Road King Technologies

Road KingRoad King GPS tracks the location of concrete trucks – and much more.

By Mark Lawton, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing

When it comes to delivering ready-mix concrete, timing is everything. Ready-mix concrete is a mix of cement, water and aggregates such as sand, gravel, or crushed stone. It is mixed at a batch plant and put in a barrel truck that rotates the mixture while it is being delivered to the construction site. 

The challenge: When concrete hydrates, it becomes stiff and difficult to work with after 120 minutes. “They have a two-hour window of opportunity,” Harry Marks, president of Road King Technologies, says about the task facing concrete contractors. “If it goes beyond two hours, they may have to abort.”Road King info box

Understandably, the batch plant that mixes the concrete wants to be able to track the barrel trucks to make sure they get to the construction site and pour the concrete before it is unusable.

Road King GPS software, however, can tell a lot more. “Knowing where the truck is going, that’s only half the battle,” says Jose Luis Raposo, vice president of sales. “Knowing what the truck is doing, that’s the best part.”

Road King software can remotely check the status of the concrete. That’s important for commercial construction, which require multiple deliveries of concrete.

“If each truck holds nine cubic yards of concrete and a site ordered 100 cubic yards total, the dispatcher has to know when to send the next truck so the other trucks are not just standing around waiting while the first truck is still being discharged,” Raposo explains. “Most other GPS companies just show a point on a map [where a truck is]. We came on board and wanted to offer more.”

While Road King sells to concrete producers, their customers – the construction companies – can also log into the Road King website and keep track of the status of their deliveries.

“It’s very common that the construction crew asks the truck driver, ‘how much concrete do you think you have left [to discharge]?’” Raposo says. “We can be much more precise, within about a half cubic yard.”

Road King can remotely check how much water has been added to the mix and how many mix turns the barrel truck has made. It will send alerts to a customer if there is a problem.

It can also electronically send delivery tickets to the truck driver, log arrival on the construction site and, if necessary, remotely honk the truck’s horn.

Garments to Ready-Mix

Road King Technologies was founded by Harry Marks, president, and Martin Joncas, vice president of software. “I had a software company,” Marks says. “We were doing enterprise resource planning for the garment industry – keeping track of raw materials and finished goods. Then the whole industry went south – I should say east, it all went to China.”

Joncas came up with an idea for a new company that would do something with GPS. He and Marks decided to avoid handling GPS for long-distance trucking firms, because there was too much competition, and instead targeted companies that transport  ready-mix concrete.

“When I looked around, there were only two companies doing this,” Marks recalls.

He had known Raposo from Raposo’s 26 years in the concrete industry, experience that was invaluable in figuring out what the Road King software should do and in selling that software to concrete producers.

Cold-Weather Customers

While transporters of Ready-mix concrete industry are the main market for Road King, the company has adapted its technology to other types of industries. Snow plows, for example. The Province of Quebec hired Road King to supply real-time information about its plows.

“They would like to know if the plow has already gone up or down on a highway, what time they put the salt down and how frequently,” Raposo says. “We can tell them not just that the plow was there but did it do the work it was supposed to do.”

Road King also works with refrigerator trucks. In addition to checking location, its technology allows dispatchers to both remotely check – and if necessary, change – the temperature of refrigeration. Road King plans to soon expand into the concrete pumping and hydrovac industries.

The Concrete Guy

Raposo says the biggest challenge facing Road King involves educating prospects about how Road Kings tracking can improve operations and save them more than 10 percent of fleet demand. GPS can help them. “People just don’t understand,” he says. 

Potential clients hear “GPS” and think it’s another product that only shows them the location of their trucks, Raposo explains.

“If you just want the cheapest product, you’re probably not going to buy our product,” Raposo says. “If we can manage to get them to listen to me for two minutes, 90 percent of the time they become our customers. I can say, ‘I’m not a GPS guy. I’m the concrete guy. I’ve been in your shoes.’”

It seems to be working. Road King currently dominates the ready mix concrete industry with its GPS solution in Canada for the small- to medium-sized companies, and is well on its way to doing the same for the U.S. market.

Reaching Out

Road King promotes itself through advertisements in the National Ready-mix Concrete Association’s magazine In Focus as well as in Concrete Products. The company exhibits at trade shows including World of Concrete, Canadian Concrete Exhibition and Heavy Equipment Association. 

Road King may be contacted at 888-760-0147.

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