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Modern cloud services enable Thomas Concrete to be the best in a traditional industry


Thomas Concrete is a concrete specialists who supply high-quality ready mix concrete in the USA, Germany, Sweden and Poland. Thomas Concrete has seen steady growth in its long history. Their vision is to be perceived as being the best in the industry.


Behind our success are strong partners like Microsoft and Knowit. We work on building our Team Thomas, and we see Knowit as an extension to our team.

Lennart Björnström, CIO

Thomas Concrete Group AB

Digitalization enables transparency and efficiency

Thomas Concrete has worked with Knowit for several years to gain a digitalization advantage in an industry that is traditionally anything but.

– The whole construction industry is far behind other industries in productivity, and lack of digitalization is one of the reasons for it. We have chosen to see this as an opportunity for us to drive the development of our industry, not just in concrete but in construction in general, Björnström says.

By providing digital services to their customers, Thomas Concrete can excellently boost their productivity. They achieve this by reducing paper flow, giving customers real-time insights into how the projects are progressing, when deliveries are coming in, and how the whole supply chain is working.

This transparency was not there before. Digitalization gives insight and understanding and naturally creates savings when the construction process is more efficient. That also makes savings in transportation, which is an important sustainability effort.

We compete with small local players that are very close to customers, and also large material suppliers that are sometimes both our suppliers and also competitors. To succeed in this competition, we want to be seen as the best. Digitalization is one key component, and sustainability is basically the other.

Lennart Björnström

Thomas Concrete Group AB

IoT brings concrete expertise to customers

Thomas Concrete is a concrete specialist and is seen as an expert in making concrete in a sustainable way, with a formula that has a smaller CO2 footprint. Now they can extend their value chain by offering their skills to customers in a new way: by providing them with insight into how the product performs.

For instance, together with Knowit, Thomas Concrete has built sensor technology connected to cloud solutions that give insight into how the concrete is hardened. That is something that one usually can’t know, but now the customer can see how far the concrete has hardened from a mobile phone.

This insight saves time and money and is a huge step to be more sustainable, as heating, drying, and all the machinery required for these steps can be optimized.

We are providing services to our customers to make their day easier by providing them with some of our knowledge in concrete. Currently, we are working on a prediction service that can tell when, in the future, you as a customer can move to the next phase in your construction, Björnström explains.

Azure Virtual Desktop unites tools and employees

In certain areas, Thomas Concrete has to work with industry-specific ERP systems. The tools built for the construction industry are not always technically advanced, but they provide a lot of business capabilities unique for the industry.

To get the best out of these tools, Thomas Concrete decided to move all its systems to a public cloud environment. They chose Microsoft Azure as the cloud platform, and they are making use of many of the built-in services that it provides. The industry-specific tools are now accessible from anywhere, even on mobile devices, through Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD).

Thomas Concrete has already moved to Microsoft Azure worldwide. In the USA, where about half of Thomas Concrete’s business is, their operationally critical ERP was migrated to Azure using Windows based service infrastructure and Microsoft SQL Server databases. The client application was successfully installed in Azure Virtual Desktop even when the previous environment had not had the same service in use. The group has a little over 2000 employees and close to 200 sites, out of which 160 are production facilities. Cloud and AVD now allow all the employees spread across this network to access the same tools with a very light installation. That drives accessibility and mobility to the entire workforce, the Team Thomas. Harmonising how people work brings them closer and enables better communication with colleagues even in different locations. Sharing best practices is also now easier.

- Microsoft actually turned us to Citrix in 2018 as they didn’t have anything similar to offer, but we went back to them when they brought out AVD. Now AVD is a core component to our operations, and it has also brought cost savings, as Citrix was just another tool on top of everything else, and now we can use the built-in services that AVD has, Lennart Björnström says.

Working with new technologies requires strong partnerships and open communication

As an experienced Microsoft Solutions partner, Knowit had already familiarised with Azure Virtual Desktop in the beta testing phase. Nevertheless, it was a new technology, and it is not always easy to find customers who are willing to be the first ones to implement a new tool as there is naturally some risk involved.

We started working with AVD with Thomas Concrete right when it was launched. Fortunately, in this case, the technology turned out to be very mature. From early on, we saw that this would enable us to integrate everything that Thomas Concrete is doing, unlike with Citrix, which was a separate tool. Now we also have more opportunities to handle cybersecurity and make sure that there are no disruptions to business. At least in the Nordics, we were one of the first ones, if not the first one to adopt this, says Riku Kovalainen, Client Manager at Knowit.

Cloud technologies develop every day, bringing out new tools all the time. In this sense, working with the cloud means constantly working with new technologies. Thomas Concrete’s digitalization agenda is ambitious, but they see the cloud, IoT, artificial intelligence, and machine learning as keys to being the best in the industry.

– Behind our success are strong partners like Microsoft and Knowit. We work on building our Team Thomas, and we see Knowit as an extension to our team. There is always a risk when working with new technologies, but the key to success is our open relationship, where we share challenges openly. There are bumps in this journey, and you can only be successful when you have an open relationship and discuss things openly. That is the only way when you are working in new tech, Lennart Björnström says.

How the solution contributes to Agenda 2030

Goal 9, industry, innovation, and infrastructure: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation


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