Lauren Concrete, a family-owned company headquartered in Austin, Texas, has experienced significant growth from a one plant ready mix operation started in 1986 to now having 23 plants across east central Texas. Throughout this growth, Lauren Concrete has worked to be a good neighbor in the cities that it operates as well as being a good employer.
“Lauren Concrete wants to be a leader in all aspects of our business. That goes beyond just providing our products and services to the industry; we also strive to be a leader in our communities and be the place of choice for employment. We only achieve that by investing in our communities, our employees and areas where we can improve our business.”
- Ryan Bartholomew, CEO at Lauren Concrete
One area that Lauren Concrete has invested in to improve the impact to its communities revolves around greenhouse gas emissions. Every stage of construction projects – from mining for raw materials, transporting materials to a building site, through the construction process, and waste removal and disposal – all impact the environment. Although it handles only one portion of the supply chain, Lauren Concrete has invested in improving the carbon emissions impact inside the areas that it can control. Earlier this year, Lauren shared how it had invested in reducing the carbon footprint of concrete production (link to article: http://www.laurenconcrete.com/app/uploads/2020/01/Lauren-Concrete-Partners-with-CarbonCure-1.pdf). Lauren has also invested and seen direct benefits in reducing carbon emissions by improving the utilization of their fleet of ready mix trucks.
Several years ago, Lauren Concrete implemented Command Alkon’s COMMANDoptimize engine within its largest market: the Central region that serves the greater Austin area. COMMANDoptimize has shown outstanding success in reducing carbon emissions by allowing Lauren Concrete to deliver materials using fewer hours and resources. This outcome was reached by reductions in the time spent during startup, shutdown, waiting time on job or at plant, and other “non-productive” tasks. Ultimately, this led to less time being expended to deliver materials and allowed a smaller fleet to deliver the same quantity of materials. With COMMANDoptimize, Lauren’s Central region has seen consistent productivity gains of 5% year over year and have improved their on-time percentage by about 8%.
Following the success seen in the Central region’s implementation of COMMANDoptimize, Lauren’s West region was eager to install Optimization to service their work while sustaining service levels and improving fleet utilization.
Jimmy Grubbs, Operations Manager for Lauren Concrete’s West region worked with Matt Jetmore, General Manager for Lauren Concrete’s Central region, to see how the higher average yardage volumes achieved in the Central region could be achieved in the West, where they had only a 40 truck fleet.
How do you increase your yardage with such limited amount of available fleet? COMMANDoptimize was the answer.
“We would not have been successful without the support from Command Alkon. The software support combined with the change management support provided by the Optimization team was really instrumental in helping us rebuild our processes from the ground up and increasing our productivity levels.”
- Jimmy Grubbs, Operations Manager, Lauren Concrete
COMMANDoptimize – especially during these uncertain times that COVID-19 has presented – acted as the connecting bridge between Lauren Concrete’s Central and West regions. One of Lauren Concrete’s plants right in the middle of their Central and West regions lost all of its drivers because of the virus. With Optimization, they were able to cover that plant with shared resources from both regions.
“During this time, we did not have to turn down work because of impact of the Coronavirus. When you think about that – having all the drivers out of a plant for two weeks, that could be disastrous. With Optimization on our side, we really did not miss a beat.”
- Matt Jetmore, General Manager, Lauren Concrete
The West region is up over 20% in their productivity and yardage since implementing COMMANDoptimize. Their total volume set new monthly records for six consecutive months following the implementation of COMMANDoptimize. Together, the Central and West regions have a combined total of around 150 drivers. Even with the increases in volume, Lauren did not have to have add trucks to their fleet nor sacrifice customer service. Customer service is something that Lauren Concrete prides itself on and considers it a competitive advantage for them in the market.
But there’s more to Optimization than just productivity results. Not only has the solution improved Lauren’s processes, it has also delivered some substantial environmental benefits. Because of COMMANDoptimize, they were able to deliver that much more material without the additional carbon emissions that adding trucks would have caused.
To measure this, they compared driver hours, minutes per yard, and pounds of carbon emissions per yard, and referenced against numbers in the NRMCA’s benchmarking survey. Their calculations demonstrated that the West region should see a reduction of over 1 million pounds of carbon emissions in an average year after implementing COMMANDoptimize. Extrapolating to the Central Region, the combined regions should experience a reduction of over 6 million pounds of carbon emissions a year.
How can Optimization Help You?
Lauren Concrete’s carbon emission reductions have been achieved through improved utilization of the fleet by reducing non-productive time and the number of trucks needed. A common outcome is utilizing fewer trucks each day to deliver the same amount of volume as compared to deliveries before COMMANDoptimize was introduced. For example, using one less truck today to deliver the materials needed saves over 600 pounds of carbon emissions. So it is not solely about reducing the hours expended by the trucks that are used today; it is also a function of how many additional trucks were not needed today to achieve the production goals.
Sustainable Practices = A Happy and Healthy Community
The construction industry is uniquely positioned to have a positive effect on the environment by implementing technologies that enable sustainable practices, such as COMMANDoptimize. Boosting efficiencies while reducing the impact construction operations has on the environment provides healthier places for people to live and work. This creates a win-win for Lauren Concrete and their communities as a whole.