How Digital is Transforming Concrete
While ancient Romans mastered concrete formulations and methods that outlasted the Empire, modern day science and digital automation are now responsible for shaping the new era of concrete. This transformation is occurring across the residential, commercial and civil sectors globally, allowing for faster, stronger and more sustainable construction of concrete formwork, from private homes to major metropolitan infrastructure and the world’s highest towers.
How Holcim is using Digital Technology
Holcim is embracing digital technology across all aspects of business operations in Australia and across the world. As a leading supplier of concrete products and aggregates, Holcim aims to be the most respected and successfully operated company in our industry, which is made possible with innovative solutions for our customers and contributions to the greater construction sector.
Fleet and Customer Support
Before Holcim products are loaded into a truck and delivered on-site, they have already undergone a series of digital processes. From the moment orders are placed with Holcim Customer Service Centres, each customer’s individual requirements are processed and analysed by digital systems, ensuring concrete products are prepared and delivered according to the correct specifications.
Customers can follow the status of their orders on Holcim’s Track My Order app, including the details of any deliveries they have pending within 14 days. Holcim’s fleet is fitted with GPS devices, allowing app users to see the location of their order in-transit on a live tracking map.
The app also provides customers with alerts to update them on the whereabouts of their order and anticipated delivery times, which allows work crews to get into place for the pour, and eliminates confusion on large-scale job sites requiring multiple deliveries.
Digital technology has played a major role in the development of new and innovative concrete products, formulas and installation methods. Holcim has embraced digital innovation to help formulate everything from the self-compacting concrete ‘Agilia’, which minimises the need for concrete vibrating, to the high-performance shotcrete range ‘Superspray’, making concreting possible when conventional methods aren’t viable.
Combining modern technology with the ancient craft of concreting extends to Holcim’s technical services products too, including quality control and statistical analysis, concrete analysis, mix design and engineering design services. Product development is continually evolving, with an increasing focus on improving environmental and sustainable outcomes for the concrete life cycle.
Environment and Sustainability
Technological advancements are the cornerstone of new sustainability measures being initiated by Holcim. Minimising the impacts of raw material extraction, increasing the use of recycled materials in new construction, and reducing carbon emissions are among some of Holcim’s targets being made possible with modern processes and digital analysis and monitoring tools.
Building on the global LafargeHolcim 2030 Plan, Holcim has become the first concrete company in Australia to develop an Environmental Product Declaration. Digital technology is allowing for clearer and more detailed life cycle assessment information, which has led to the development of these EDPs, now known as Holcim’s ViroDecsTM.
The initiative constitutes a major investment in comprehensively analysing and communicating to customers the environmental impacts of Holcim’s Readymix Concrete.
“The advent of Holcim’s ViroDecsTM will help shape the way the construction industry analyses the environmental impact of buildings and infrastructure in the future,” says National Sales and Marketing Manager Glenn Simpkin.
“Beyond providing greater transparency, Holcim’s ViroDecsTM also provide a rigorous, science-based framework for driving environmental improvement throughout Holcim’s sites and supply chains. It will lead the way for other concrete providers to follow suit, fostering a whole-of-life approach in the Australian building products sector.”
Communicating information clearly, accurately and rapidly is essential in today’s fast-paced construction materials industry. This very article is just one example of how Holcim has embraced digital media to transform the company’s communications.
Holcim Australia and its brands including Geostone are now actively communicating with customers and stakeholders via Facebook, LinkedIn, email newsletters, and on our website. Digital communications are also central to the Customer Service Centre operations, ordering systems and the Track My Order App, as well as internal communication between teams.
Digital Evolution Globally
Industry commentators have acknowledged that embracing technology is crucial for concrete producers wanting to succeed in the modern construction landscape.
In a recent article by Concrete Construction, the Bulk Construction Materials Initiative co-founder Craig Yeack said those that do, will come out on top.
“In the past, concrete producers’ success was based largely on assets. He who owned the assets owned the market. With technology, we are fundamentally shifting from assets being the dominant factor to expanding and differentiating through service,” he wrote.
“Technology can reduce the “friction” of the industry’s traditional processes. With modern tools, concrete producers can reduce operating costs throughout the entire supply chain, and history has shown that the producer with the lowest costs, who is easiest to work with, wins time and time again.” – Craig Yeack, Concrete Construction
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