efficiency significantly. Our innovative approach to concrete dispatching, batching and delivery management, has revolutionized the way concrete producers run their operations and interact with their customers.

Digital Future

Imagining Construction’s Digital Future

Digital Future

McKinsey & Company

The industry needs to change; here’s how to manage it.

The construction industry is ripe for disruption. Large projects across asset classes typically take 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80 percent over budget (Exhibit 1). Construction productivity has actually declined in some markets since the 1990s (Exhibit 2); financial returns for contractors are often relatively low—and volatile.

Exhibit 1


Exhibit 2


While the construction sector has been slow to adopt process and technology innovations, there is also a continuing challenge when it comes to fixing the basics. Project planning, for example, remains uncoordinated between the office and the field and is often done on paper. Contracts do not include incentives for risk sharing and innovation; performance management is inadequate, and supply-chain practices are still unsophisticated. The industry has not yet embraced new digital technologies that need up-front investment, even if the long-term benefits are significant (Exhibit 3). R&D spending in construction runs well behind that of other industries: less than 1 percent of revenues, versus 3.5 to 4.5 percent for the auto and aerospace sectors. This is also true for spending on information technology, which accounts for less than 1 percent of revenues for construction, even though a number of new software solutions have been developed for the industry.

Exhibit 3


Technical challenges specific to the construction sector have a role in the slow pace of digitization. Rolling out solutions across construction sites for multiple sectors that are geographically dispersed—compare an oil pipeline, say, with an airport—is no easy task. And given the varying sophistication levels of smaller construction firms that often function as subcontractors, building new capabilities at scale is another challenge.

However, none of this is going to get easier. Projects are ever more complex and larger in scale. The growing demand for environmentally sensitive construction means traditional practices must change. And the shortage of skilled labor and supervisory staff will only get worse. These are deep issues that require new ways of thinking and working. Traditionally, the sector has tended to focus on making incremental improvements, in part because many believe that each project is unique, that it is not possible to scale up new ideas, and that embracing new technologies is impractical.

The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the world will need to spend $57 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to keep up with global GDP growth.1 This is a massive incentive for players in the construction industry to identify solutions to transform productivity and project delivery through new technologies and improved practices.

In this report, we consider five ways the industry can transform itself over the next five years.

Disrupting construction: Five big ideas

None of these five ideas is futuristic or even implausible. All are grounded in innovations that are applicable to the construction sector and that are either being deployed or prototyped. In short, they are practical and relevant. Moreover, they are designed to work together to deliver greater impact (Exhibit 4).

Exhibit 4


Digital collaboration and mobility

Process digitization means moving away from paper and toward online, real-time sharing of information to ensure transparency and collaboration, timely progress and risk assessment, quality control, and, eventually, better and more reliable outcomes.

One reason for the industry’s poor productivity record is that it still relies mainly on paper to manage its processes and deliverables such as blueprints, design drawings, procurement and supply-chain orders, equipment logs, daily progress reports, and punch lists. Due to the lack of digitization, information sharing is delayed and may not be universal. Owners and contractors therefore often work from different versions of reality. The use of paper makes it difficult to capture and analyze data; that matters because in procurement and contracting, historical performance analytics can lead to better outcomes and risk management. Mismanaged paper trails also routinely spur disagreements between owners and contractors on such matters as construction progress, change orders, and claims management. Finally, paper trails simply take more time.

Owners and contractors are beginning to deploy digital-collaboration and field-mobility solutions (Exhibit 7). A large global construction firm recently announced a joint development agreement with a software provider to develop a cloud-based, mobile-enabled field-supervision platform that integrates project planning, engineering, physical control, budgeting, and document management for large projects. Several large project developers have already successfully digitized their project-management work flows.

Exhibit 7


Digitizing work flows has substantial benefits. In an American tunnel project that involved almost 600 vendors, the contractor developed a single platform solution for bidding, tendering, and contract management. This saved the team more than 20 hours of staff time per week, cut down the time to generate reports by 75 percent, and sped up document transmittals by 90 percent. In another case, a $5 billion rail project saved more than $110 million and boosted productivity by using automated work flows for reviews and approvals.

Crew-mobility solutions will have a similar catalytic effect on productivity (Exhibit 8). It’s long been difficult for central-planning teams and on-site construction teams to connect and share information about progress in real time. Several problems have limited the adoption of such tools by field crews: compatibility issues between mobility solutions and central-planning solutions, a lack of reliable and high-speed broadband connectivity, and nonintuitive designs and user interfaces.

Exhibit 8


The availability of low-cost mobile connectivity, including via tablets and handheld devices, has ushered in a new generation of “mobile first” cloud-based crew-mobility apps that can be deployed, even on remote construction sites, with real-time updates. These are commercially viable for contractors and project owners of all sizes.

In fact, the digital-collaboration and mobility-solutions segment has attracted close to 60 percent of all venture funding in the construction-technology sector. One start-up has developed apps for tablets and smartphones that allow changes in construction blueprints and plans to be relayed in real time to on-site crews; site photos can be hyperlinked to construction plans. This solution maintains a master set of documents with automatic version control and cloud-based access. Other companies offer mobile timekeeping, real-time cost coding, geolocation of workers, and issue logging and tracking.

As frontline users such as project managers, tradespeople, and operators adopt real-time crew-mobility apps, they could change the way the industry does everything from work- and change-order management, time and material tracking, dispatching, scheduling, productivity measurement, and incident reporting.

The Internet of Things and advanced analytics

By measures such as the number of people, the profusion of construction equipment, and the amount of work going on at the same time, project sites are getting denser. They now generate vast amounts of data, a majority of which is not even captured, let alone measured and processed.

The Internet of Things is a reality in many other sectors; sensors and wireless technologies enable equipment and assets to become “intelligent” by connecting them with one another. On a construction site, the Internet of Things would allow construction machinery, equipment, materials, structures, and even formwork to “talk” to a central data platform to capture critical performance parameters. Sensors, near-field-communication (NFC) devices, and other technologies can help monitor productivity and reliability of both staff and assets. There are several potential uses:

Equipment monitoring and repair. Advanced sensors can enable machinery to detect and communicate maintenance requirements, send automated alerts for preventive maintenance, and compile usage and maintenance data.
Inventory management and ordering. Connected systems can forecast and alert site managers when stocks are running short and when orders need to be made. NFC tagging and tracking of materials can also pinpoint their location and movement and help reconcile physical and electronic inventory.
Quality assessment. “Smart structures” that use vibration sensors to test the strength and reliability of a structure during the construction stage can detect deficiencies and then correct them early.
Energy efficiency. Sensors that monitor ambient conditions and fuel consumption for assets and equipment can foster on-site energy efficiency.
Safety. Wearable bands can send alerts if drivers and operators are falling asleep or if a vehicle or asset is stationary or nonoperational for a given window of time during shift hours.

One popular form of NFC technology is radio-frequency identification (RFID). This is used extensively in logistics, retail, and manufacturing environments to collect precise information about a product, place, time, and transaction. Since the 1990s, construction has begun to use RFID for applications such as tracking materials and equipment and developing automated time sheets.

And NFC technology is evolving. Soon, tags will be able to include information on specifications, dates, defects, vendors and original-equipment manufacturers, maintenance records, operating parameters, and other applications. Costs of RFID equipment, including scanners, receivers, and tags, are falling, and new applications are emerging. A British construction company, for example, is using RFID to monitor truck inspection, track tool usage, and train workers at construction sites.

In addition to the opportunities from the Internet of Things, the greater use of digitization in the construction-planning process and on the construction site itself is enabling firms to capture data that paper could not. The insights gained through the adoption of advanced analytics in construction projects can help to improve efficiency, timelines, and risk management.

Advanced analytics helped a major London infrastructure project save time and money when project leaders worked with a data-analytics company to produce a web-based adaptive-instrumentation-and-monitoring system. The system absorbed field-sensor data, construction-progress data, and workforce and vehicle movements. Statistical analysis based on this information helped project teams detect anomalies and identify potential risks—critical information for a dense and historically sensitive city like London.

Other examples abound. For instance, insights from advanced analytics helped an oil and gas giant improve the productivity of its engineering function by 20 to 25 percent by pairing the right teams, appointing appropriate team leads, and modifying their work flows to minimize waste and improve efficiency. In another case, a large Middle Eastern construction firm worked with a software company to build a predictive analytics engine to prevent equipment breakdowns on-site for its fleet of construction vehicles. This saved millions of dollars in downtime, fuel costs, and maintenance expenses. And event simulations, coupled with optimization algorithms, have also helped ship builders optimize construction planning.


Other industries have shown that first movers can build a sustainable competitive advantage. In the construction sector, this is also likely to be the case. Over the next decade, these winners of tomorrow will take the lead in technology innovation and digitization. Resisting change is no longer an option.


Disclaimer: This is an excerpt from article “Imagining construction’s digital future”.
For full article, please visit: 
https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-infrastructure/our-insights/imagining-constructions-digital-future

Digital Transformation: Industry Poll Results

Digital Transformation: Industry Poll Results

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift towards digital transformation and the Ready Mix Industry is part of that shift. Leveraging IoT and Cloud platforms to become more mobile, safe and flexible has helped concrete companies weather the storm. We appreciate your participation in this poll, and value your opinions!

 

1. Digital transformation has accelerated due to COVID 19, how has that impacted your business?

It has had minimum impact on day to day operations 29.41%
We have had to make minor changes to allow employees to work remotely 11.76%
Our company has adopted new ways to work safely and efficiently using new technology 35.29%
Employees now work remotely using the latest cloud-based tools which has surprisingly improved our operational efficiency 5.88%
We will continue to expand our use of cloud, mobile and paperless technology to grow our business beyond the COVID 19 pandemic 17.65%

 

2. Has your perception of using cloud technology changed over the course of this pandemic?

My opinion remains unchanged 41.18%
We have taken a closer look and see some benefits in using cloud technology to improve some aspects of our business processes 23.53%
Our company adopted several key initiatives using cloud technology including the use of mobile Apps and Paperless Ticketing 23.53%
We switched from using VPN (Virtual Private Networks), which was hard to scale out, and rolled out major projects to allow our staff to work and communicate remotely using cloud platforms 5.88%
As an organization, we look forward to evaluating other cloud-based technologies to further improve communication, safety and efficiency 5.88%

 

3. What is IoT?

The Internet of Things 29.41%
Sensors linked to computers 0.00%
Wireless connectivity between machines equipped with sensors 0.00%
System of internet-connected objects that are able to collect and transfer data over a wireless network without human intervention 5.88%
All the above 64.71%

 

4. What is the benefit of using IoT and how will it affect the ready-mix industry?

Improve decision making with real-time reporting connected by sensors, cameras and even drones, all feeding data back to a central location where decisions can be made 5.88%
Automate the way we collect and process information to make critical decisions on the field based on a wide variety of information inputs 11.76%
Improve operational uptime and reduce maintenance costs by automating the early detection of issues with equipment 0.00%
Safety, reduce accidents using digital solutions like sensors on workers clothing, cameras in the ready-mix trucks and sensors in the drum to monitor quality and slump 0.00%
All the above 82.35%

 

5. What role does the Cloud play in leveraging IoT for the ready-mix Industry?

The cloud is the best suited platform to collect and store huge amounts of data collected from a variety of sensors on equipment, employees or vehicles 0.00%
The data storage capacity and processing power of the cloud can be easily scaled up or down offering maximum flexibility 5.88%
Make analyzing the data collected from multiple sensors and data entry points easier and faster 5.88%
Easier access to real time information using cloud-based Apps to track key variables like weather, traffic and GPS location of assets and equipment 0.00%
All the above 88.24%

 

6. What would be the value of leveraging cloud technology to run my ready-mix concrete batching system?

I would need to better understand how all that would work, especially if we lose internet connectivity 23.53%
I can see where working a batch plant remotely, the cloud could help us access multiple plants over a wide geographical area 0.00%
Being able to monitor plant activity in real-time remotely, will provide better insights into performance 0.00%
Tracking inventory in real time should save us tremendous amount of time and money 0.00%
Centrally managing, updating and reporting from a single database, will give us extraordinary insight into our business and how we can adjust to make it more profitable 0.00%
All the above 76.47%

 

Sysdyne offers innovative software solutions for the Ready Mix industry, including enterprise Cloud batch, Cloud dispatch and online collaboration platforms with Free Paperless Ticketing.

To learn more please contact your regional Sysdyne representative for complete details by emailing marketing@sysdynetechnologies.com or using our live chat at the bottom of our website.

Thank you,
Sysdyne Team

Streamline Business Processes by Integrating ERP With Sysdyne Cloud Product Suite

Streamline Business Processes by Integrating ERP With Sysdyne Cloud Product Suite

With over 40 plus years of servicing the ready-mix industry as a technology provider, we have witnessed the vast amount of resources and effort concrete suppliers devote to system integration. The benefit of a fully integrating business platforms is obvious: it increases efficiency and reduces costs, boosts cash flow and improves customer service. After all, it’s almost impossible to grow a business with outdated, disconnected or manual driven processes. However, it’s no easy task to integrate different technology platforms and have them speak together to automate the entire business process cycle, or is it? As some companies spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars integrating and maintaining multiple technological platforms, there exist elegant solutions to help streamline data workflow using the latest in technology. These standalone platforms include Concrete dispatch, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Resource Management) and payroll systems. Ready Mix producers face the daunting challenge of aligning raw material orders with production schedules, updating inventory in real time, managing payrolls and expediting billing process while reducing potential invoice disputes. In fact, today’s senior management executives expect easier access to financial and business reports, based on real time information to make important decisions.

 

Sysdyne’s development team uses the latest in cutting-edge technology
to ease the pain of integrating multiple vendor platforms.

 

Sysdyne is proud to help concrete producers, big or small, streamline their business processes while reducing the cost of integration. Our development team uses the latest technologies to ease the pain of integrating systems from different vendors. Our open API enables different software vendors and technology platforms to communicate and share information seamlessly. This creates huge value for the end users who are no longer forced to purchase all their technology from a single source or vendor. Concrete suppliers can choose the best of breed technology that best meet their needs without worrying, will this work?

The integration between ERP and Sysdyne’s product suite, allows concrete producers to track material inventory in real time and streamline payroll management. It also cuts invoicing time from days to minutes. Paperless tickets eliminate the cost of collecting and processing paper tickets. Accounts receivable can then easily access PDF versions of the tickets with a simple click of a button and attach them directly to the invoice.

The integration between systems allow concrete suppliers to break down inefficient work silos and become more agile in the way they manage and view information to make decisions. This means less time trying to consolidate data and more time taking advantage of real time information to track, adjust and optimize operational performance. Faster, easier access to information from multiple sources reduces delays, improves decision making capabilities and allows producers to better project demand so they can deliver more product with the same number of trucks. It also allows producers to keep their fingers on the pulse of their operations, from the time the order is taken to the time the invoice is emailed and collected from the customer.

Consequently, automating data movement between dispatch and ERP systems increases the company’s ability to gather precious insight into their operation’s performance and company’s profitability. By gathering information from dispatch and streamlining it into their ERP, it offers owners and operators the ability to track everything from wait times, driver utilization and a host of other KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) that directly affect the bottom line. Consequently, productivity is improved and billing processes are simplified by leveraging the best that both dispatch and ERP platforms have to offer. By exploiting the unique features embedded in each system, producers are guaranteed strong results. Ready Mix dispatch will continue to do what it does best, allowing producers to optimize scheduling, ordering and fleet performance. By combining the unique features of a proven ERP system to handle billing, AR and accounting, producers are able to take full advantage of the specialized tool sets from each platform to drive profits higher.

Sysdyne has made it easier and less costly to integrate specialized software for concrete operations with ERP systems. These integrations allow ready mix producers to gain significant efficiency and better insights to manage their business more effectively. The days of disparate systems not being able to communicate are gone. New integration technology is allowing our industry to break free from single vendor reliance and is paving a way into the 21st century.

Displaying Water Details on Paperless Tickets Survey Results

Displaying Water Details on Paperless Tickets Survey Results

In rolling out Paperless Ticketing to ready mix producers, contractors and inspectors, we wanted to make 100% sure were providing what the industry actually wanted! Water details such as water added at the plant or job site and resulting water cement ratio is a critical part of quality and job performance.

1. Are you currently using paperless tickets?

Yes 66.67%
No 23.81%

 

2. How important is it to display water details on a ticket? (scale 1 – 10)

Average Rating of 7.4

 

3. Should Drivers have the ability to view water added on their device if batch weights and water details are not part of the paperless ticket?

Yes 33.33%
No 38.10%

 

4. Should water added at the plant be displayed on the paperless ticket?

Yes 57.14%
No 33.33%
Other 9.52%

 

5. Should water added at the jobsite be displayed on the paperless tickets?

Yes 76.19%
No 28.52%

 

6. If a Producer chooses not to display batch weights and water details, should they display water added on-site on the ticket?

Yes 66.67%
No 28.57%
Other 4.76%

 

7. As a Producer, should displaying water details be an option for showing inspectors?

Yes 57.14%
No 38.10%
Other 4.76%

 

8. Are water details important to display on the final ticket included with the invoice to customers?

Yes 47.62%
No 38.10%
Other 14.29%

 

Sysdyne offers innovative software solutions for the Ready Mix industry, including enterprise Cloud batch, Cloud dispatch and online collaboration platforms with Free Paperless Ticketing.

To learn more please contact your regional Sysdyne representative for complete details by emailing marketing@sysdynetechnologies.com or using our live chat at the bottom of our website.

Thank you,
Sysdyne Team

J.P. Carrara & Sons and Sysdyne – A Success Story

J.P. Carrara & Sons and Sysdyne – a Success Story


Founded in the early 1940s, J. P. Carrara & Sons, Inc. is a showcase of many concrete producers in the US. Headquartered in Middlebury, Vermont with plants in Vermont and New York, Carrara has helped build our country over the past 80 years. The company supplied concrete to build the Sidney J. Watson Arena in Brunswick, ME, Wallkill River Bridge in Middletown, NY and The New York Wheel Parking Structure at Staten Island, NY, to name a few. The company uses a central dispatch system to manage its day-to-day operation. All concrete plants are automated.

Bob Carrara, Owner/Treasurer, had seen the need for transitioning to using paperless tickets and using an online platform to track job progress and plant/fleet productivity even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He had seen a lot of time was wasted documenting tickets by hand, organizing and checking in on drivers to check in on their status/progress. The challenge of COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transition to go Paperless. Like many concrete suppliers, Bob quickly implemented an eticketing platform offered by his batch control and dispatch system supplier, hoping to streamline the entire ticketing process and safely manage tickets in digital format. However, he soon realized that the functions offered on the platform were inadequate. In order to replace paper tickets, Carrara needed something more than just ticket information, they needed REAL tickets.

Bob reached out to Sysdyne as soon as he learned about iStradaView, Sysdyne’s collaboration platform that offers free access to paperless tickets to all stakeholders, concrete suppliers, contractors and inspectors. The iStradaView dashboard included in the package, also allows users to track concrete orders and deliveries in real time. The setup is simple and easy and and it works with the majority of dispatch and batch systems available on the market.

Very soon iStradaView was implemented free of charge in conjunction with Carrara’s existing dispatch and batch systems. Since implementing iStradaView, Carrara no longer needs to manage paper tickets or take pictures of batch weights to send to the DOT inspector, everything is done online! With iStradaView, producers can send PDF copies of the actual ticket by email or simply grant access to inspectors and contractors to download the information directly from the App. It has saved tremendous time and cut costs significantly.

Even though the iStradaView offer is free, Bob found it further advanced and more complete when compared with the platform he was using previously. Bob was particularly impressed by iStradaView’s dynamic mobile dashboard with key performance indicators (KPIs). It uses user friendly graphs to display yardage ordered, delivered, and poured that allows him to analyze job performance in real time! The order information is detailed and easy to use and customers can accept and reject loads as proof of delivery. Other benefits using iStradaView includes the ability to collaborate and share information with project stakeholders online.

“iStradaView made our delivery management more predictable, consistent and reliable”
– Bob Carrara, Owner/Treasurer of J.P Carrara & Sons, Inc.

It’s Bob’s plan to invite Carrara’s customers and inspectors to have free access to iStradaView so that all project stakeholders have the ability to view, email and download REAL tickets with batch weights as PDFs. They will be able to track job performance, and confirm delivery using the iStradaView App on their mobile phones. This value added service will make Carrara more competitive in the market and save tremendous amount of time to further reduce costs.

Carrara’s story successfully showed how using iStradaView is possible even with third party systems in place and how going paperless creates tremendous value. Sysdyne looks forward to continuing to build the relationship and help revolutionize the way we deliver concrete and bring value to our customers.

To sign up for the iStradaView Free Paperless ticketing offer, please contact eticketingpromotion@sysdynecorp.com or use our live chat on the bottom of the page.

TxDOT on board with GCP Verifi system for ASTM C94-grade loads

TxDOT on board with GCP Verifi system for ASTM C94-grade loads

A new Texas Department of Transportation Special Provision Specification notes that mixer trucks deploying sensor-enabled slump adjustment equipment like GCP Applied Technologies’ Verifi automated water and chemical admixture dosing system meet ASTM C94, Standard Specification for Ready-Mixed Concrete requirements.

“Verifi gives [us] the ability to manage our concrete from the plant to the jobsite, which delivers the quality that TxDOT and other contractors, engineers, and owners demand,” says Kirk Deadrick, director of Technical Services, Ready Mix for Argos USA, a key Dallas and Houston market operator.

“TxDOT is leading the way by embracing innovation,” affirms GCP Specialty Construction Chemicals Vice President and General Manager Pung Chan. “The ability to make in-transit water or admixture additions will ensure the concrete arrives in spec, shaving priceless minutes of delivery time and reducing the number of rejected concrete batches. The system constantly measures and adjusts the slump, and monitors water content.” The TxDOT spec change mirrors actions of peer Florida, Illinois and Missouri agencies, she adds.

Why Using Paperless Ticketing is Important for DOT Inspectors

Why using Paperless Ticketing is important for DOT Inspectors

DOT
As a result of COVID-19, DOT inspectors, contractors and producers have been forced to adjust the way they work and communicate. Using digital versions of the ticket, or Paperless Tickets, will allow all project stakeholders to continue to work, efficiently and safely.
Contact Us
Top 5 reasons to adopt Paperless Tickets:

• Onsite inspector safety
• AASHTOWare integration
• Reduce lost, torn or ineligible tickets
• Record test results easily using a tablet or phone
• Capture batch weights before trucks arrive at the job site

The TDOT released SOP1-CT to modify certain procedures related to concrete batch tickets. These changes were made in an effort to make TDOT projects safer for all those present on these projects.

We will be addressing the importance of Paperless Tickets for DOT inspectors and all project stakeholders in an upcoming Webinar, stay tuned!

paperless PDF

Please contact your regional Sysdyne representative to register for our upcoming Webinar “The Value of Using Paperless Tickets for DOT Inspectors” gmccoubrey@sysdynetechnologies.com or using our LIVE CHAT

Thank you,
Sysdyne Team

Native Cloud Versus Application Virtualization

Why Choose Native Cloud Over Virtualized Applications?

A Brief Outline

Application virtualization is a software technology that encapsulates computer programs from the underlying operating system on which they are executed. This software technology virtualizes hardware into multiple machines, while Cloud computing is the combination of multiple hardware devices. With a Virtualized Application, a user gets dedicated hardware, while with Native Cloud solutions, multiple hardware devices provide one login environment for users. While Cloud environments are accessible via URL, a Virtualized Private Network, or VPN, is intended to be accessed on site only. Cloud-based software, if given permission, can be accessed anywhere with internet connection. Shared computing resources including software and hardware, provide a Cloud environment, while Virtualized Apps only come into existence after machine/hardware manipulation. A single machine failure won’t impact Cloud infrastructure, but in a Virtualized environment, a single node failure can impact 100s of virtual machines.

The majority of Sysdyne’s products operate using a Native Cloud.

 

In More Detail

Application Virtualization Requires More Support
While Virtual dispatch applications are installed on a server and use Citrix to stream the application, Native Cloud solutions are available with internet access anywhere, anytime. Citrix needs to be installed on each of the client’s computer with a shortcut for easy access.

Scalability – The Ultimate Limitation
Since Application Virtualization uses a VPN, Customers will need to manage their own VPN(s). As we all know, VPNs are not the most reliable networks and can disconnect from time to time. As VPNs do not always recover automatically, when a VPN has disconnected, users may need to reconnect the application with server manually.
The biggest advantage of a Native Cloud solution is its scalability; It can be easily scaled out. When users increase, just add more servers to expand the database and you’re ready to go. Due to the structural difference, a Virtualized App can NOT be scaled out. A Virtualized App can only be scaled up when the database is getting bigger. Such a scale up is supported by hardware expansion which will eventually reach its limit.

Performance May Be Compromised
While the Native Cloud only make changes to the source code for updates, using Citrix to stream the application to a client’s computer is similar to streaming a movie. It’s data hungry, and therefore needs much more bandwidth. Whenever there is too much traffic on the Internet, or provided smaller bandwidth, it will take much longer to operate.

Almost Unusable on Mobile Devices
The costly scale up with Virtualized Apps has a provider restrict the usage of the server, so rather than creating a Virtualized desktop, it only provides one instance for the application. This is why you can only see one screen at a time.
Even though it’s Virtualized, Application Virtualization is a Windows desktop solution – The UI is not designed to use on tablets or mobile phone. The widely used right-click function, for example, would not be functional on mobile devices.

Outdated and Unsupported
Due to the limitation of a Virtualized applications, technology is moving quickly towards developing more Native Cloud solutions. Providers of legacy products, on the other hand, are actively seeking ways to Virtualize their existing products to avoid the massive R&D cost to develop Native Cloud products.
The industry’s shift to the Cloud has all new development tools, platforms, and libraries evolving to Native Cloud. Eventually the Virtualized App will become obsolete and phased out due to lack of support from the computer industry.

Unlikely to Offer Pay-As-You-Go Pricing
Due to the difficulties of scalability with Virtualized Applications, it is unlikely for such a solution to offer a pay-as-you-go pricing module.

 

Key Points The Cloud Virtualization
 Scalability

 

The Cloud can be extended as much as desired. Virtual machine configuration limits scalability.
 Flexibility

 

It is very flexible for user access; Given permission, a user can access the cloud from any location with internet Proper authentication is required before accessing the virtual machines.
 Integration

 

Cloud integration allows future expansion of Users, applications, etc. Virtualization integration allows the expansion of new machines within the same infrastructure.
 Dependency

 

Multiple users can access the network using the same link. Multiple OS can be installed on a single server/computer
 Disaster Recovery

 

Not dependent upon one machine. Single machine failure can bring down multiple virtual machines.