Welcome to the CEO’s Corner, where I hope I will have the opportunity to write as often as possible, about items that are on my mind or may be relevant in our industry. Firstly let me start off with stating that I’m not the typical Corporate suit and hopefully I never will be!!! I sort of see myself as a light hearted, “enjoy a good joke” and straight forward shooting kinda guy.
This is the first CEO’s Corner piece so it won’t look very pretty, I apologize already in advance for the grammar, most of the time these pieces will be written in the early hours of the morning “Monstered Up” (Did I mention I enjoy no hmmm… Love! Green Monster Energy Drinks @MonsterEnergySA) with very little sleep either on a plane or hopefully in bed, so bear with me :-).
The Future vs. The Old Ways ! Eeek! I’m personally still from the old guard and I therefore prefer the Old ways (Analogue) of doing things yet I’m forced to adapt to the new ways (Digital), which I guess has been inevitable for all of us one way or another. Question: how fast is this moving and can we keep up?
I made a decision about two years ago to transform GAST from it’s 60 years (Analogue) old ways without losing the essence and the successful actions to a new future ready (Digital) way. It’s been a tiresome journey to be honest, as I found various people within our industry (Construction, Waterproofing & Geosythetics) not to have the required skills and/or ambition to truly do those conversions. Maybe I asked them the wrong questions or didn’t really get my vision across, alas we were advised to speak to XYZ Software company or ZYX Software company, as this was the norm and everyone is using it! (Rolling my eyes, with a yawn) But the software of XYZ & ZYX companies were developed and their code was written in Egyptian Hieroglyphics and to the trained eye they are dinosaurs already in the digital age, yet that is the best you can get! I thought no, this can’t be and probably like we all do we start looking abroad to the West or the East for solutions, surely the Americans or the Chinese have found new and innovative ways!
To my surprise the answer was both Yes & No, there was some great software out there but not all encompassing, they just didn’t tick off all the boxes I needed, GAST is a bit of a hybrid company, we don’t specialize in just one field or one product or even under one industry. We are manufactures, suppliers, installers, advisers & consultants. How do you find software that does all of this, how do you find technology that makes our lives easier by automating elements, when you are so diversified?
So naturally we started testing new equipment, software, electronic things that go Boom! and others that were not really that impressive. 🙁
We eventually found, what we believe is a holistic approach to our business, forward thinking and prepares us as a Company for the future.
GAST has recently started it’s “digital conversion” incorporating advanced technologies i.e. Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Autonomous Yellow Plant and various other smaller tweaks and changes. You’re probably wondering what AI or what Drones or what Autonomous Yellow Plant is (Do these even exist?), I can categorically state that YES autonomous yellow plant does exist i.e. a Front Loader or a Grader as an example driving itself without any human intervention completing a task that was given to it by a Site Manager from a tablet…. Science Fiction you say Kevin!!!! Nope I’m afraid not and GAST is at the forefront of this breaking technology with more to come.
Speaking from a Waterproofing perspective imagine a future where you find a leak in your roof may it be residential, commercial or industrial. Now normally you would need to scour the internet for a service provider in your area, fight through a receptionist, sales representative, have the sales representative come out days later. Then fight to get a quote out of them only to realize they are too expensive. Yet your problem is not resolved. Now imagine finding your roof leaking, visiting GAST’s website, submitting your address and within the hour a Drone is hovering over your property taking high resolution images and measuring your roof and finding those leak points. Using AI technology, we can figure out where the leaks are originating from and while the drone is flying back it has already sent the images to the AI, the AI prepares the quote, a person signs off on the quote, thus from Start to Finish you have a competitive photographic engineered report & quote all within 2 hours of you clicking on the GAST website.
Just imagine that, soon we can build you a dam or assist with your earthworks without technically being on-site, work through the night, Saturdays, Sundays with little to no sick leave days (Site Manager might get the odd cold) but that is really it. The coming years and in a very short space of time this technology will get even better and probably mainstream at some point. GAST is heavily investing in this change, we are changing the way we support our customers to find more cost effective, safer and quicker methods to assist them, it’s here and it’s now, the Uber of Construction or the Tesla of Construction…. wonder what Elon Musk @elonmusk thinks about this?
GAST is delving deeper into these fields to make us faster, more efficient and more effective. If you can assist us or know of new tech in our fields please drop us a line so we can collaborate: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll it’s almost midnight, GAST just launched it’s new website, I’ve just attempted to write something half meaningful and hopefully insightful, good night friends, colleagues and competitors…… I shall leave you with a Meme (just because).
CEO – GAST GROUP