The Need to Move to Digitized Processes Isn’t New

Think about all that has changed in heavy construction operations since March when the COVID-19 pandemic first plagued the industry. Almost overnight, companies in the construction industry had to figure out how to overcome new challenges that the virus presented. Those who work in the field had to figure out how to conduct business while fighting this war against the invisible enemy. Companies who usually map their digital strategy in one-to-three-year phases had to do so in the matter of weeks or even days. This major business disruption pushed companies on the fast track of technology adoption.
Many construction companies responded by implementing new digital processes that reduce the handling of paper; at the job level, they implemented solutions that enable the data on paper tickets to be transferred digitally. Leading construction firms, such as Lane Construction, Bechtel Corp., and Kokosing Construction Co., are injecting new levels of productivity into their jobsite processes and safety initiatives through technology that provides realtime visibility and accountability into their material deliveries, job cost tracking, and backoffice processes. But the need to push to digital processes isn’t a new concept; the virus just expedited the trend. Solutions to enhance communication, productivity, and safety on projects have been around for years.
Technology Paving the Way to Enhance Asphalt Delivery Cycle
Technology providers like Command Alkon and Atollogy deliver solutions to enhance operations and drive safety initiatives across construction jobs. These technology providers are working in tandem to increase automation in proof-of-delivery of loads of asphalt, which is a widespread and costly problem. The ticket taker on an asphalt job’s main objective is to stand on the paving site to make sure the load of asphalt is received. This line of work can be dangerous due to the traffic coming through and uneven surfaces these individuals are standing on to take the tickets. Beyond safety, the cost of ticket takers is around $3-$4 per ticket received.
Command Alkon’s cloud-based solution, CONNEX enables the data found on material tickets and eProof of Deliveries (ePODs) to be exchanged via the cloud using business rules and automated workflows. The solution brings material ticketing information to life by tracking materials entering a jobsite to streamline the realtime delivery process and Integrates the buying, receiving, and accounting for materials to simplify the procure-to-pay process and speed reconciliation. Users are also able to electronically append field test results and photos as well, helping to reduce waste and improves material yield and asset utilization.
CONNEX is designed to handle inbound bulk raw materials from all suppliers on a job in one easy-to-use interface, and other technology providers’ solutions can easily be integrated, like Atollogy’s computer vision solutions. By leveraging computer vision, Atollogy is able to create a data source by running algorithms on top of imagery and on top of videos to deliver easy implementation and quick time to value.
They do this by installing cameras and sensors in each part of the value chain in the outbound process of the asphalt job. This industrial vision platform digitizes movement of the truck based on imagery, license plate, and vehicle type identification. To eliminate the ticket taker on an asphalt job, Atollogy can help to capture analytical data from physical operations with their computer vision solutions, like when the truck enters the yard and makes it to the buggy and paver.
Modernizing to digital processes through solutions like Command Alkon’s CONNEX and Atollogy’s computer vision devices can enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange across all project participants. With one data source to work from, contractors can simplify the data and analytics from systems across their trading partners and run analytics to track business performance, enabling faster, more intelligent business decisions.
About the Author
Steve Cox serves as the vice president of business development at Command Alkon, working with internal and external partners to co-create digital collaboration value within the heavy building materials ecosystem. He has held many commercial roles in his career—all focused on understanding the leverage within the construction supply chain and utilizing that knowledge to create successful commercial ventures. Cox holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Auburn University and sits on several industry advisory boards, including: the RMC Research & Education Foundation, the Concrete Industry Management National Steering Committee Board, and the Carbon Cure Industry Advisory Board.