The ready-mixed concrete truck is a mobile manufacturing environment, not just a vehicle, writes Craig Yeack. He notes that as technology evolves, each provider seeks to add displays into the truck cab, but end-users want to choose their own communication platform, safety cameras, water meters and other sensor systems, which he argues should be developed “to plug and play” with various platforms.



William Shakespeare might be tempted to say a truck by any other name is still a truck, but in the ready mixed concrete industry, a mixer truck is really a mobile manufacturing environment, or MME. Let’s take a few moments to “smell the roses.”

One of several early RMC truck innovators in the 1990s, Gary Palmer in Salt Lake City created truck tracking systems based on the old Nextel flip phone (TrackIt). Other innovators of the day included TracerNet Corp. and Grid Data.

Another early innovator was Joe Sostaric, current VP of The Conco Companies and Reliable Trucking in Northern California.

As VP and general manager of the RMC California concrete operations in the 1990s, he promoted building out the truck with sensors and computers to extend the manufacturing process beyond the plant and to the end of the chute. A relentless visionary, his primary goal was for a system to use hydraulic pressure feedback from rotating the drum to indicate slump; the resulting company now is owned by GCP Technologies (VERIFI).

The list of concrete truck enhancements goes on and includes non-production technology like safety cameras. Fast forward to today’s innovators and numerous advancements are driving the evolution of MME. We can look at the forces at work and make some reasonable guesses where things will end up.



In our industry, technology adoption starts with EBITDA. How confident are we that a proposed change will increase earnings? Innovators have a hard time with that question because it cannot be answered until wider adoption is achieved—but wider adoption requires, well, adoption.