This article was published in Asphalt Pavement Magazine. See the full article HERE.
Focus On The Field: Job Spotlight Meet Dennis Schaaf – Managing Director, PlantDemand
BY Asphalt Pavement Magazine
Dennis founded PlantDemand in 2015, when he started as the main developer on the project, collaborating with a team to perform user tests. PlantDemand is an online plant scheduling and forecasting software for the asphalt and aggregate industry. Created for plant operators, by plant operators, PlantDemand focuses on specific information needs for planning and running a plant. Over the years, Dennis has hired more employees to do the day-to-day development work so that he can spend more time prioritizing tasks, deciding what features to develop next, and reviewing designs, code, and technical decisions.
Q1 What has made this job different than any other job you have held?
I think the speed at which decisions are made. Also, the way that opinions are shared is fun and refreshing. Many meetings start with creativity, sharing of current topics in the development and design world and are also centered around the users’ needs. It is fun to see a request for improvement get designed, tested, iterated, tested, and released. Some of the team had been spread out prior to COVID shutdowns, so working remotely was already quite normal for us.
Q2 How does PlantDemand stay on the cutting edge of technology to ensure product innovation?
Our team is made up of leading developers in user interface and user experience design, and we spend a lot of time talking with our users to find out the tasks they must do. We then create a user journey and design around that. We are constantly trying to shave seconds off individual tasks, reduce non-essential effort, and create the most value to the other people on a plant operations team. Additionally, we continually train on the latest technical developments so that we can implement backend functionality improvements to keep speed, security, and operations up to date.
Q3 How is PlantDemand changing the asphalt pavement industry?
PlantDemand has helped connect the different people in a plant operation – from operators and superintendents to sales, foremen, quality control, and paving operations. Our customers have been able to add revenue to their operation by being able to see what is scheduled days, weeks, and even months out. Also, the added ability to see exactly what should be produced on the schedule helps remove ambiguity for the plant operator. The information on the calendar creates (through the mix designs) material needs from each supplier.
Q4 What do you see as primary challenges for asphalt contractors and what will be key to overcoming those challenges?
From an asphalt production standpoint, we have often heard our customers mention the difficulties in getting accurate schedules from their customers (paving crews). The solution might not be precise, as many factors change paving plans. But there is a slow behavioral change wherein paving customers are thinking and planning weeks or months ahead. This is critical to success.
Q5 What has been your most memorable moment in this role or on the job?
There are a few! User interviews are super rewarding because you get to see people’s unfiltered and honest reactions when they are using our tool. My favorite is when they say, “Oh my gosh, this is exactly what we needed.” Another special moment was the first time we did a company retreat. Team members from different countries came together to work on the new features and create a user journey with sticky notes on the window of our homestay
PlantDemand is an online plant scheduling and forecasting software for the asphalt and aggregate industry. Created for plant people, by plant people – it is an easy to use software that focuses on plant peoples’ specific information needs for planning and running their plant.
Plant teams can work using an online live sales calendar/forecast, share plant material needs with suppliers, and perform real-time data-analysis to improve the entire supply chain network — facilitating communication and detecting issues before they happen.
Available for your desktop computer, and on your iOS or Android phones.
For more information, visit: https://plantdemand.com
Contact: Paulina Schaaf ・Communications Lead ・firstname.lastname@example.org