Aggrecom rolls out PODFather across its construction materials business

Aggrecom Ltd, the East Midlands based supplier of construction materials, has selected PODFather as its system of choice for the planning and management of its earthworks and aggregates operations. With a fleet of 27 tipper lorries, road sweepers and earthmoving vehicles, Aggrecom needed a software solution that could help eradicate paperwork and improve visibility across its growing business. Having started by rolling PODFather out across a section of its fleet, Aggrecom quickly saw the time and efficiency saving benefits that PODFather brings. As a result, a full scale PODFather roll out operation is now underway.

“As an organisation, we pride ourselves on delivering a first-class service to our customers. Irrespective of whether we’re moving 20 or 200,000 tonnes of material, we want to be able to accommodate and adapt to any situation,” comments Rob Fox, Managing Director, Aggrecom Group Holdings Ltd. “With PODFather rolling out across our earthworks and aggregates operations we feel we have the right solution in place to help us to maximise efficiency, streamline our processes and improve visibility across our business.”

With PODFather in place, Aggrecom will benefit from a number of construction specific software features including bespoke job booking, load planning and allocation management. PODFather’s robust software offering provides an easy to use, intuitive solution, to the complex problem of planning and managing the movement of a wide variety of earthworks and aggregate loads. In addition, Aggrecom drivers will all have access to the PODFather smart phone app. Running on even the most basic of smartphones, the app enables the Aggrecomm management team to share work with drivers, allocate progress and log proof of delivery information in real time.

“With the introduction of PODFather we are saving up to five hours of admin time every day by not relying on paper tickets; time that can be used elsewhere within the business,” adds Fox. “In addition, with real time proof of delivery collection we can immediately see what work we’ve completed, deal with discrepancies, and invoice accordingly. As far as we are concerned it’s a real game changer in terms of improving how we carry out our day to day business.”

“Here at PODFather we pride ourselves on delivering solutions that meet the real needs of today’s construction operators,” adds Colin McCreadie, PODFather’s Managing Director. “With Aggrecom we’ve quickly been able to demonstrate just how instrumental our system can be in streamlining processes, driving improvements and improving visibility for companies dealing with the complex challenge of managing material movements in the construction industry.”

PODFather Ltd – so much more than ePOD
Our software is helping businesses within the logistics, construction, field service and healthcare industries to streamline processes, improve operational and financial efficiency, and eradicate paper. Our cloud-based delivery management software encompasses a range of features and functionality including; job management, route planning and optimization, vehicle checks, proof of delivery, driver and vehicle tracking, as well as invoicing and reporting modules. PODFather allows businesses to be better informed about the jobs they are managing, highlighting problems before they occur, making users proactive rather than reactive. Our customer base includes well-known names such as Tarmac, NHS, Bidfresh, Oxfam and Igloo, as well as a many independent logistics and construction service operators. To find out more visit

Please direct all media request to:

Jane Geary, Marketing Manager
Tel: 07590 376099,

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Free Re-flow forms to support the highways and construction sectors return to work

Our way of supporting the sector

As the Government and industry bodies launch business reopening measures, employers are now moving operatives back to site with clearer guidance on safe working practices and definitions of essential work established. There are various considerations employers must keep in mind when reopening their physical work locations, one of which is regular screening of employees to ensure they are fit to work and not posing significant risk of spreading Covid-19.

In support of the sector, as it embarks on the ‘new normal’ working practices and procedures, Re-flow is offering two free digital forms that strengthen social distancing measures, to any company in the sector. The first is for managing Covid-19 back to work screening and the other is to enable contact free waste transfer notes. These forms are accessible to all employees on their smartphones through our Apple and Android apps.

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Ensure a safe return to work for your team

Keep on top of operative’s health, by symptom checking on a daily basis, using the Covid-19 screening form via the Re-flow app, allowing the return to work process to be done remotely.

Operatives can simply complete the information on the digital form at home or on site and the completed information is instantly sent to the Management team via email, who can then use the responses to decide when an employee is safe to return to work.

This has the primary function of keeping potentially contagious operatives away from site until they are well, by allowing them to screen from home. It also brings the process online, meaning there’s no physical documentation to exchange, which could be contaminated.

Full users of Re-flow can also add Covid-19 warnings and updates on the home screen of their app as a way of communicating to whole team.

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Remove unnecessary contact

This offers a simple form on the app for waste transfer notes to be completed easily and digitally. It includes information such as details of the waste, the processes it has been through, and further information about the transfer. Companies can also include all compliance and licencing information required to have a digital paper trail for auditing purposes.

Once again, this removes the need for physical documentation that could be contaminated and any requirement for person to person contact.

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How do our forms work?

*Integrate any kind of form you need into the app.
*Our forms can pull from databases, so that wherever possible, fields are
dropdown pick lists, removing interpretation errors.
*Make forms dynamic, so users can be asked for information based on the
previous response, removing user guesswork and unnecessary data input.
*Forms work completely offline and you can save as you go.
*On submission, forms are stored until a connection is established and then
automatically go straight into the cloud, immediately available to view as pdfs
in the management dashboard.

Find out more about Re-flow forms

The Offer – How we can help you for free

*Free access to the app will be available for a period of three months, up to and
including 31st August 2020.
*We offer the same data and hosting security as our paying customers receive.
*Any company can sign for an account via our website.
*All operatives can download the app on their smartphones and login using
your company’s unique login credentials to complete and submit the forms.
*All data is yours, and forms submitted via the app are instantly forwarded to
an email recipients of your choosing.
*The app your team will use in the field, works on iOS 10+ on the iPhone and
iPad and Android: 6+ phone and tablet. It also re-sizes to any device screen
*This offer does not include access to a management dashboard – normally
accessible to paying customers.

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How the construction industry needs to change in 2019

From a skilled worker shortage to new technology, the construction industry has a tough 2019 ahead of it. The uncertainty of Brexit certainly isn’t a benefit to any industry, but for the construction sector, it has proven to be particularly problematic. Join us as we explore some of the challenges facing the sector this year, as well as potential ways to deal with them.

2019’s difficulties

We will first explore the ongoing issues in the construction sector. From profitability to sustainability, economic, social and political factors all play a part in the success of firms within this industry. Here is a selection of the major problems that the construction industry is fighting against in 2019:

Skill shortages

The shortage of skilled workers within the industry has proven to be particularly problematic. Last year saw the worst recorded level of skill shortages within the construction industry, and it’s only set to continue. From bricklayers, carpenters and plumbers, to electricians and plasterers; the scarcity of employees is reportedly across the board. An aging workforce means more retirement, which means the gap needs to be filled with new workers. But with less than one in 10 young people considering a job in construction, the sector needs to do more to entice the next generation of employee.

The shortage is only deepening thanks to Brexit. In fact, a third of EU construction workers are said to be considering leaving the UK, further widening the skills shortage for the sector. On top of this, while skill shortage is a large enough issue, it is also having another detrimental effect on the industry — cost. Due to the lack of skilled tradespeople, wages are rising for jobs within the sector, which, along with a rise in material cost, is impacting on profitability for building companies.

EU imports

Brexit is proving to be a real thorn in the side of UK construction. While there is speculation regarding how the construction sector will fare after 29 March 2019 — the official leaving date — negotiations are ongoing, and we don’t yet know how taxes, imports and labour between the UK and EU will pan out.

The sector may soon face a problem with raw materials too. According to government data, around 60% of imported building materials come from the EU. Combine this with a potential negative change in VAT and tax, and a loss of access to the European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund — major investors in construction SMEs — and we could see higher product prices and less capital for the construction sector.

Looking for eco-friendly routes

The construction sector is also faced with demands to seek greener processes too. According to the World Economic Forum, the construction industry can account for up to 40% of the world’s carbon emissions. With a global drive to crackdown on carbon emissions, any sector that doesn’t assist with this initiative could run the risk of incurring sanctions and fines — another potential hit that could affect the construction industry’s profitability.

An influx of new technology

The construction & building contractors and construction sector is also getting to grips with ever-more advanced technology. From robotics to BIM — building information modelling — there’s a wave of new technologies and gadgets available to help make construction more efficient and profitable. However, this is only possible if building firms of all sizes are willing to get on board with a new way of working.

How the sector is making changes

Seeking skilled workers

The most pressing matter is arguably the issue of skilled workers. The Chartered Institute of Building claims that the construction sector will need to secure 157,000 new recruits by 2021 if it wants to keep up with demand. One method of enhancing the construction workforce is perhaps to encourage more apprenticeships in the industry — and positively, apprenticeship starts are at a record high in the UK construction industry at the moment.

The sector must take steps to become more appealing to youngsters. If the industry wants to prosper down the line, it will need to keep encouraging young workers to take on apprenticeship programmes as soon as possible, whether this is via positive workplace initiatives, bonuses or a closer relationship with schools.

EU materials

It remains to be seen if Brexit impacts exports and imports, or more accurately, how much it will affect it. However, it’s clear that material costs and the ease of employing the labour of EU nationals are the sector’s greatest concerns. To keep material costs down, building companies must keep a detailed inventory of what they have and what they need. Replacing can be more costly than simply repairing and vice versa, while not ‘shopping around’ for the best local prices can mean bargains are missed. Although we may not see a significant increase in charges and tax for EU imports, it may be worth sourcing UK- and none EU-based alternatives now to ease the pressure in 2019.

Aiming for green

The construction industry needs to quickly change in order to keep up with growing green demands. The government is determined to lower carbon emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. So, the construction industry needs to be active in reducing its contribution to emissions if it wants to avoid potential financial penalties.

One of the many ways to do this would to simply look at current processes for potential green improvements. Furthermore, many construction vehicles and equipment, such as cherry pickers, come with eco-friendlier hybrid motors or can be powered by batteries, while utilising solar energy panels, non-toxic paint, locally-grown timber, and low-energy lightbulbs during the construction process will all contribute to a greener industry.

Using technology

It’s important for the sector to keep up with changing technology. Construction software that eases communication between different teams on a single building project is growing in use and popularity across the sector, as are BIM and augmented reality technologies which help project managers spot potentially costly issues before the physical construction. Similarly, robotic machines are helping ease the pressure of a lack of low-level workers while making potentially hazardous jobs easier to complete, and advances in materials — such as self-healing and permeable concrete solutions — are solving longstanding problems, like cracked building foundations.

There are rewards to be gleaned from this. For example, it’s possible that construction companies can help protect themselves from using inefficient, labour-intensive and environmentally-unfriendly methods by learning about new technologies and bringing them into their workspaces.

It is without a doubt a difficult time for the construction sector.  However, a bright future is not unattainable. By adopting eco-friendly processes, being responsive to new technology, having a plan in place for Brexit, and encouraging apprentices to come on board, the sector can thrive in 2019 and beyond.


Staying Power: 30 Years in Construction Recruitment

Sarah Harvey has thrived for 30 years in construction recruitment. Find out how she achieved this feat and how the industry has changed over the decades.

When I took my first construction recruitment job in 1989, I would never have imagined I would still be in the industry 30 years later. Thriving for three decades in this role is rare, as it’s such a tough, competitive environment to work in.

My time in construction recruitment has given me a unique insight on the industry as a whole, and I wanted to discuss the evolution I’ve seen and the changes I still want to see.

As we approach the end of an uncertain year, we’re hoping 2020 will be reinvigorated through political clarity. For construction talent, be it permanent or temporary staff, if you do a good job and add value, you win through.


An Improved Landscape

The industry has undergone a major image transformation over the last 30 years and has emerged as more professional and respectable. The industry we know today is process-led, policy-driven and digitalised. The culture of the late 1980s has been largely overhauled, and as a result, we all work in a more positive sector.

Whilst policy is a must in order to mitigate risk, there is a feeling that policy can be more of a tick-box exercise with the clear exception of health and safety. We have seen a complete behavioural overhaul of health and safety, and rightly so. The standards have skyrocketed, meaning workers are happier, more productive and significantly safer in their roles.

Equally, 30 years ago, there was no such thing as having records and plans stored digitally. Advancements in technology have enabled plans to be viewed in 3D, making it more efficient to plan and develop construction projects.

The concept of construction management software has also revolutionised the industry. It allows different parties to collaborate on projects with more ease, which means they can make necessary changes much faster.

We also talk about equality, diversity and inclusion, and wanting to attract more women into construction. Fortunately, how the industry treats its stakeholders is worlds apart from where we were in the late 80s.

Industry leaders who are stuck in their old ways still exist, but thankfully, they are now few and far between. They need to be as they actively deter females from the industry and cause good staff members to look for better prospects elsewhere.

Where We Need to Build a Better Industry

Culturally, the industry has improved, but there are issues that still need to be resolved. I think the way parties interact with each other has remained largely unchanged with confrontation still rife. Because of this, the industry loses talent that doesn’t cope well in harsh cultures.

Being overly tough just isn’t the right approach for today’s talent. The industry has been very slow to adjust here, despite claiming otherwise. Staff retention hasn’t improved massively over the years, but if we adapted the same zero tolerance approach to poor management as we do to health and safety, workers will be more inclined to stay in their roles.

People often tell us they feel like they’re in a straight-jacket, unable to offer ideas or honest feedback for fear of it putting a black mark against their name. Similarly, there are widespread comments that people feel like their appraisals are rushed and merely part of box-ticking process.

Whilst policy is key to compliance and risk mitigation, there needs to be a greater level of sincerity around policies. We have to take them more seriously instead of using them to simply satisfy legislative criteria.

I can still remember how fondly professionals spoke about their careers in the late 80s and 90s. Despite how far the construction industry has advanced, it doesn’t feel like workers these days have the same sense of team spirit and respect for each other.

There seems to be a worrying sense of disillusionment with how they’re treated, with company politics and what many consider to be overkill on process. Talented professionals feel stifled and that their roles are now less skilled with the growth of automation processes.

I knew many site engineers, site managers, quantity surveyors and the like who are now senior industry leaders. It seems the generation of yesteryear had a real appetite to progress, but these workers are now within a few years of retirement. As a general observation, I think those who have come through the industry in the last ten to fifteen years don’t have the same desires.

This is concerning as it poses a potential problem for sourcing future leaders and begs the question as to why people don’t want these roles. It’s highly unlikely they don’t want an increase in salary, bonuses and kudos. It’s more than likely they don’t want to deal with the complicated processes, backstage politics and blame culture that many perceive comes with career progression.

Towards the end of the 80s, late payment was rife. We still hear about poor payment issues today, which is leading to the same business failures we saw three decades ago. Payment has improved on the whole, but I feel it may have regressed in 2019. We talk about fair treatment and timely payment, but there are still behaviours that fly in the face of these principles.

Recruitment: The Success and Failures of the Industry

The recruitment industry has also evolved a great deal during my three decades in the business. When I first started out, recruitment was completely paper-based, and sales offices were smoke-filled dens of relentless, high-pressure sales activity. The role was purely phone–based and job boards were unheard of.

The way in which jobseekers look for new roles now has certainly changed. Over the last few years, I have witnessed the rise of job boards, applicant tracking systems, portals and social media — LinkedIn in particular. Previously, advertising was mostly confined to industry magazines, and anyone looking for a different job would need to look at adverts while on their tea-break.

In this digital age, I feel as though the sector has lost its perspective of what it means to be good at recruitment. I was taught recruitment from first principles, which means building up a profile of a person’s experience and aspirations through detailed face-to-face discussions.

We built trust with clients this way, as they knew we were doing our due diligence rather than just lifting profiles from social media or job boards. Today, this latter approach has sadly become all too common, and I feel it has created an inherent distrust of clients towards agencies.

There is no denying that technology is very much part of modern recruitment. I talk to many clients who are frustrated that they haven’t filled their roles when all they’ve done is placed an advert online. You don’t achieve the right results working like that, which is why we need more credible, connected recruiters who understand the industry and the people they are looking to find roles for.

Relationships are still key; they always have been and always will be. However, the skill of being able to make good judgement decisions based on knowledge and due diligence has been hugely diminished.

Technology should improve efficiency and enhance recruitment outcomes, but I think, unlike in construction, it has had an adverse effect, leading to a poorer service in general.

30 Years On — Achievements and Lessons

I’m proud to have survived 30 years in construction recruitment, and that I have stuck it out through three recessions. I’m also proud to have led two start-up recruitment businesses, one for a major player and one being my own, which has been a success for the last 18 years and counting.

I have retained many of my clients throughout my working life, and Harvey Lawrence’s repeat business levels with clients is currently running at 83%. You can only achieve results like that through hard work and adapting to an evolving industry.

Honesty has set my business apart, which goes a long way in explaining how we have formed so many lasting relationships with clients. In 18 years, we have only had one legal dispute, and we believe that our transparency is the reason why our clients put their trust in us.

Experience has taught me to keep my feet on the ground as I have seen first-hand how quickly things can change. This is partly why we are totally self-funded with a strong credit rating. My industry longevity has taught me to be prudent and cautious.

I underestimated how difficult managing a business could be at times. I didn’t factor in economic or legislative changes well enough, but I managed to get my head around the learning curve, which has led to my company thriving.

Both the construction and recruitment industries have seen positive changes over the 30 years, and I’m sure it will continue to improve. It will be interesting to see how culture and collaboration between parties will make strides towards ending conflict in the workplace.

It seems that the industry still has some work to do in creating a more conciliatory culture, one which is motivational for staff and the supply chain. However, the future looks bright, and as long as the industry is willing to adapt, we should achieve better results for all stakeholders involved.

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Wear and Tear: 9 Signs It’s Time to Replace Your Construction Equipment

They say all good things must come to an end. The same applies to construction equipment. Over time, all types of construction equipment may need to be repaired or even replaced. While everyone in the construction industry wants their equipment to last forever, the reality is, there will one day come a day where it’s time to let it go if it’s no longer working as it once had.

The catch, though, is that not all construction equipment deteriorates at the same rate. For instance, a bulldozer might have a lifespan of 60,000 hours, or it might give out at just 40,000 hours. How quickly a piece of construction needs to be replaced depends greatly on how often it is used and how well you care for it.

Because the time for replacement may not be so clear cut, it’s important to look for certain signs that it’s time to purchase new equipment. That said, consider the following to determine whether or not that time is now.

1.  It’s out of date.

Your mother might have kitchen tools that have been passed down for many generations. She may claim they still get the job done, but are they still relevant today? Are they as easy to use and as efficient as newer models? Chances are, there are replacements that are better on the market today.

The same goes with construction equipment. Especially when it comes to heavy machinery and tractors, having up-to-date equipment is an absolute must to get the job done as efficiently as your fellow competitors. Newer equipment may have modern features and tools that significantly help speed things up and get the job done easier than ever before.

2.  Repairing it costs too much.

When your equipment is coming across some problems, but it has the potential to be salvaged, you have to make the decision between fixing it or completely replacing it. Although it might seem like the better and more affordable option to fix it, repairing it may actually be more expensive, especially if multiple things are wrong with it.

When making the decision between repairing or replacing equipment, figure out if fixing it would cost 50% or more of the cost of purchasing new equipment. If so, then financially, it’s not worth repairing. Sure, newer equipment may still cost more, but there’s only so much you should be willing to re-invest back into a piece of malfunctioning equipment.

Apart from price, another thing to consider when deciding if you should repair or replace a piece of equipment is how much longer it’s expected to last. If you’ve been holding onto equipment for years past its lifespan and have a gut feeling that other things will start falling apart with it in the near future, a brand new or lightly-used replacement might be the better option.

3.  It doesn’t meet safety standards anymore.

No matter what anybody says, safety always comes first. Especially when you have employees other than yourself, it’s critical to have safe, quality equipment available. The last thing you want is for an employee to get seriously injured, which can result in a construction accident lawsuit and/or the loss of your employee with your company.

Working in construction is already dangerous, so why put your employees and yourself in greater danger by providing faulty, unreliable equipment? It’s equivalent to voluntarily swimming in shark-infested waters, hoping that you won’t get bit. Bad idea. Playing it safe with the right equipment is important if you want the best for your employees.

4.  It doesn’t work as quickly as it used to.

Speed is important for all jobs, especially when there are strict deadlines and impatient clients. Of course, you’ll also want your crew to work at a good pace if they get paid by the hour. However, construction equipment over time may start to slow down, affecting how much work can get done in a day, and in the long run, costing you more to keep your employees.

Although good things happen to those who wait, slow-to-operate equipment just has to be replaced. Not only will projects take significantly longer and prevent you from taking on new clients, but working with slower equipment can be incredibly frustrating for your crew. Your employees are less likely to be happy at work when they work with slow equipment.

By switching to newer, faster equipment, however, your crew will be more level-headed on the job, you can get projects done faster, and you will have a better chance of swooping up those big clients before one of your competitors does.

5.  The quality of work it provides is starting to suck.

Think of construction equipment like a knife. In the beginning, the knife is very sharp; it cuts through thick, fibrous steak like butter. However, the more you use it, the lower quality of work it provides. You may find yourself pressing harder and harder into a slab of steak with the same knife that once cut aimlessly.

If you find that your construction equipment is no longer providing the awesome job that it used to, and you know you’ve done everything possible to ensure it’s well-maintained, new equipment may be in order. Newer equipment can provide a quality of work that your old equipment may have never provided, even when it was new.

Sticking with equipment that doesn’t do that great of a job can waste a lot of time as, chances are, you’ll frequently need to be redoing the appalling initial work it provided. In turn, you may be left with impatient clients. And, if you deliver the low-quality project, your clients may never wish to work with you again.

6.  It’s difficult to use.

Sometimes, older equipment is more difficult to use than their modern counterparts. Some older equipment is heavier, has less features, requires more manual labor to utilize, and/or has too many confusing buttons or gears. Over time, equipment and machinery get more complex in terms of what it can do yet becomes more simple in terms of how you use it.

While equipment that’s a little more difficult isn’t always a bad thing and can still be used if others are familiar with how to operate it, sometimes difficult equipment can be irritating and, at times, may make a job take longer and/or cause your employees to physically or emotionally burn out fairly quickly.

7.  It’s not very ergonomic.

Working in construction is no cakewalk. It’s messy, labor-intensive, and hard on the muscular system. Although those working in this field can certainly learn the value of hard work, gain physical endurance, and become pretty toned in the process, aches and pains pretty common after work.

Apart from aches and pains, more serious consequences can arise from frequently bending down, climbing ladders, hammering, and engaging in other repetitive and physically laborious tasks while at work. Thus, strains, sprains, back problems, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, and rotator cuff tears are not uncommon with this type of work.

Ergonomics, however, stresses the importance of ensuring employees are less likely to deal with these issues on the job. In turn of having comfortable, ergonomic-friendly equipment and tools, your staff are less likely to take days off work for injury and more likely to stay working for you for a long time.

8.  It causes more trouble than help.

Is a piece of equipment you own starting to become more of a hassle than anything else? Is it constantly requiring repairs? Is it shutting down after short periods of time because it can’t handle the amount of work you need done? Even if this piece of equipment does help get the job done at times, if it requires constant repairs or attention, it’s not the equipment for you.

No matter how attached you are to certain equipment, learning to let go and find an adequate replacement when it no longer serves you or doesn’t give much in return is a very wise decision. In the long run, this can help the job get done quicker, reduce stress at work, and save you and your crew a lot of precious time.

9.  It’s well past its lifespan.

Although good care and infrequent use can allow some construction equipment to potentially last longer than its predicted lifespan, the older your equipment is, the more you should consider replacing it. Sure, it may still be in good working order, but are you completely sure it will continue to be reliable for, say, the next few months? It may or may not.

One of the reasons you may be holding onto old equipment is because you know how expensive it can be to purchase new equipment. However, by obtaining equipment from auctions, you have the potential to save big money. Bid now at to get affordable equipment for your construction company.


Construction equipment isn’t cheap. Although it’s designed to last quite a while, there will eventually be a time when your equipment will need to be replaced. Rather than continuing to use old, malfunctioning equipment, opting for new construction equipment can ensure both greater safety and efficiency on the job.

Thanks to the latter list, it will be clearer to determine whether or not your construction equipment will need to be replaced soon. While nobody will be enthused to have to fork out cash or a pesky loan to purchase new equipment, this may be the best thing you do for the future of your construction company in the long run.