BK: Welcome to HxGN RADIO. My name’s Brian. With me today is Bradley Jamrozik, Systems Analyst from Ozinga, with us to discuss how Hexagon’s Xalt has helped us to improve businesses. And we’re also going to discuss how it’s helped to improve their business as well. We appreciate you taking the time. Thanks for joining us.
BJ: Yeah, no problem. Happy to be here. Hi, mom! [Laughs]
BK: Well, you know, being on a podcast, it’s fun, you get to have some fun, you get to talk, you get to be famous someday! At least that’s what we’re told. [Laughs]
BJ: That’s… yeah, yeah. Eh.
BK: One way or the other, we’re going to have a good time.
BJ: Oh yeah.
BK: But thank you very much for joining us.
BK: Ozinga provides ready-mix concrete, decorative concrete supplies, and bulk materials while offering transportation services through an extensive network of truck, rail, barge, and ship terminals. The organisation has faced operational and logistical challenges due to manual processes, but all of that has changed with the implementation of Xalt. First of all, let’s hear a little about what you’re doing. Tell us about Ozinga, and where you’re at, the company, and everything.
BJ: Well, Ozinga is a family-owned company, who’ve been around … we just celebrated our 90th anniversary, so we’ve been around since 1928. A lot of everything from mining, to source of the material, to transporting the aggregate material, to researching and developing new types of concrete, to dispatching and delivering the concrete. It’s a whole big system from start to finish, and all these systems need to be tightly integrated. And an absolute mess from an IT perspective. But the customers seem to enjoy what they get!
BK: So, okay, what have been some of the biggest business process challenges that you’ve been dealing with?
BJ: A lot of what we deal with does have to do with manual processes with paper trails. I mean, the construction industry as a whole tends to be not on the forefront of technology, to say the least. So, we do a lot of paper invoices, a lot of manual data entry, a lot of things going back and forth, a lot of phone calls, all that kind of stuff that is just – it just slows down, it decreases productivity. And so, it’s our job, being on the Business Services team, we’re there to support the applications that we have and to develop new applications and to increase the business intelligence that the company is able to use.
BK: So, is that what caused you to want to digitalise your process a little bit more?
BJ: A lot of it was just speed. There’s obviously a lot higher of an accuracy when you’re doing something digitally versus a manual process. Fat fingering is very, very common. A lot of what we would be trying to do is just to increase speed and efficiency. We have a lot of people who sometimes would spend days on end just doing manual entry, and it’s tedious.
BJ: – To say the least. You know, we try to help where we can. We try to do like Excel imports into different systems, and just try to integrate. But a lot of these systems too are very old. Like we have one of – one of our main applications still running Delphi code, and so trying to get all those systems to talk to each other, to have one version of the truth, all that kind of stuff has just been a big challenge and endeavor for our department.
BK: Okay. How did you find Xalt?
BJ: That was actually our – the vice presidents of the materials and logistics division of Ozinga was looking for a better sales quote tool and found Xalt and said, “Hey, I like this product. It’s mobile, we can just kind of – we can customise it to be able to do what we need it to do.” So, we rolled that out. At that point there were maybe eight salesmen using it, and then afterwards, we saw what we were able to do with it. And now it’s kind of blown up into a massive … it’s our primary sales quote tool. We do use it for, like, importing and data manipulation. We have a customer-facing portal that has Xalt completely on the back end, and it allows us to have connections into our production system without actually affecting performance. And then the customers are able to see their tickets, their invoices, all that kind of stuff just right at their fingertips.
BK: Good. So how has this all improved your processes and everything? I mean, I’m assuming it’s gotten a lot faster, probably more efficient, but any specific examples you can think of?
BJ: The main one I can think of, I mean probably one of the main things that we do with Xalt is going to be our sales quote system, and that’s just a process of … a salesman does a quote, and that gets approved, it goes to our back-office team, and then they have to enter it into our POS. And so being able to speed that up and being able to see the whole audit trail has been great. As far as process improvements, one of the big things has been getting BOLs from some of our vendors. We’re able to build sort of an application inside of Xalt where they can import the data in there, manipulate it, clean it up, and then just import it straight into their POS. So, a process that would take them, you know, an entire day to do takes them five minutes now.
BK: Wow! That’s a significant, significant change.
BJ: It’s pretty cool.
BK: Yeah. Wow, that’s neat. So, what are you most excited about when it comes to Ozinga’s future?
BJ: What I really like – because I’m really a database guy – that’s what I specialise in, that’s – sometimes… I dream in SQL, which –
BJ: – might not be something that – I might need help for that, I don’t know. [Laughs] But being able to just explore all these new technologies, and kind of – we get to be on the forefront of the construction industry. We’re also – our team is – we’re very tight-knit, we’re very close, we work well together, and so we’re able to bounce ideas off each other, we’re able to just kind of turn on a dime and really go into R&D-type stuff. And we’ve had other companies say, like, you know, “Hey, we have all these resources, but Ozinga is able to turn this thing around on a – and they’re – they’re running circles around us.” And then even outside of the construction industry, talking to other companies, it’s weird to kind of see how in some ways, we’re so far advanced. All the other companies and being able to keep pushing that line, and to be more efficient, to get more analytics, and get more data, and more data, and being able to analyse it and make better business decisions based off of that is fantastic, and that’s – that’s really what I like doing. I like data, I like making it mean something, manipulating it, doing all those sorts of things.
BK: And then seeing the result that it creates.
BJ: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of people – I’m not normally a people-person, but people do tend to really appreciate it.
BK: You can appreciate people from that standpoint, then. Yes.
BK: That’s good. So how is Xalt going to be helping you with these future goals, then?
BJ: Well the – I mean, the great thing about Xalt, at least from how I particularly use it, is I am, again, a database developer. And so Xalt lets me build essentially full-fledged applications with – and do as much programming as I want to in SQL server, and then just have a UI set on top of it. And it’s just automatically there. I don’t have to – I know a little bit of C#, but that’s not at all my specialty. And so, being able to, you know, be able to do all of this stuff within SQL server, have something that is publishable and usable and clean, and then also to be able to change it very quickly, like it’s, “Hey, you know, we have this idea, can you make this work?” Yeah. Go give me a half hour, I’ll go – I can go fix that. That kind of stuff has been really good.
BK: Good, good. Sounds like a win-win across the board.
BK: Excellent. Well, Bradley, thanks for sharing all that! Appreciate it.
BJ: Yeah! You are very welcome.
BK: Of course, you want to know a little bit more information on Xalt, go to hexagonxalt.com, And of course, more episodes, check them out! Love to have you join us over at hxgnspotlight.com. Thank you very much for listening today and have a great day.