Consistency runs deep throughout business practices and can make a real impact on how a business grows. Even the most perfect business strategy in the world is worthless if not executed consistently. This one concept is the underlying secret sauce to all of a business’ day-to-day operations.
Founded in 1968, Engemix is a leading manufacturer and supplier of cement in Brazil with 38 fixed operating plants throughout nine states, and more than half of its units in Sao Paulo. In addition to the concrete industry, the company also serves the real estate and infrastructure markets.
In 2002, it was acquired by Votorantim Cimentos, the largest cement company in Brazil and the eighth largest globally. With this partnership, Engemix set the goal to expand beyond its success in concrete delivery and pumping to include Votorantim’s diverse offering of products.
After more than 50 years in the concrete sector, Engemix has established itself as a leader in the industry. The company credits their success to their efforts in delivering high-quality products, impeccable customer service, and innovative business practices.
Like any player in the concrete and Ready Mix industries, Engemix faced its fair share of obstacles. In this case, the primary problem was with the company’s outdated, homemade software solution that didn’t sync well with Engemix’s ERP.
“This brought us a variety of problems in system stability, data reliability, and difficulty with implementing new processes. We understood that the solution that we had was outdated and that we needed to find something that was more consistent.”
– Ricardo Soares, Marketing and Key Accounts General Manager at Votorantim Cimentos
This is where Command Alkon stepped in to help.
A Partnership with Command Alkon
In 2013, Engemix migrated its system to the COMMANDseries distribution solution, which offers Ready Mix producers end-to-end coverage to quote, order, ticket, deliver, and bill quality concrete. Fabiano Shoshima, the Process Manager at Votorantim Cimentos N/NE AS, was an integral player in the integration and implementation of this project in large part due to his familiarity with Command Alkon’s tools and solutions that spans 10 years.
“Since I already had experience with the product, the implementation team put me there to directly support the project. I think the COMMANDseries software brings the visibility that everyone wants — which is the customer's visibility — so that they can see what is happening with that load of concrete, how much equipment we have already provided, and which stage each component is at throughout the process.”
– Fabiano Shoshima
COMMANDseries is modular and can be customized to specific requirements with a variety of integration points. Choosing Command Alkon was a logical step towards Engemix achieving a closed loop solution.
“I think that is the clearest aspect of this resource — the transparency with the user that Command Alkon brings to the table. It is difficult to find that in any other software in the market.”
– Fabiano Shoshima
The implementation of a new process or technology can be a challenge, and this was no different for Engemix. But, this leading cement company took its time with the change and rolled it out in stages at its plants. This approach allowed everyone from the operators to the higher levels of leadership to learn how to use the new COMMANDseries tool and get comfortable with it. Another key aspect of the implementation was the training conducted directly with the software, rather than watching a presentation.
To ensure they were getting all they could from their investment, Engemix visited Prairie Material, a Chicago-based member of Votorantim Cimentos Cement North America (VCNA) that owns and operates a network of Ready Mix concrete plants and aggregate facilities in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.
According to Soares, after that visit, the company realized the full potential of the end-to-end tool they had yet to take full advantage of. This led to the implementation of “Project Chicago” back home in Brazil, where Engemix focused on usability, training, process design, routine designs, policies, training, and changing the operations team’s work culture. In total, Project Chicago took eight to 10 months to complete in the greater Sao Paulo region and was a huge success. According to Soares, Engemix was able to double their gains from the tool not only in productivity but also in the quality of provided services.
Implementing COMMANDseries throughout Engemix’s Brazilian cement operations was met with a fair amount of skepticism, which was to be expected because this was such a strong change in daily work culture. Decisions that had been left up to the “almighty” concrete batch operator, like load times and frequency of loads, were now centralized within the new GPS-tracking tool. Engemix team members now had clear insight into the locations of each fleet and what was happening with each customer’s order. However, many still doubted this solution.
When Engemix rolled out the new process, all of that resistance fell to the wayside as everyone began seeing direct results in terms of punctuality, especially when it came to concrete mixers — something Engemix wasn’t able to measure previously.
Engemix also saw significant gains in its main KPIs — productivity and service. There was a recorded 20% improvement in productivity. Its overall on-time delivery improved by 30% alone. Additionally, the company saw a significant reduction in cycle times, which ultimately reduced concrete and labor costs, something the customer is sure to appreciate.
“Nowadays, the customer doesn't need us to know where the truck is — we make that available to them with the help of COMMANDseries. It's all about transparency. This clarity with the customer may not seem like much, but it makes a huge difference in the long run.”
– Fabiano Shoshima