NPCA’s Best Practices Awards recognize innovations on the production floor that have far-reaching benefits. These awards were created to recognize and share industry improvements that showcase ways to fix inefficiencies, lower environmental impact and save money.

The awards are sponsored by Concrete Sealants.

The winners of the 2024 awards were announced at the Keynote Luncheon on Feb. 8 at The Precast Show in Denver.

The 2024 winner of the NPCA Best Practices Award was Atlantic TNG with the implementation of the KPA Flex Application for Tracking, Training and Workflows.

Atlantic TNG needed a way to track nonemergency maintenance issues and purchase requests, archive concrete test results, inspections for the batch plant, KPIs for management, Lock-Out-Tag-Out logs and other checklists and time taken to perform routine tasks. To address these challenges, Atlantic TNG purchased the KPA Flex application that tracks inspections, does training and creates workflows that alert the responsible party to their tasks as well as tracking progress toward completion. Workflows created for purchasing requests and maintenance issues have stopped these items from falling off the radar, while metrics for other tasks such as concrete testing can be extracted and made into graphs for easy tracking of results. Certain forms can even be submitted from an employee’s phone, allowing them to create workflows on the fly with minimal disruption to their workday.

Second place was awarded to Smith-Midland Corporation for their innovative defect management application developed using Microsoft Power Apps.

To address the challenge of inline defects in their production processes, Smith-Midland developed an application using Microsoft Power Apps that enables real-time defect reporting and analysis. Writing a unique software application using an off-the-shelf platform resulted in a cost-effective, user-friendly app that is easily integrated into existing systems. The application’s impact is evident in the substantial reduction of inline defects, especially in engineering, scheduling and production. It also improved employee engagement and fostered cross-departmental collaboration, confirmed by employee surveys.

Earning third place was Concrete Pipe & Precast for their fire extinguisher location tracking for all workspaces.

With 54 fire extinguishers located in multiple different buildings, required inspections can be a challenge to perform and document. A tracking system was implemented that includes detailed site maps of all buildings and production areas posted at multiple locations in each facility. Each fire extinguisher is given a unique number for reference, and its exact location is precisely mapped.

Monthly inspections can now be completed with all fire extinguishers accounted for during required inspections, assuring that each one is charged and ready for service. Reference numbers on each extinguisher allow for certainty when locating any fire extinguishers that may need replacement.