How U.S. Concrete uses real-time data to improve EHS oversight and decision-making

US Concrete

Business Needs

Connectivity and transparency

Facing rapid growth in an uncertain EHS regulatory landscape, U.S. Concrete wanted to get better control of the company’s environmental and safety compliance processes and paperwork. There were multiple, disparate systems being used to manage EHS operations, with many mission-critical processes being handled solely through paper or email.  

The traditional methods being used to compile and track environmental and safety inspection data and paperwork were time-consuming, requiring EHS leadership to use paper, email, and phone calls to track down whether compliance obligations were being met, exposing opportunities for error and compliance gaps.

Additionally, with the company’s expansion into high-growth metropolitan markets of Dallas/Fort Worth, San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, U.S. Concrete needed to sustain growth while enforcing compliance stability across its ready mix plant and quarry operations. The biggest barrier and risk they faced was gaining full visibility into their environmental and safety compliance operations. They needed consolidated, real-time insight into compliance performance to make smart decisions and effectively oversee risk.

Accountability and efficiency

At U.S. Concrete, environmental and safety compliance was always front of mind, but it was a time-consuming task that left room for improvement to streamline across the entire organization. For example, site managers would complete their inspections paperwork, however upper management had no real-time access to the data to ensure that requirements and corrective actions stayed on track. Because of the lack of visibility, there was a general lack of accountability among those responsible for completing inspections. 

Additionally, corporate staff was unable to easily determine if facilities were in compliance without actually visiting the site and going through their records.

“I’m all for having a binder as something to show a regulator. But there’s no trackable data you can pull out of a binder.” – Robert McGehee, Corporate Environmental Manager at U.S. Concrete

Solution

Instead of spending extensive amounts of time and money on completing required site maps, Sims is now using the Mapistry platform and mobile  app to digitally capture facility locations and mark-up required data points within a matter of hours, not days.

Over the past two years, Sims has also used the Mapistry platform to log inspection data, make real-time updates to site maps, and to centrally manage and track all of their compliance activities and reporting without having to worry about missing a deadline or becoming non-compliant. Upgrading to digital compliance processes and recordkeeping has drastically reduced the amount of time and effort required to manage stormwater permitting across several locations, which has ultimately freed up more staff time to focus on achieving other business goals. Additionally, they have minimized the costly risks and delays that arise from manual and paper-based reporting.

“U.S. Concrete utilizes Mapistry as our principal tool to conduct environmental and site safety audits and inspections. With mining and ready mix operations across the entire country, we wanted to centralize environmental compliance and OSHA/MSHA responsibilities onto a single dashboard. Mapistry has allowed us to see the ‘big picture’ and ensure the development and timely execution of safety and compliance plans, track the renewal of environmental licenses and permits, and ultimately, hold local management accountable as stewards of the environment and their community.” – Mark Peabody – Vice President, Human Resources

Going digital and centralizing their EHS operations on a single platform was the only way for the entire company to work more closely to analyze, improve, and continue to be a leader in the industry. 

By partnering with Mapistry, U.S. Concrete has streamlined its environmental and safety compliance process from start to finish, including inspections, corrective actions, site mapping, production throughput logs, permit plan management, and reporting. Plus, they’ve gained comprehensive analytics to help them identify risks and drive informed decision-making and actions in their compliance programs.

Ultimately, they estimate that prior to Mapistry, the team was spending 40-50 hours per month managing inspections and compliance tasks. With Mapistry and the time saved, they have been able to reduce this by 60%, resulting in roughly $48,000 a year in savings in staff time alone. 

Increased site visibility

U.S. Concrete leadership can now use Mapistry’s analytics dashboards to get a snapshot view into compliance performance across all 200+ of its facilities, instantaneously. Having all the data available in one location makes it much easier to measure progress, benchmark performance, identify and resolve problems quickly. 

From the site manager to the regional manager to corporate-level management, empowering teams with centralized access to the latest compliance data, documentation, tasks, deadlines, and action items has fostered better collaboration and more targeted conversations among the team.

Improved accountability

U.S. Concrete implemented workflows to manage all their environmental requirements in one place – stormwater, air (track out, visual emissions, and baghouse inspections), SPCC, and hazmat were all centralized. 

From the ease of any smartphone, tablet, or computer, staff can digitally log inspections, view or manage tasks and assign corrective actions with a few simple clicks on their device, rather than filling out paperwork or chasing down status updates by email. Reminders and configurable alerts also help keep the team on track with compliance requirements so there are no surprises. 

Key players stay aware of what’s in progress, enabling them to recognize a job well done and keep challenging the site on improvements. 

In the first thirty days after launching Mapistry across their organization, U.S. Concrete set up 130 tasks, and 100% of them were completed on time.

Gap analysis of EHS program

Managing compliance is complex. The number of forms, permits, and documentation required is often overwhelming to organize and quickly track. With Mapistry’s software backed by the power of its Customer Experience Team, the process is no longer intimidating.

The Mapistry team configured U.S. Concrete’s site-level dashboards based on each facility’s unique set of regulatory requirements, inspection frequencies, and standards for stormwater, air, SPCC, and hazmat. Now, site managers can quickly monitor, manage, and track the performance of their facilities against specific permit requirements and regulations with ease.

For example, U.S. Concrete established a five-year updating plan for their SPCC with tasks and reminders they can track through the system. It’s now much simpler to uncover items like maps that require updates or notice when permits need renewal before a regulator makes their rounds. 

By identifying gaps with their customer experience manager, U.S. Concrete proactively updated its processes. This not only prevented courses of action from being filed, but it also established a better working relationship with regulators on additional updates that need to be addressed.


Digitally tracking safety initiatives

Recognizing the opportunity to go digital to track safety initiatives, U.S. Concrete established a strategic plan with safety goals for each quarter. Now, they regularly set up tasks and corrective actions each month, and the entire organization is mindful of tracking the progress from identification and assignment through closure. There is no concern of an issue being put to the sidelines with the ease of tracking and correcting at hand. 

And for site managers, it’s now easier than ever to perform regular safety inspections and audits for OSHA and MSHA requirements from the convenience of their mobile device. Instead of hassling with paperwork they also have quick access to analytics to track completion rates, and measure and compare site-level progress over time. 

Moreover, when the pandemic hit and the workforce was turned upside down, safety plans had to expand/pivot. Through the software, U.S. Concrete created and organized updated safety protocols. And company-wide, everything was trackable to keep workers safe and evaluate new safety measures.

As an added perk, the safety and environmental teams now have some cross-training and can work closer together!

“Standardizing the environmental and safety processes across the organization strengthens our defense against emerging risks. Region by region, each facility has specific regulations to follow. When I look into any of our facilities, I can easily see and compare. I have the peace of mind that they’re doing everything they can to be safe and compliant. Mapistry is the only way to have that peace of mind.” – Herb Burton, Vice President and General Manager, West Region

Polishing up safety programs

While they first sought environmental help, U.S. Concrete values the convenience to refine their Monthly Safety Audit (MSA) and daily Workplace Safety Examination forms through the software. 

In the first full quarter of software use (Q4 2020), the MSA program had an inspection completion rate of 74%. As a result of those inspections, U.S. Concrete created 199 tasks and corrective actions, and 100% of them were completed on time. 

In total, the organization completed 665 inspections within the first thirty days of launching the software. From Q4 2020 to Q1 2021, there was a 30% increase in the number of inspections completed on time and a 45% increase in inspections completed overall. 

U.S. Concrete, acquired by Vulcan Materials Company in Aug 2021, is the American leader in aggregates and high-performance concrete. They operate over 200 facilities across North America, all of which take pride in improving American infrastructures. Notably, U.S. Concrete is the first national company to formalize its commitment to environmentally-friendly concrete mixes using EF Technology. 

Industry:

  • Building Materials

Solutions:

  • Mapistry Platform
  • SPCC Suite
  • Stormwater Suite
  • Hazardous Materials Suite
  • Air Suite
  • Safety Suite

Company Size:

  • 3,000+ employees
  • 200+ sites across North America

"Our goal is to deliver a top product to our customers in the safest and most environmentally-friendly way. As we accelerated growth, we needed to modernize the compliance operations to ensure the level and standards were upheld. We had to have a way to continue to keep everyone committed to the greater goal of reducing environmental impact and keep our communities safe. With Mapistry, we did just that."

- Ronnie Pruitt, CEO, U.S. Concrete