Why is Material Management So Important?
Running an asphalt or concrete ready-mix plant requires running your material management like a well-oiled machine. If you’re creating products for big projects like highways that require 1,000-2,000 tons of material, key actions to mitigate costs are plant-optimization and establishing effective means of communication. Whether you are running a plant for smaller 50 projects or producing at over 450 tph with highway lane closures; clear, efficient communication mitigates costs for both plant and job site operations.
Plant Production and Optimization
The biggest pain point asphalt and ready-mix producers face is scheduling, planning and adjusting production. “You want to do more with the same amount of resources you have, so customers can receive products more efficiently and contractors can work quicker,” says Mike Heller, TRUX Senior Operations Manager, which pretty much sums up an effective material management and transportation strategy.
Asphalt producers want to hit the target quantity while avoiding refiring the burner. Balancing production with the needs at the job site is critical. We know that every job requires at least one cold start per day. However, restarts can be reduced to shave off major costs. Effectively managing your plant and communication with the job site means you could go from 2-3 restarts per job, per day to 1 or 2 restarts. If you are running three jobs in a single day, that’s about 9 warm starts in a day, totaling about $9,000 to get material ready. If you can cut it down to 3 or 6 warm starts per day that is a savings of $3,000-$6,000. Bottom line is, if you’re managing efficiently, costs will go down and revenue will go up.
Establishing Effective Operations
The efficiency of your plant includes all parties involved from the dispatcher, to the hauler, to the operations team. If you run 5 plants with an average time in a plant that is under 10 minutes – but notice another plant is running at 18 minutes, that is a sure sign that something is not running as it should. With operational tools like TRUX, you can dig in to see why there might be an increased time at that plant and set goals for the team to increase productivity. Tools like TRUX enable material producers to think critically about your problem from all angles rather than evaluate from instinct. Is there bad dispatching? Is the silo plugged up? Have you bitten off more than you can chew in this project? Remember, every minute you shave off time in the plant is more dollars in your pocket.
“You want to make the most use of your time. If material producers know from the get-go what to expect and how to execute, they’ll be well on their way of getting the project done quicker at a fraction of the cost,” says Eric Ownby, TRUX Vice President of Sales, Southwest Region.
Create Additional Communication Streams
Traditionally, material producers focus on what is happening in the plant. However, what if material producers were able to see the full scope of a project? Tools like TRUX add in the next layer of detail for material producers. They allow the plant to keeps tabs on what is happening at the job site, creating smarter dispatching methods. Is inventory where it needs to be? Is there something happening on the road causing longer than normal travel times? All these questions can be answered with logistics management tools like TRUX.
TRUX Ties It Together
With TRUX, you can help manage your supply chain more effectively. TRUX can help your team manage logistics at the plant and on the road with greater insight. With tools like TRUX, material management has never been more strategic and efficient. TRUX is taking gut instincts and turning it into real data points.