The concrete supply chain (CSC) describes the full range of activities through which cement-based construction products pass to become a completed building. These include activities like resource exploration, mining, engineering, production, transportation, distribution, quality control and more. These activities are so varied that they seldom reside within one firm, but are usually spread between several business enterprises.
The unique feature of this supply chain is weight. Concrete materials are heavy and heavy materials require that most of the players in the chain be located close to the end-user.
Decentralization is good… Because concrete supply cannot connect to global resources easily, the concrete chain is usually locally based and highly dependent upon small and medium enterprises (SME’s) for success. This lends itself to a decentralized system and multiple local economic opportunities.
Participation in a dynamic CSC can give SME’s the opportunity to obtain financial stability, increase productivity and expand their market. Cooperation within a network of upstream and downstream partners can enhance an SME’s financial status, access to information and the ability to advance their skills.
Participation in a supply chain within a developing nation is unique because it requires the additional support of governments, non-government organizations and other business professionals to succeed. The support of these groups allows these SME’s access to advanced resources and skills training. These connections build stronger links in a chain that adds value at each stage within a local market area.
Additionally, the CSC is a highly labor-intensive network relying on a large local pool of workers to bring value to the process. Work that builds strength within this value chain yields high economic returns for the local community. Investments in human and technical resources from supporting groups returns both stronger employment and more sustainable structures.
Upstream and Downstream within the System… Global value chains rely heavily upon coordination in order to work efficiently. In most cases, the various businesses within the chain find relationships both upstream and downstream from within a well-established system.
Ready-mixed Solution… CementTrust suggests that developing a supply system should begin in the middle of the chain and work upstream and downstream to build the supply network. By focusing on the production of ready-mixed concrete the community can begin with a strong foundation and scale-up from there. Investments in ready-mix production will force improvements in aggregate mining upstream and quality control testing downstream. As ready-mixed concrete businesses expand within the market, the opportunities for enterprise within the chain will surface upstream and down.
CementTrust suggests starting with the ready-mixed sector due to the impact that quality foundations have on the sustainability of any structure. Reducing the risk is central to the success of this solution and foundations rely on good production practices to remain sound when disaster strikes.
Taking away the shovels… Taking the shovels out the mixing process and providing local SME’s with the proper technology will make the largest impact on future risk. Quality ready-mixed SME’s will provide the foundation on which to build-out the complete concrete supply chain with other quality service and suppliers.
CementTrust Team… Our team has many years of experience establishing and mentoring businesses within the ready-mixed concrete production sector of North America. CementTrust leadership has developed a huge network of experts both upstream and downstream from ready-mixed production. Leveraging these associations will improve the chances of success for the local SME’s in developing countries.
CementTrust is uniquely qualified to join governments, non-government organizations and charitable foundations in an effort to find a sustainable, scalable solution to the world’s poorest concrete supply chains. We know the solution to global poverty because we have witnessed it work for almost 20-years.
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