Tracking Infrastructure

Precast Show 2019 Takes: Productivity

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Mar 10, 2019 2:39:44 PM

 

With The Precast Show 2019 in the books, we've taken stock of our conversations with producers and distilled what we've learned into a list of top-of-mind issues for the precast industry. We will present them in two posts separated categorically into the broad topics of productivity and technology. Today we will start with productivity challenges we observed in our conversations.

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Topics: Market Insights, Productivity

The Reinvention of Construction Manufacturing

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Feb 22, 2019 12:37:14 PM

 

In its 2017 report, Reinventing Construction: A Route to Higher Productivity, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that inefficiency costs the global construction industry over $1.6 trillion per year, primarily as a result of industry fragmentation. Diving a bit deeper, MGI further estimates that collaboration issues, supply chain management inefficiencies and lack of technology adoption combine to create about one-third of this inefficiency... about $500 billion dollars annually. These factors suggest that a reinvention of the construction supply chain will make a large impact on improving productivity.

This is the third post of a 3-part series that discusses how technology will affect the infrastructure product manufacturing industry. In the first we discussed why the construction industry will embrace the Internet-of-Things. In the second we presented the role that smart infrastructure products will play in the future of civil projects. In this we provide our vision for how technology will enable the industry to reinvent itself as new, more efficient competitors enter the market.

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Topics: Smart Infrastructure, Market Insights, Connected Concrete

Delivering Smart Infrastructure

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Feb 16, 2019 5:32:16 PM

 

The movement toward 'smart cities' has developed momentum in the past few years as forward-looking city planners recognize that connected devices can provide value and create efficiency that was not possible previously. This will quickly become a driver for the construction of 'smart infrastructure' that collects the data. Of course, it will not only be cities that become 'smart'; states, regions and nations will all need smart infrastructure in order to take full advantage of the potential of connected devices... the Internet of Things (IoT).

This is the second of a 3-part series that discusses how the evolution of technology will affect the infrastructure product manufacturing industry. In the first post we discussed why the construction industry will embrace IoT. In this we discuss the role that smart infrastructure products will play in the future of infrastructure. In the third, we provide our vision for how technology will enable the reinvention of construction manufacturing in response to new, vertically integrated mega-firms.

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Topics: Smart Infrastructure, Market Insights, Connected Concrete

What IoT Means for Construction

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Feb 9, 2019 4:26:51 PM

 

IoT (the Internet-of-Things) has become a buzz-phrase that is thrown around a lot. It seems to be one of those phrases that is easy to shake off as a pipe dream offered by 20-something techies that will likely take decades to reach the floor of an infrastructure product manufacturing plant. (Perhaps, but don't get complacent.)

This is the first of a 3-part series that will show how the evolution of technology will affect the infrastructure product manufacturing industry. In this post we discuss why the construction industry will embrace IoT... and soon. In the second, we will discuss how smart infrastructure products will be demanded for projects. In the third, we will provide our vision for how technology will enable the reinvention of construction manufacturing in response to new, vertically integrated mega-firms.

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Topics: Smart Infrastructure, Market Insights, Connected Concrete

Reduce Waste to Grow Profits

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Feb 3, 2019 3:45:43 PM

 

Late last year the National Precast Concrete Association released its 2018 Precast Industry Benchmarking Report, a report based on a survey of membership that describes the state of the industry and offers performance metrics for precast concrete manufacturers. This is a valuable resource for the industry and one we purchase every year. The 2018 report includes interesting data that we found very consistent with reports we have heard in our own discussions with precast producers. One glaring statistic jumps out as an immediate opportunity to grow profits. 

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Topics: Market Insights, Idencia Use Cases, Productivity

Following FHWA for DOT Innovations

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Jan 24, 2019 4:30:06 PM

 

When I was taking driving lessons at school (way back when!), my teacher gave me some great advice: Don't just observe what the car in front of you is doing; watch the car in front of him. The same wisdom applies in business. Watch what your customer's customer wants in order to be able to anticipate and respond nimbly. We do this at Idencia and like to offer our observations as part of the service we provide. The Federal Highway Administration's Center for Accelerating Innovation(1) provides a great tool for tracking state DOT innovations across the country. Here are some of the most intriguing.

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Topics: Infrastructure News, Market Insights

Manufacturing Ecosystem or Lone Wolf?

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Jan 5, 2019 1:10:02 PM

 

It is the new year, a time that we all take stock about what has been and think about the future.  As we gave pause and reflected, a very clear (and, in hindsight, obvious) picture emerged: Before we know it, the manufacturing environment will experience the same relational shifts that we've seen with consumers since the early 2000s. (In this age of consumer technology, consumer adaptations always precede business adoption.) Here is what this means.

 

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Topics: Market Insights, Connected Concrete, Productivity

AJ Foss' Technology Transformation

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Dec 20, 2018 10:12:10 AM

 

One of the most enjoyable elements of our work is that we get to visit precast plants. It is always enlightening to talk to the principals about how they manage their businesses and learn what they do to continually improve. Most often we hear about time- and cost-saving practices being applied to help their companies make more money in very tight bidding environments. Last week I traveled to AJ Foss (Farmington, NH), a very innovative, family-run company with a story of a slightly different twist.

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Topics: Market Insights, Connected Concrete, Productivity

5 RFID Implementation Tips

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Dec 1, 2018 3:42:54 PM

 

Sometimes the notion of implementing an RFID tracking system can seem more difficult than it really is. Naturally, anything new and different looms much larger in the mind than in practice. Transitioning from paper to digital records is no exception. We've drawn on our collective experience in helping customers implement the Idencia concrete tracking system to offer tips gleaned from best practices we have seen and encouraged.

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Topics: Market Insights, Idencia Tips, Connected Concrete, Productivity

Why 'Reality Capture' Will Change Precast

Posted by Jeff Pollock

Nov 23, 2018 4:41:08 PM

 

If you are not familiar with the term 'reality capture' you are probably not alone. Now is a good time to become so, however, because this will be the core of 'smart infrastructure'. You are probably thinking: "Sure, some day, maybe."                  (Graphic courtesy of National Geospacial Advisory Committee)

Our guess is that precast manufacturers will need to offer some form of reality capture with every infrastructure product they sell in 5 years or less.  

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Topics: Smart Infrastructure, Market Insights, Connected Concrete, Productivity

About this blog

Tracking Infrastructure is a blog about innovation in the manufacture, construction and management of infrastructure.

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