Find Precasters or Suppliers that provide products, equipment and services to make precast concrete.
By Phillip Cutler, P.E.
We have all heard the old sports adage: “The best defense is a good offense.” Many precast concrete manufacturers today apply this adage to their businesses by performing an annual or semiannual internal audit to guard against any quality control issues. In fact, any business model today can benefit from measuring itself against its own internal policies and procedures.
For many precast plants, whether NPCA certified or not, the internal audit serves as a check to see if all things are as they should be. Some companies perform a detailed mock inspection with formal documentation, while others do a much more informal walk-through audit. If you are not performing some type of internal audit, you may be passing up internal plant improvement opportunities – or worse yet, you may be wasting valuable resources that can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. In today’s challenging market, who can afford that?Comment on this post...
By Claude Goguen, P.E., LEED AP
Carbon dioxide, also known by its chemical formula CO2, is a colorless, tasteless gas that comes from many sources – including your own lungs. You will exhale 0.0043 oz (0.12 g) in the time it takes you to get to the end of this sentence (unless you just got back from jogging, in which case it may be much more.)
This carbon dioxide from our lungs and many other natural sources exists naturally in the atmosphere. Along with other gases, CO2 helps sustain life on our planet by retaining the sun’s heat. But unnatural CO2 is also being generated by many sources, mostly from burning fossil fuels. This and other sources of CO2 are generally attributed to trapping heat and raising temperatures, thus contributing to what’s called the “greenhouse effect.” Many scientists believe this greenhouse effect causes global warming that will cause a rise in sea levels and increase the intensity of extreme weather.Comment on this post...
By Evan Gurley
ASTM C27, Technical Committee on Precast Concrete Products, meets every year in December to address new and existing specifications, test methods and definitions. The annual meeting for 2012 was held in Atlanta, resulting in the following updates:Comment on this post...
A brief look into some overseas precast concrete projects that are making news.
By Kirk Stelsel
Precast concrete has long been a staple building material in North America for everything from infrastructure and utility products to architectural building materials. Beyond our shores, though, a thriving and innovative global precast concrete industry can lend ideas to designers and builders here at home.
Not always seen as a critical area for the typical precast plant, the ties that bind managers, supervisors, and employees can directly impact a manufacturer’s bottom line – positive or negatively.
By Bridget McCrea
Creating strong ties between production personnel and managers is an ongoing challenge for most manufacturers. Traditionally, these two areas of responsibility attract two entirely different personalities, backgrounds and skill sets – yet they are expected to work in harmony for the overall good of the company. Bridging the gap between the two requires a deliberate, methodical strategy based on open lines of communication and understanding.
This is the first of a two-part human resources article that broaches a topic many manufacturers choose to avoid: establishing clear lines between the production floor and the management staff. In this segment, we’ll look at how to build strong, lasting bonds between management and production. In the next issue, we’ll show you how to successfully transition production workers into management positions. The goal is to help you establish strong principles around these two important human resources issues and ultimately create a stronger, more cohesive company.Comment on this post...
Proper planning and intelligent equipment selection are the first and fundamental steps before construction begins.
By Mel Marshall, P.Eng.
Regardless of whether you are considering entering the precast concrete industry, entering a new marketing area or expanding an existing facility, a number of factors will be a part of your decision-making process. The amount of money that you want to spend, and the amount that you can afford to spend, are not always the same.
One of your first decisions needs to be about the products that you intend to manufacture. You will want to conduct a market survey of the proposed location for your new facility to determine how many other precast concrete manufacturers, if any, are active in the market that you wish to enter. Keep in mind that even though there may be no producers in the area, that region may be serviced by precasters from remote locations. Several horror stories exist about folks who invested a great deal of money without doing a proper market survey to determine whether or not there was a need for the products they planned to produce.Comment on this post...
By Sue McCraven
If it rains where you work, you need to know about the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The same goes for anyone who discharges process water from his or her manufacturing operations. Because all precasters use potable water to make concrete, each plant must make sure it is NPDES-compliant (plants that discharge directly to municipal sanitary sewer systems do not require NPDES permits).
NPDES’s function is to protect surface waters from water-borne industry pollutants through the enforcement of effluent limits. Most NPDES permits are administered by state environmental agencies.Comment on this post...
By Claude Goguen, P.E., LEED AP
In the last issue of Precast Inc., we talked about the concept of variability and how a good quality control program should include measures to ensure consistency in your product. Now think of how you view your suppliers. You want them to be reliable. You want to expect a level of service and quality of product, and they must meet or exceed those expectations. In other words, you want to trust your suppliers. Your customers are expecting the same of you: consistent, high-quality products made to their exact specifications.
Let’s focus on that word “consistency.” To achieve consistency, we must minimize variability, and to do that, we need to obtain consistent testing results. The first step in tightening those results is to be aware of the disparity in the first place. We will look at some ways to measure and track variability that will enable you to better detect any issues.Comment on this post...