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Here at Folsom Ready Mix, we put a lot of pride into our work and our products to ensure our customers have the best experience we can offer.  To grant this, our new QA (quality assurance) lab was created this year to continually supply our customers with the highest quality product available on the market as well as enhance our service offering to our customers. These are two core objectives here at Folsom Ready Mix.  The four strategic priorities of our new QA lab are improved product quality and consistency for our everyday customers, the creation and maintenance of concrete mix designs for special projects, supporting our customers with the investigation of on the job quality issues, and the improvement of technical concrete knowledge of our own internal staff.

In support of our everyday customers, the QA lab provides constant evaluation of our concrete performance and our raw materials by mixing small scale batches that mimic our daily results.  This allows us to monitor water demand, concrete temperatures and many other factors that can impact the daily performance of our concrete products.  This also gives us the ability to test our mixes at different points in the year as weather conditions change and affect items such as the temperature of our aggregates that go into the concrete mix.  Because of these seasonal changes its imperative that real time adjustments are made at the plant level to improve quality and ensure consistency at all times throughout the year.  Given that Folsom Ready Mix manufactures ready mix concrete at three manufacturing batch plants, each with its own set of circumstances, makes this process super critical to our customers’ success.   This also provides a huge benefit to our customers in planning and ordering the right mix for their project and helps reduce the risk of cracking and other quality issues that occur during the finishing and curing process.  Ultimately our goals of high quality and consistency of our products are meant to help our customers satisfy their customers.

In addition to our everyday testing, our QA lab is critical in designing specialty mixes for jobs with specifications.  When designing and testing new and existing concrete mixes we are able to test multiple batches and record data on their performance.  Some of the data captured includes strength, set times, and shrinkage.  These results are a few critical data points when manufacturing and supplying concrete especially for projects such as retaining walls, bridges, roads, etc.  We invite our customers to work alongside us as we put together mix designs in support of their projects.  This is a great way for our customers to expand their knowledge on the impact that concrete additives and raw materials have on the final product and also allows them to have a say in what goes into their concrete mix.

To take it a step further, when required and/or feasible, FRM also provides field testing to verify concrete properties for our customers.  We leverage supplier relationships and lab capabilities to help investigate customer questions or concerns.  We can address customer concerns with product performance and make mix design changes that will resolve those issues in the future.

Finally, our lab also provides a platform for customer and employee training that in a non-conventional way improves the customer experience as well. This allows our drivers to receive more effective technical training through hands-on involvement prior to being thrown into the day to day schedule.  The more knowledgeable our staff and our drivers are with regards to the technical side of concrete, the better service and education we can provide to our customers.

Folsom Ready Mix understands and focuses on the importance of the full customer experience from the selection of raw materials all the way through the curing of the concrete.  The above mentioned four key priorities of our new QA lab are a key contributor to this core value by maintaining high quality and consistent concrete products for our customers.  Do you have any questions about our QA lab or how our testing and lab processes work? What are your thoughts on the benefits of a QA lab? Want to become a lab tech for a day and see the inner workings of our QA lab first hand? Feel free to leave a comment below!