Asphalt is a tricky substance. Its chemical properties change when it’s too hot, and it’s difficult to compact when cold. The second scenario is the more common problem in Canada, so McAsphalt Industries introduced an additive that enables its customers to make paving asphalt even when it’s freezing outside. This new technology extends the paving season by an entire month in colder places like Manitoba. “We’re always coming up with better-performing products, and that’s key to our success,” says Kelly Carrick, executive vice-president.
The Toronto-based company also pioneered new asphalt products to prevent wheel ruts and a sealant made from recycled rubber tires that treats cracked pavement. At McAsphalt, innovation is certainly top of mind, helping the manufacturer and distributor swell to two offices (the other is just outside Calgary) and 21 terminals across Canada.
These innovations solve real problems for clients. Government, commercial and private businesses have seized on the company’s superior asphalt products since its founding in 1970; indeed, the firm’s customer-first ethos started with late founder John Carrick, father of Kelly and president John Carrick Jr. Today, its success comes in part from making good on its snappy catchphrase of providing products “on time, on spec, safely.”
To make sure it’s delivering on this promise and exceeding expectations, and to identify areas for improvement, McAsphalt sends out satisfaction surveys to customers every year. The company consistently gets full points for communicating effectively and offering prompt responses to questions and complaints. This is an impressive feat for a business that faces a frantic seasonal rush from May to December. “We’re basically working 25 hours, eight days a week, but we still listen to the customer because it’s how we can offer the most value,” says John Carrick Jr.
Problems are fixed in a timely fashion thanks to department managers who monitor key performance indicators, like truck delivery times and batch quality. If anything starts to go awry, it’s flagged immediately. As a result, a customer complaint that comes in at 11 a.m. about a late shipment can be rectified before day’s end. “We think we’re better at satisfying our customers than our competition are,” says John. “That’s not just lip service.”