The U-Track mobile application was developed by Dufferin Concrete, a division of Holcim Canada, and has been recognised as a Specialty Concrete Application at the Ontario Concrete Awards. Marco Adamo and Ian Medernach, Logistics Manager and IT Business Partner, explain how this innovation is generating a competitive advantage in the concrete market in Canada.
‘Time is money’ is not just a phrase
With approximately 3000 customers, Dufferin Concrete delivers concrete to hundred of sites across Ontario. Increasing road traffic and limited computer access at sites lead to many customers phoning the call centre to request updates on their order delivery; keeping sales, logistics, and site crews - and even drivers - busy. The innovative mobile application has significantly reduced the number of these calls, consequently improving caller waiting times and the call centre’s quality of service.
U-Track allows customers to see their order details days in advance, review product specifications, and track the order’s location on delivery day. Knowing exactly when the product will reach the site can save customers costly delays leading to idle crews and trucks waiting at the site. Such delays can quickly add up to thousands of dollars for any job.
An App to get closer to customers
U-Track helps Dufferin Concrete sales representatives ensure delivery accuracy, mitigate risks, monitor customers’ orders, and offer technical advice. “In this way the sales force get closer to our customers and can be more proactive, suggesting ad hoc or new solutions. Furthermore, with customers validating their concrete mix before delivery, we can avoid the risk of returned loads,” explains Adamo. User friendliness is a key factor for quick adoption of new technology. “Customer-facing features like colours, icons, and the visibility and positioning of buttons were therefore very important. We wanted to match our customers’ expectations and receive excellent usability feedback,” Medernach comments.
Value what customers value
The focus on what customers value helped to gain tangible business benefits: “U-Track is the only tool of this type on the Canadian market - a real competitive advantage. The loyalty of our customers is increasing as they prefer to stay with innovative leading companies. With U-Track, some customers managed to improve onsite efficiency so much that additional concrete was required, which we deliver. Currently, almost 25% of Dufferin’s daily orders are tracked using U-Track,” says Adamo.
Differentiate and simplify with IT
Dufferin Concrete’s Logistics team was looking at innovative solutions to provide customers with delivery information in real time. The North American Service Center (NASC), representing IT in the region, analysed which data was already available. Trucks are equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) devices that collect information on routes; dispatch tools provide product specifications, location, and time of delivery. “The information was there, the challenge was to put it together in one system that was easy to access and use. We were excited about delivering something new which was demanded by the market, and to internally develop a solution for external customers,” Medernach adds.
What is next for U-Track technology?
“With some adjustments, U-Track could be easily implemented in other markets outside Canada. The demand for solutions that combine time and location technology is growing, and U-Track has set the foundation for this interaction. In the future, the development of this type of technology will focus on usability and security,” says Medernach.
What do customers say about U-Track?
"I switched over a few more of my crews to Dufferin Concrete because of their U-Track web App. I am able to get updated and accurate information regarding the delivery of concrete, which allows me to utilise my crew more efficiently when there might be a delay in the delivery throughout the day," says Matt Santorelli, Vice President, Trisan Construction.
“U-Track helps us increase efficiency by having the delivery information in real time at our fingertips rather than calling the order desk or walking around site checking load tickets,” adds Chris Vermeer, Assistant Site Manager, Aspen Ridge Homes.
Written by Claudio Corvaglia, Holcim
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/the-americas/20052015/u-track-delivery-information-at-customers-fingertips-876/