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A Step-By-Step Guide To Evaluating A Supplier’s Performance

Supplier Performance Management: A Step-By-Step Guide To Evaluating A Supplier’s Performance

Many companies rely heavily on their supplier’s performance for various aspects of their business process. Whether your suppliers provide materials, labor, equipment, or services, it’s likely that they play a critical role in your business’s overall success. With so much on the line, you must depend on your supplier’s ability to be timely, deliver high quality, maintain a professional relationship and keep your best interests in mind.

If your business’s day-to-day operations involve a supplier, it’s important to prequalify and select the right man for the project initially, but also to continuously evaluate their performance throughout the partnership. Through the evaluation of a supplier’s performance, companies can ensure and maintain the best service while eliminating suppliers who fail to comply with performance requirements.   

Supplier performance management is a business practice that is used to measure, analyze, and manage the supplier’s performance in an effort to cut costs, alleviate risks, and drive continuous improvement for both yours and your supplier’s teams.

The businesses that have the best luck with suppliers have a formalized system in place to track and evaluate their supplier’s performance. Some might even credit the smooth operation and profitability of their companies to their supplier evaluation process.

Step One: Establish An Evaluation Criteria

It’s important to determine what characteristics your suppliers need to have, demonstrate, and maintain in order to continue doing business with your company. From the start of the relationship, they should be entirely aware of these characteristics and know that they will be regularly (monthly, quarterly, annually) evaluated based on them.  

Your business’s industry, processes, and specific needs will dictate the criteria used to evaluate the performance of your suppliers. Your criteria may include:

Accuracy

Has your supplier delivered the right goods or provided the right services? How often do you come across product flaws or service mistakes? If the success of your business hinges on the accuracy of your suppliers, this is an important factor to evaluate on.

Timeliness

Does your supplier do their very best to stick to your timeline? Now sure, depending on the industry, certain things might come up that are out of your supplier’s control. But if a supplier is frequently late with no explanation, it’s your business that suffers.

Responsiveness

Does your supplier respond to your inquiries or concerns? When you make an order, have a question, or need to address a concern, are you able to get in direct contact with a representative? Believe it or not, a supplier who prioritizes responsiveness can save you a lot of stress!

Capability and Flexibility

Can you depend on your supplier to meet and accommodate your needs on a regular and/or long-term basis? It seems like a no-brainer, but you’ll really want to ensure your supplier can meet your needs.

Quality Control

Does the supplier consistently provide you with the best quality goods and service? How is the service? Consider the owner, sales rep, delivery drivers, and accounts receivable. Are they people you enjoy and are comfortable doing business with?

You may have noticed we left a somewhat important factor off the list–cost. While cost is a big factor in choosing and evaluating a supplier, it should not be a factor you weigh the heaviest on. Instead, focus on the factors we’ve listed. Keep in mind, a supplier can have the lowest price but the lowest quality of work, too.

Once you’ve established criteria for evaluation, you can proceed with your evaluation process.  

Step Two: Classify Suppliers For Evaluation

If your supply chain is made up of multiple suppliers, each of whom covers a different aspect of your business process or has more of an influence on your business than another, it wouldn’t make sense to evaluate them all the same way.

Decide how to classify your suppliers and then evaluate them according to the effect they have on your business process. By divvying up suppliers into two categories, such as critical and non-critical or primary and secondary, you can devote more time to measuring the performance of your critical suppliers.

Step Three: Determine Roles In The Evaluation Process

Though it will depend on the resources you have available to allocate towards the process–this classification step will help you determine who in your organization should be responsible for evaluating which supplier. There likely isn’t a single member of your organization who gets the full picture of each supplier’s performance. Those who work closest to the supplier should complete the evaluation. From there, who will be responsible for reviewing and making decisions based on the evaluation?

Step Four: Lay Down A Method For Evaluation

There are a few techniques businesses will use for rating a supplier’s performance. Techniques include evaluation forms, surveys, system metrics, and software applications.

You might consider crafting a survey that asks your own employees to rate and answer questions pertaining to the supplier. You can review how many corrective actions and/ or warnings you had to issue a supplier. Look at how many products you had to scrap or return because the supplier failed to meet specifications. You may also choose to monitor suppliers through a periodical auditing process.

The bottom line is that you need to determine a method that will allow you to generate reports throughout the course of the relationship.

Step Five: Know When To Say Goodbye

As you monitor a supplier’s performance, you have to decide when to praise them and when to issue a red flag or part ways.

Be sure to show appreciation for a job well done. Continue to do business with suppliers who consistently demonstrate excellent performance.

If you have a supplier you feel isn’t performing to their full potential, or to your expectations, raise a red flag, issue a warning–whatever you feel is necessary. By giving a warning, you give the supplier an opportunity to correct the problem. Remember, it’s not about reviewing your supplier’s performance as much as it’s about helping improve your partnership.

Finally, there’s no reason to tolerate ongoing bad service or a partnership that isn’t mutually beneficial. You may have to let go of a supplier that is underperforming or a bad fit–that’s ok!

Now, of course, a prerequisite to evaluating your suppliers is prequalifying and selecting them. Prequalify the right supplier from the get-go, and you’ll mitigate the risk of selecting the wrong supplier.

See our Contractors Guide to Pre-Qualifying Suppliers for more on how a contractor can establish a pre-qualification process that leads them to the right supplier for their project.   

At the end of the day, the relationship you have with your suppliers is a business partnership. If both parties are working to make sure the partnership is a success, it will be!

Contractors Guide To Pre-Qualifying Suppliers

Have questions? We’d be happy to answer them from a supplier perspective. Contact us here!    

contractor overseeing supplier's performance
2019-03-19T15:11:38+00:00

2018: The Year of Showing ‘Rock. Solid. Support!’ For The Community

Concrete Supply Company’s ‘Rock. Solid. Support!’ for the Carolina Community

As a company, it is our mission to be the premier provider of quality ready-mix concrete and related services while acting in the best interest of our employees, customers, shareholders, and the community.

Community engagement has always had a special place in the Concrete Supply Co. culture. For over 60 years now our company has put a heavy emphasis on supporting and strengthening the local community. But over the last few years, we’ve really stepped up our efforts in the community through our ‘Rock. Solid. Support!’ outreach program and the results have been truly remarkable.

Join us as we take a look back at 2018–the year we showed our ‘Rock. Solid. Support!’ for the community–with Concrete Supply Co. Director of Human Resources, Chip Wildman.

Concrete Supply Co. Encourages Community Engagement

concrete supply employees giving back to the community

Every company should prioritize corporate social responsibility within their culture–but that doesn’t mean every company does. At Concrete Supply Co., we realize the long-term benefits that stem from growing the local community where both our employees and clients live and work.  

“As an organization, we learned a long time ago that a healthy community creates healthy local businesses. There is a direct correlation between our support of local services and our success.  And we talk about this openly across our company as a model we chose to follow, across the Carolinas,” says Chip.

On an individual level, we encourag our employees through the ‘Rock. Solid. Support!’ outreach program to find their own ways to get involved in the community. We support numerous employee-driven fundraisers throughout the year and team members regularly partake in local community events. The fact that these efforts are employee-driven makes it that much better.

Chip commented, “Nothing drives engagement and satisfaction more than a commitment being made personally. It signifies importance to you as an individual, and an appreciation that what matters to you is backed by a team. It’s powerful, and can make things happen!”

As if the cultural importance of giving back to the community wasn’t enough to motivate employees, we offer employees further incentive to give with paid volunteer days.  

“Each year, every Concrete Supply Co. employee has the opportunity to use 2 additional paid days away from work to donate their efforts to any community service or nonprofit of their choice. Their choice; we simply want to support their engagement!” says Chip.

It’s important to work with other companies whose goals, values, and culture align with your own.

The Organizations We Proudly Support

In 2018, Concrete Supply Co. partnered with numerous charities and organizations in the Carolinas. We make it a point to ensure that the causes that are most important to our employees are important to us as well.

Below are just a few of the organizations that we worked with or supported over the last year:

United Way

A nonprofit organization focused on advancing the common good in communities across the world particularly with regards to education, income, and health. Find more information on United Way.

concrete supply truck wrapped for community group United Way

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charlotte

An organization that provides a safe, affordable and caring “home-away-from-home” for families of children receiving treatment in Charlotte-area medical facilities. See what you can do for the RMH of Charlotte.

Hope Haven Inc.

A foundation determined to break the cycle of homelessness and addiction through providing life skills for chemically dependent adults. Learn more about Hope Haven Inc.

Special Olympics of North Carolina

 An organization that provides athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities, year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports. Sound like a cause you could be interested in?

 

concrete supply truck wrapped for the local community special olympics

Crisis Assistance Ministries

 A Mecklenburg County non-profit that prevents homelessness and preserves dignity for Charlotte’s working poor. Want to give?

American Cancer Society / Race for the Cure

 An organization (and events) with the sole goal of helping to free the world from cancer. Find an event you and your team can participate in.

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Creating zero tolerance for domestic violence in the U.S through changing public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive change. A cause worth getting behind.

Touch a Truck 

A community-wide event where both kids and kids at heart have the opportunity to see, touch, climb and learn about vehicles of all types–including construction trucks like ours! Get involved!

Habitat for Humanity

A nonprofit organization that helps people internationally build or improve a place they can call home. If your company is involved in the construction process, Habitat for Humanity would be a great opportunity to give back.

And many more!

How We Do Our Part

“We do a little bit of everything!” says Chip. From lending a few helping hands on volunteer days to fundraising. Donating yards of concrete to churches and schools (depicted below) or wrapping our trucks to spread awareness.

concrete supply lays slab for community

 

“We have multiple trucks that have been wrapped to support specific organizations such as the United Way, Levine Children’s Hospital, Armed Forces, Breast Cancer Awareness, etc.,” Chip tells us.

concrete supply truck wrapped for community armed forces

“The initiative is SO popular with our employees that we currently have a pretty long backlog of requests. A great problem to have as it’s an indication of our employee’s desires to support the community matching up with the Company’s desire to drive this form of engagement,” says Chip.

Our Community Engagement Will Continue into 2019

2018 was a great year for us in terms of community engagement. We gave in so many ways to a wide range of organizations. We were even awarded the 2018 NRMCA “Concrete Cares” award, an award the Manufacturers, Products, and Services Division of the National Ready Mix Concrete Association gives to recognize companies for their service.

On a final note, Chip says, “Our Company is very fortunate to be surrounded by employees with BIG hearts, and there is never a shortage of volunteers, and/or new ideas of ways we can help in our community. We couldn’t be more proud of the tremendous efforts that the employees put forth each and every year to partner with us as Company to show our ‘Rock. Solid. Support!’ in every way possible.”

The devotion we have towards giving back to our local community is the same devotion we have towards everything we do as a company. When you work with the Concrete Supply Co., you can count on us to give our absolute best no matter the project. Let’s talk–contact us! If you’re interested in learning more about the organizations that Concrete Supply Co. is proud to support, check out our community page.

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concrete supply truck wrapped for United Way
2019-03-19T14:52:50+00:00

How to Prepare for a Successful Concrete Pour

Adequate Planning and Risk Control Management Ensures a Smooth Concrete Pour.

From coordinating teams of specialized workers, to ensuring proper pre-pour steps are taken, there is so much that goes into achieving a successful concrete pour.

As the principal contractor or person in control of the pour, many of the pour-day planning responsibilities and tasks fall on your shoulders. With early planning and risk control management, you can ensure your concrete pour goes smoothly from start to finish.

In an effort to help you make sure all your pre-pour planning bases are covered, we’ve outlined the steps you can take to prepare for a successful concrete pour.

Steps to take when preparing for a successful concrete pour:

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”–a saying most who work in the construction industry are familiar with. And it’s true! In the construction industry, planning is critical to avoiding unnecessary costs, lost time, and pushed timelines.

As a contractor or person in control of a concrete pour, you and all other parties involved should plan in a way that ensures the pour is placed quickly, smoothly, and without injury or issue. Concrete is a perishable good, and once batched, it must be placed within a set time. Concrete waits for no man! So be ready for it.

Work together with your crew foreman, ready-mix supplier, ready-mix tech, pump operator, and any others involved in these pre-pour planning tasks.

  • Create an agenda outlining how pour day will go.
    • Confirm that the agenda works for all parties involved.
    • Keep in mind your agenda is subject to weather, accessibility, site limitations, equipment back up, restricted work times, labor capacity, and the concrete supplier’s requirements.
  • Schedule meetings with crews to discuss the equipment needed for the job, agenda, labor requirements, mix design, finishing requirements, etc. Make sure everyone is on the same page about the specifics of the job.
  • Call your concrete supplier to check in on your order. Confirm that the correct ready-mix and amount of ready-mix has been ordered.
  • Make sure ready-mix techs and their trucks have what they need to do their job. This includes:
    • A safe and legal entryway onto your site.
    • A direct route and safe access to pump units.
    • A clear, spacious, and level area of ground with a firm base capable of supporting trucks and their crews.
    • A safe exit from the site.

*Consider signs to help guide those who are unfamiliar with your site around without issue.

  • Confirm the pour site is pour ready with formwork and reinforcements.
  • Make sure all required equipment is (or will be) onsite, properly positioned, and in working condition for the pour.
  • If your pour requires a pump, consider these factors during the planning process:
    • More and specific labor is required to operate a pump.
    • The methods of pumping concrete vary depending on mix and pour type.
    • Pump type and capacity varies.
    • Location of the pump will need to be planned out so it is accessible to ready-mix concrete delivery trucks, free of power lines, and at a height that allows for concrete to flow into the hopper with gravity which sometimes requires ramps.
  • Conduct a job safety analysis and mitigate as many safety risks as possible. Tasks might include:
    • Providing or requiring safety gear including helmets, eye protection, hearing protection, high visibility vests, long sleeves and pants, work gloves, sun protection, and safety footwear.
    • Clearly marking and defining electrical no-go zones.
    • Ensuring workers are properly trained and supervised.
    • Eliminating all trip, slip, and fall hazards.
    • Providing a map that details the set-up of ramps, bracings, washout bins, etc.
    • Keeping up-to-date maintenance, repair, and safety manuals easily accessible.
  • Make sure all required labor is onsite, properly positioned, and ready for pour day.
    • A Concrete Inspector should be present to monitor and evaluate the construction site and guarantee that the materials are strong enough to withstand the placement of concrete. They will also examine and test concrete batches to ensure that the composition meets construction specifications and industry standards.
    • A Spotter or Traffic Controller is present to direct the movement of trucks while considering the safety of each worker in the area. A Traffic Controller is especially important for jobs with multiple trucks coming and going.
    • A Pump Operator and their crew must be competent and present at the pump at all times to ensure the pump works correctly. In case of an emergency, they should be able to enact the pump’s emergency shutdown system.
  • On the day of your pour, equipment maintenance inspections should be performed to further ensure equipment will perform properly and safely.

All of your pre-pour planning is sure to pay off come pour day. But if you want to further ensure a great pour day, find a supplier who can provide you with a quality ready-mix. Because when it comes down to it, a great pour day plan is nothing without a quality ready-mix.

See our Contractor’s Guide to Pre-Qualifying Suppliers meant to help you and your team develop or fine-tune your pre-qualifying process.

As one of the largest concrete suppliers in the Carolinas, we’ve provided concrete for every type of project from skyscrapers, to parking decks, multi-family housing complexes and everything in between.

Our team will work with you to not only guarantee a quality ready-mix but that everything on the supplier side of pour day goes as planned. At the end of the day, we know your priority is getting the job done right, on budget, and on time. 

Download The Contractors Guide To Pre-Qualifying Suppliers
concrete pour day
2019-03-19T14:59:15+00:00

6 Types of Concrete Cracks and What They Mean

Six Common Types of Cracks in your Concrete

When you see a crack in your concrete slab or wall, your first assumption is typically that something has been done wrong–but that’s not always the case. Actually, concrete cracks are very common, some are even inevitable.

American Concrete Institute touches on the issue of cracking concrete in their American Concrete Institute manual, ACI 302. 1-40:

“Even with the best floor designs and proper construction, it is unrealistic to expect crack-free and curl-free floors. Consequently, every owner should be advised by both the designer and contractor that it is normal to expect some amount of cracking and curling on every project, and that such occurrences do not necessarily reflect adversely on either the adequacy of the floor’s design or the quality of its construction

We explain 6 of the most common types of concrete cracks below.

1. Plastic shrinkage concrete cracks

When concrete is still in its plastic state (before hardening), it is full of water. When that water eventually leaves the slab, it leaves behind large voids between the solid particles. These empty spaces make the concrete weaker and more prone to cracking. This type of cracking happens frequently and is referred to as “plastic shrinkage cracking”.

While plastic shrinkage cracks can happen anywhere in a slab or wall, they almost always happen at reentrant corners (corners that point into the slab) or with circular objects in the middle of a slab (pipes, plumbing fixtures, drains, and manholes). Since concrete cannot shrink around a corner, stress will cause the concrete to crack from the point of that corner.

plastic shrinkage cracks

Plastic shrinkage cracks are typically very narrow in width and barely visible. While nearly invisible, it is important to remember that plastic shrinkage cracks don’t just exist on the surface, they extend throughout the entire thickness of the slab.

An excessively wet mix is a contributing factor to shrinkage in concrete. While water is an essential ingredient in every concrete mix, there is such a thing as too much water. When the mix contains too much water, the slab will shrink more than if the correct amount of water was used. Hot weather is another big reason for plastic shrinkage cracks.

Control joints can be incorporated into the slab to prevent shrinkage cracking. The joints will open up as the concrete slab gets smaller.

2. Expansion concrete cracks

expansion cracks

Just like a balloon, heat causes concrete to expand. When concrete expands, it pushes against anything in its way (a brick wall or adjacent slab for example). When neither has the ability to flex, the expanding force can be enough to cause concrete to crack.

Expansion joints are used as a point of separation (or isolation), between other static surfaces. Typically made of a compressible material like asphalt, rubber, or lumber, expansion joints must act as shock absorbers to relieve the stress that expansion puts on concrete and prevent cracking.

3. Heaving concrete cracks

heaving cracks

When the ground freezes, it can sometimes lift many inches before thawing and settling back down. This ground movement brought on by the freezing and thawing cycle is a huge factor contributing to concrete cracking. If the slab is not free to move with the ground, the slab will crack.

Large tree roots can have the same effect on a slab. If a tree is located too close to a slab, the growing roots can lift and crack the concrete surface. Always consider this when laying a slab.

4. Settling concrete cracks

settling cracks

On the other hand, ground settling below a concrete slab can also cause cracking.

Settling cracks typically occur in situations where a void is created in the ground below the concrete surface. Think about when a large tree is removed from nearby and the roots begin to decompose or when a utility company digs a trench for their lines, pipes, etc. and don’t compact the soil when they refill it–these are examples of instances where settling cracks are likely to happen.

5. Concrete cracks caused by overloading the slab

overloading cracks

Although concrete is a very strong building material, it does have its limits. Placing excessive amounts of weight on top of a concrete slab can cause cracking. When you hear a concrete mix has a strength of 2000, 3000, 4000, or 5000+ PSI, it is referring to the pounds per square inch it would take to crush that concrete slab.

When it comes to residential concrete slabs, overload of the actual slab isn’t all that common. Instead, what is more likely to occur is excess overload on the ground below the slab.

After a heavy rain or snowmelt when the ground below is soft and wet, excessive weight on the slab can press the concrete down and result in cracks. Residential homeowners who place large recreational vehicles or dumpsters on their driveways are more likely to see this type of cracking.

6. Concrete cracks caused by premature drying

premature drying cracks

There are two common types of cracks brought on by premature drying.

Crazing cracks are very fine, surface cracks that resemble spider webs or shattered glass. When the top of a concrete slab loses moisture too quickly, crazing cracks will likely appear. While unsightly, crazing cracks are not a structural concern.

Crusting cracks typically happen during the concrete stamping process, which is a way of adding texture or pattern to concrete surfaces. On sunny or windy days where the top of the slab dries out quicker than the bottom, the top of the concrete surface can become crusty. When the stamp is embedded, it pulls the surface apart near the stamped joints and causes small cracks around the outside edges of the “stones”. Again, while they don’t look great, crusting cracks are not a structural issue to be considered about.

It’s often difficult to determine exactly what caused a particular crack. Proper site preparation, a quality mix, and good concrete finishing practices can go a long way towards minimizing the appearance of cracks and producing a more aesthetically pleasing concrete project.

We can’t stress the importance of a quality mix design in concrete crack controlling. Read our Concrete Checklist: Get The Best Mix For Your Project, which will guide you and your concrete supplier towards creating the best mix for your concreting project.

concrete cracks
2019-02-11T10:39:41+00:00