A look at mobile apps in the asphalt industry

By Todd Davis

Technology has changed the way business is conducted over the last 10 years. It is hard to imagine the world without mobile telephones and tablets. These types of devices have revolutionized the way we communicate and provide tools to help us make better decisions, quicker and more efficiently.

Because of the technological advances we have experienced, the paving industry has embraced the movement with various types of apps that allow us to reduce paper and provide information quicker so that decisions can be made.


Below are various examples of some of the technologies and applications available that are being utilized in the Asphalt and Paving industry today.

Field production paving apps

Field construction has made a strong push in recent years to reduce paper and site plans by developing applications to assist personnel with mobile applications for phones and devices.

Field superintendents, project managers and foreman typically would be required to communicate a number of necessary correspondence and reports that would be filled out either manually by hand or emailed through a field computer. A few examples of this correspondence would include time entry for payroll, quantity recording and verification, equipment hours and utilization and any safety related issues or concerns.

Now paving contractors are taking advantages of these technologies and implementing applications that encompass all of these corresponding tasks in one application. These apps are saving entry time for the field personnel, reducing paper exchanges from the field to the office and expediting the time for that transfer.

“Mobile applications in the paving industry have revolutionized the way our companies conduct business. We want our field managers to focus their time and efforts to safety, quality and productivity,” says Curt Davison, Performance Manager for Preferred Materials in Orlando.

“Our businesses require accurate and timely information from the field. With developments of technology and apps, we have the best of both worlds. The field managers are recording required data in the field, sending that data instantly to the office and then they can go back to what is important in the field.”

Below are two examples of field production paving apps. Both apps are from Caterpillar and free on Apple devices. The Production Planning Calculator app is helpful to plan a future paving job. It will assist in decisions on a job by calculating the number of trucks required and the planned speed of a paving operation. Successful planning and executing can help reduce costs, improve production and help make a smoother road. Also, the app has the ability to save entries for future use and email data from the calculator.

Caterpillar also has another free app available for field paving that assists in setting the correct amplitude on compaction rollers.

Crude oil pricing apps

There are numerous applications that provide up-to-date pricing of different types of crude oil and commodities. Many apps provide daily updated prices of various types of crude oil. WTI, Brent and Western Candian Select along with differentials between WTI and Brent crudes as well as WTI and WCS (Western Candadian Select).

Argus Direct app

Argus Media is a media organization that specializes in providing market reports that contain price assessments, market news and various business intelligence reports to their customers. The Argus Direct app allows a subscribed user to access their data on a mobile device. The app has the ability for a user to establish a dashboard of custom reports that are updated on a regular basis.

Marine ship tracking

There are many different types of ship tracking website services available in the market today. Some of these sites are free while others require a subscription to access more data and options available.

Marine Traffic is a service that provides tracking of vessels on over 100,000 vessels per day. With a subscribed service, a user has the ability to save vessels or ports and create their own fleet, which has the ability to receive email or text notifications of a vessels location. This app is a helpful tool for a user to inquire the whereabouts of a vessel or explore what ships are importing or exporting to and from the United States.

Asphalt magazine

The popular magazine is available for reading through the traditional magazine, its website and also as an electronic magazine. The free download is available through the Apple iTunes store and offers all the articles, pictures and advertisements that are included in the print version of the magazine.

Its intuitive and user-friendly features allow a reader to experience the magazine on their mobile device (iPad or iPhone) with several robust features. The app stores past issues that can be downloaded for future reference and also includes helpful tabs that include thumbs view, menu, content, advertisers and search tabs. These helpful tabs allow a reader to expedite the experience by offering ways to quickly navigate through the electronic magazine.

Of course, the magazine would not be complete without the president’s message and the Lab Corner articles – a favorite of many.

There is virtually an app available for everything in today’s world. From ordering a car or taxi to pick you up to placing a pizza order, mobile apps have changed the way we communicate and conduct business. The asphalt industry has followed suit by providing applications through mobile devices that allow our industry to communicate and conduct business more efficiently.

Todd Davis is the Director of Supply at Associated Asphalt, Inc. in Roanoke, Virginia.