The specific needs of the concrete sector in terms of IoT.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that refers to the communication between devices or (computer) systems. Through internet connections, without human intervention, they are in contact with each other and exchange data autonomously. This is of course nothing new, but we see that it is ‘unstoppable’ and creates innovative opportunities in almost every sector.
IoT and concrete may seem a strange combination at first glance. But nothing could be further from the truth. Digitization and IoT are even a distinguishing factor for companies in the concrete sector.
The ready-mixed concrete sector is a bit of a special case with its own challenges. It is not possible to hold stocks, and deliveries are very unpredictable: no 100% fixed volumes and therefore a variable number of trips per order, with variable unloading times.
Digitally streamlining these processes therefore requires a very specific approach. In fact, the concrete sector has such high demands that Suivo developed additional functionalities in its IoT platform to further tailor its offering to these needs.
A wireless sensor (the concrete tag) registers movements and rotations of concrete mixers and sends the status to the dispatching planning board. Such a status update shows the steps that are important when handling a product like ready-mixed concrete:
- departure from the plant
- arrival at the construction site
- mixing, start of unloading
- end of unloading
- departure from the construction site.
This happens without any manual action, fully automatically through the IoT Cloud Platform.
Timing is everything. But remains a gamble without good connectivity.
In both pouring concrete and a digitization project, many things can go wrong.
- With concrete, temperature and timing are crucial. Bad timing can result in the complete contents of a concrete mixer becoming worthless. By using the concrete app and taking status updates into account, you can plan more accurately and at least eliminate timing errors. Timing is then no longer an (expensive) guess or estimation, but a given!
- In such a digitization project, the interference between the various devices is the biggest challenge. Signals on a construction site can easily be disturbed. Therefore the Suivo R&D team went to work to develop a new version of the Concrete tag that handles interference intelligently and ensures smooth communication with the hub in the vehicle.
Full speed ahead with automation
The Concrete app runs on tablets in the vehicles and is automatically fed with updates. Its user-friendliness and functionalities make it very accessible to drivers and other users. Delivery notes are received digitally, the logistics process is simplified and accelerated and invoicing is more correct.
The Suivo IoT Cloud Platform runs on 3 configurable components: connectivity, hardware (trackers & tags) and web based mobile apps & software.
An IoT platform however is only relevant if integrations are possible with other crucial systems, such as a TMS or ERP program. Suivo supports links with SAP, Command Alkon and Sauter, among others.
“As a SaaS player, you have to be committed to openness: combining an open platform with integrations. That’s the only way to stay relevant.”Peter Geldhof, CEO Suivo
In addition to the Concrete app, the basic Track & Trace application is equally useful in the concrete sector. It shows in real time where vehicles are. This makes you flexible as an organization, so even additional orders always arrive on time.
Also read: More solutions for ready-mixed concrete.
Solutions for the concrete sector are in constant development. Suivo is therefore a partner of FedBeton (BE) and Betoniek (NL). This way Suivo keeps its finger on the pulse.
Can you produce and deliver ready-mixed concrete within 2 hours? Then you rock!
Conclusion: Ready-mixed concrete is a time-critical product. Optimizing logistics processes is crucial to remain competitive. This is the main argument for opting for digitization, in addition to greater efficiency, higher returns and cost savings. The concrete sector and IoT have embarked on a promising mating dance.
Download Customer Case | De Ruycke Gebroeders: No fixed volumes, variable number of trips per order, variable unloading times.