The construction industry has traditionally lagged behind other industries in the adoption of digital capabilities. In fact, of the 22 top industries, construction is ranked #21 – meaning next to the bottom – in digitalization. Practices used in the construction supply chain are antiquated. They are too reliant on manual and paper-based processes. This is a significant factor as to why job site productivity has remained stuck over the past two decades. At the same time, other industries have found ways to double, triple, or more their productivity over the same period.
However, one company has made it their mission to change the status quo. Command Alkon, founded in 1976, has sought to transform the construction industry. Command Alkon designs software that digitally connects the construction materials ecosystem. Their mantra, “Together We Build Amazing,” encapsulates their goal to ensure frictionless supply chain collaboration between all construction trading partners so that jobs can be completed on time and budget. With an open industry collaboration platform, Command Alkon plans to reinvent the construction industry by bridging the technology gap. Their technology automates processes, boosts productivity, increases savings, assists in reducing carbon emissions and improves communication and collaboration.
“Heavy Construction is vital to the future. As the world’s second-largest industry, construction projects positively affect communities all around the world, and their impacts are decades or centuries lasting. Improving infrastructure; building homes, schools, libraries, hospitals, workspaces; and creating more sustainable construction practices will improve the quality of life for everyone,” says Phil Ramsey, President, and CEO of Command Alkon.
“Imagine a world where real-time order confirmations, inventories, schedules, material origins, material properties, properties in transit, proof-of-delivery, quality assurance, invoices, and payments all come together to form an end-to-end digital story.”
Addressing construction supply pains
CONNEX from Command Alkon is “The Supplier Collaboration Platform for Construction’s Heavy Work.” CONNEX allows businesses within the heavy construction industry to harness problem-solving energies and gain insights into every aspect of their supply chain. The platform allows companies to simplify data and analytics across their trading partners, and streamline operations for greater efficiency and productivity, which helps to deliver value to customers.
CONNEX further links trading partners, including contractors, suppliers, producers, and haulers, to conduct business with each other and automate processes. Transactions are executed and the information collected is used to deliver insights that fuel success on the job site.
CONNEX can gather data from IoT devices, telematics, and more, running analytics on it to inform about a business’ performance. The CONNEX Solution Suites automate business-critical processes in a company and across its trading partners. Whether procuring, making, dispatching, selling, tracking or tracing heavy building materials, the CONNEX Platform delivers what is needed to maintain a competitive edge.
Command Alkon also has specific solutions for contractors, suppliers, haulers, and producers. These include, but are not limited to:
BuildIt is a supply chain management solution built from the ground up for the construction materials industry, transforming the way contractors, suppliers, and haulers interact to increase performance and reduce costs.
Command Alkon’s TrackIt GPS and Telematics solution. TrackIt maps exact locations of trucks, providing real-time statuses and alerts. Telematic devices can alert managers of truck positions while also tracking driving habits, helping to uncover risky behaviors like hard braking, speeding, and sharp turns. The value of TrackIt can also be extended to third-party logistics providers with TrackIt 3P.
COMMANDqc ensures raw materials conform to supplier and customer requirements. Optimize concrete mixes to comply with strength, durability and aggregate grading requirements while controlling mix costs.
Feature-rich Apex software automates and optimizes user’s truck scale ticketing, transportation, and back-office processes to maximize efficiency, profitability, and safety.
MOBILEjobsite provides dispatch data in real-time, regardless of your location. This simple, easy-to-navigate app gives the user information on orders scheduled for today, upcoming orders for future days, real-time truck locations, load-level summaries of completed and upcoming orders, notifications when a load is on the way to your site, and records of load status times.
MOBILEticket is Command Alkon’s paperless ticketing solution that simplifies the material delivery process and improves invoice accuracy. It effectively reduces the costs of printing, paper, and transferring tickets from the field to the billing office, as well as drivers’ yard time.
MOBILEsales allows sales people to create more accurate sales forecasts. It provides visibility into the pipeline forecast, and the ability to view the backlog. This helps with scheduling so that jobs will be completed on time and within budget.
COMMANDbatch is an automated batching system that can help users take control of the batching process and deliver greater quality and consistency.
supplyCONNECT is a supply chain management solution for managing daily replenishment plans and reducing the costs, risks, and waste involved with out of stock and over-stock situations and inefficient hauling practices.
COMMANDassurance helps ready mix producers and other members of the heavy work community gain visibility in real-time into the fresh concrete while in transit. A stainless-steel probe goes into the drum of the truck and integrates the data collected into other Command Alkon systems from batch, to dispatch, to quality control.
COMMANDoptimize is an optimization engine that digests information about all the orders, trucks, plants and other variables and then provides suggestions on the best way to utilize those resources.
COMMANDseries allows users to share data across all aspects of their operations. It integrates with other Command Alkon solutions for batching, quality control, in-cab telematics, mobility, enterprise content management, and business intelligence.
HaulIt gives users real-time control to ensure they make money every day. HaulIt handles quoting, dispatching & billing and integrates with TrackIt for Fleet & Workforce Management, including in-cab telematics.
Adding real value
Command Alkon’s digital collaboration platform is the game-changer the industry needs to grow more profitably. In a short time, the platform has generated over $102 million in cost savings across 150+ projects.
In one example of a project, Lauren Concrete was looking for a solution to maximize the efficiency of their delivery fleet. Lauren Concrete decided to adopt COMMANDoptimize as their tool of choice. The tool helps dispatchers make decisions through unbiased recommendations on utilizing resources. The human brain can process about 50 variables at once, COMMANDoptimize can consider many facts and recommend a decision that saves users both time and dollars.
“Our absolute best people can’t do what COMMANDoptimize can. With so much going on, humans just can’t compete with the power of optimization,” mentions Ryan Bartholomew, CEO at Lauren Concrete.
In the past, Lauren Concrete would have hundreds of orders in a day and miss loading some of the orders. The tool constantly informed them about what needs to be loaded and crunches costs by pulling drivers based on their hours and location. Then it recommends the best cost scenario. Utilizing TrackIt and HaulIt has also done wonders for Lauren Concrete’s goal of digitalization.
“We are no longer looking through stacks of tickets, we’re looking at our system and from there we can match the loads to the invoice. It’s helped us to go paperless,” says Ryan. TrackIt also gives Lauren Concrete confidence that there’s no theft because historical data shows every place that the truck went.
In another example, Jacob Davis, Area Operations Manager at Wayne Davis Concrete was desperate for inventory visibility and an accurate idea of his material demand. supplyCONNECT was the solution to Jacob’s problem.
“It has saved me tremendous time in scheduling every day…now I can plan a busy day in around 30 minutes,” shares Jacob. With supplyCONNECT in place, Jacob saw lower cement costs, lower overall inventory costs, and improved hauling efficiencies. He was able to significantly reduce planning time, more effectively collaborate with key suppliers, and proactively manage critical pours.
“I can forecast my demand hour-by-hour to evaluate whether I should send a tanker to a cement source that is further away but actually cheaper versus automatically hauling from the source that is closest,” adds Jacob.
Clearly, the innovations at Command Alkon are changing the dynamics of the industry and adding real value to their clients.
Lauren Concrete was looking for a solution to maximize the efficiency of their delivery fleet. Lauren Concrete decided to adopt COMMANDoptimize as their tool of choice.
Geared up for change
In the past few years, Ramsey has seen modern supply chains evolving to become more open and participative. He says, “Imagine a world where real-time order confirmations, inventories, schedules, material origins, material properties, properties in transit, proof-of-delivery, quality assurance, invoices, and payments all come together to form an end-to-end digital story. Data sharing is highly valuable when there are multiple entities on a supply chain (like in the construction world). Many companies across many different industries are shifting from a traditional linear value chain to the more open and participative infrastructure of a supply chain platform.” He also shares that Data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two technologies that will shape the construction industry this year and for years to come.
With that in mind, Ramsey and Command Alkon are hard at work towards realizing the goal of a world of digital construction. With the help of continuous innovation, Command Alkon is consistently setting new standards for the industry to follow. Their commitment has enabled them to maintain a leadership position in the transformation of the heavy construction industry.
“Economic uncertainty, labor shortages, and insufficient communication and productivity are putting a dent in bottom-line profits. The move toward digital transformation can eliminate or help to mitigate these risks. At Command Alkon, we are committed to creating solutions to make the digital transformation quicker and easier,” says Ramsey. “Together with our customers, our solutions are building the foundations for tomorrow’s communities.”
The CONNEX platform allows businesses within the heavy construction industry to harness problem-solving energies and gain insights into every aspect of their supply chain.