Pave Wiser with Pavewise
Although Pavewise was first released in early 2023, the asphalt paving project management software has been years in the making. For years, former Paving Consultant Bryce Wuori tracked data across the hundreds of paving projects he consulted on.
“I was almost obsessed with data,” Wuori said. “I was tracking details with the contractors, seeing causes and effects, and using that information to mitigate risk next time. I’d present them with the data I gathered and be able to show them why a project didn’t go like they wanted it to.”
Over the years, he honed his methods, isolated the most useful data to track, and tested his results on his consulting jobs. “I’ve been testing this with beta contractors for four years without even knowing I was building a software,” he said.
When Wuori stopped consulting, his former customers would frequently ask for access to the software, but it was previously only ever something Wuori himself used and it was not user-friendly. Then, in December 2022, Wuori decided to build out a fully fledged software solution, and Pavewise was born. “Now, it can help so many more people than what it could before,” he said.
In 2022, Pavewise was tested on two projects and in 2023 will be implemented on more than 38 projects. One of the first projects managed by Pavewise in 2022 was a $23 million job where the contractor was able to pave 82 lane miles without a single grind in tandem paving.
“The contractor made over $350,000 in density and ride incentives in three months of paving,” Wuori said. Ultimately, the contractor estimates that Pavewise assisted the company in producing more than a million dollars in improved efficiency, incentives, and enhanced project scheduling procedures. “After running the software on a handful of projects in 2022, I didn’t even have to sell it to them. They wanted to run the software on all their active 2023 projects.”
“If contractors can identify the cause and effect of paving projects this assists them in being more profitable and ultimately builds a higher quality asphalt road as well.”—Bryce Wuori
The Wisdom Behind Pavewise
The cloud-based subscription software solution, accessible via computer or smartphone/tablet applications, was built specifically with the asphalt contractor in mind. “There are all kinds of great programs, but many of them aren’t concentrating on a single industry,” Wuori said—unlike Pavewise. “The primary focus of Pavewise is its ability to investigate the causes of asphalt contractors’ biggest issues—lost time, money and quality. If contractors can identify the cause and effect of paving projects this assists them in being more profitable and ultimately builds a higher quality asphalt road as well.”
The core of Pavewise is a series of decision engines Wuori has developed based on his 16 years of experience with asphalt paving.
Like most features in the app, the weather recommendations are based on an automated decision engine Wuori built based on his expertise. “A 70-degree day with 0-10 mph wind makes for perfect paving conditions,” he said. “But as you deviate from that in terms of temperature, wind, etc., that can affect your project efficiencies and the quality incentives for that project.”
“I know what a 30 mph wind or a 40-degree day will do to a project’s efficiencies,” Wuori said, estimating efficiency to drop by 10 to 20% in 30 mph winds. Pavewise feeds hyper local, 95% accurate weather data, via OpenWeatherMap, into the decision tree to show contractors how much efficiency may be lost (or gained) based on the weather.
Knowing that information can help contractors black out rain days to prevent crews waiting for bad weather to clear up and also to work longer hours on days where they anticipate higher efficiency as a result of optimal weather conditions. Or, for contractors with multiple crews across several towns, this can guide them to move people and equipment as needed to optimize efficiency and minimize downtime.
When poor weather is expected, Pavewise sends out a proactive text to the user in the field two hours ahead of the inclement weather and makes recommendations based on the expected conditions. For example, in the event of high winds, Pavewise might recommend increasing plant temperatures, reminding contractors to cover trucks, tighten up the rolling pattern or add a ¼-dose of compaction aid. “It’s a proactive way to identify what’s coming and what can be done to optimize conditions to return to the highest efficiency possible,” Wuori said.
Although the user must input data such as working days completed by project, tons placed and tons remaining, daily tonnage needed to finish the job on time, and where the crew is compared to the bid and incentive goals, Pavewise tracks this data and also sends notifications when desire doesn’t match reality.
“If you bid a project at 300 tons per hour but you’re only getting 250, the system will send a text notification to that project manager and suggest they make a change,” Wuori said. “It’s a way to let them know something needs to change or else they’re going backwards and losing money.”
In the event that a supervisor or project manager doesn’t have the skill set or knowledge to solve the problems on his or her own, Wuori also offers individualized recommendations via Pavewise Elite, where users can buy credits that can be used to request one-on-one assistance.
“I’ve seen the same things happen over and over again in the field,” Wuori said. “But if you haven’t yet acquired that knowledge, or if you want a second opinion, this can help get a contractor through that challenge.”
With Pavewise Elite, the user supplies photos, videos, mix designs, etc. and Wuori or one of his vetted paving experts will work with the customer to resolve the issue. “We can look through everything and help them navigate that issue, whether that’s setting up the paver with automation, changing the rolling pattern, or troubleshooting a new technology,” Wuori said.
A recent example was a paving job at an airport in South Dakota where the contractor struggled to achieve compaction. “They’d failed four test strips before reaching out to us,” Wuori said. Once they sent over videos of their rolling pattern, he immediately knew what the issue was: all steel-drum rollers. “On a P209 aggregate base, you need a rubber tire roller to compact it from the bottom up to get 94% density.”
“I’ve been in that exact situation, where I was managing a crew paving at an airport and we didn’t have a rubber tire roller and we struggled hard to get density,” he said. With Wuori’s recommendations, the crew was able to achieve density and passed its fifth and final test strip.
Much of the interest in Pavewise Elite, Wuori said, relates to pre-paving plans. For example, requesting guidance for a particular job with a joint density spec or ride spec. “A lot of Pavewise Elite aims to fix a problem before it costs a company time or money,” he said. “That’s the whole goal behind Pavewise in general: to be proactive.”
An AI Future
From the very beginning, Pavewise has been built on a machine learning platform. “[My developers] said the concept was so similar to a machine learning model software with the way I’d built my decision engines from the very beginning,” Wuori said. “And that’s how we continue to build it in the future.”
By the third generation of the app, Wuori thinks the platform “is going to be running as a project manager’s full time assistant,” he said, “making decisions, reviewing past projects, giving recommendations on logistics and paving, tracking production and efficiency.”
In the future, Wuori hopes to integrate truck and plant logistics solutions into the software “to make it as frictionless as possible,” he said.
“If we increased the quality of the entire asphalt industry in the U.S. by 5%, that would amount to billions of dollars and years of road longevity and quality for the traveling public,” Wuori said. “If this software can help do that for 5-10% of the industry, then it will have done what we hoped it would.”
Health Diagnostics Center
“Employee health is huge,” Wuori said. “I know what it’s like to be burned out working 90-hour weeks running these crews in high-stress environments.”
That’s why he created the Health Diagnostics Center within Pavewise, scheduled for release by the end of summer 2023. The wellness tool sends a text message to every crew member during every shift, requesting them to rate how satisfied they are with their job on a scale of one to 10. The answers are logged in the system and fed through a decision tree.
If an employee selects eight or higher, Pavewise initiates no action. If an employee selects between three and seven a certain number of times within a set period of time, the system sends a notification to the project manager to take action. If an employee selects anything less than three at any time, a notification will be sent to the manager recommending immediate corrective action.
“Maybe that person needs some time off, or there’s a pressing issue that needs to be resolved, or they’re struggling with a mental health issue,” Wuori said. “Keeping employees is a big issue in this industry. The Health Diagnostics Center is all about making a change before someone quits.”
On one of the 2022 Pavewise pilot projects, Wuori estimates the Health Diagnostics Center saved five employees from quitting. “They were checked in averaging a seven to 10 and when they checked in at a zero to two, they were ready to quit that day,” Wuori said. After the employees’ responses reached the threshold to notify the project manager, the PM was able to take action. One person had some personal problems and needed some time off; another person was struggling to get along with a crew member and needed to be moved to a different position. “They were ready to quit, and now that person is in a leadership position at the company.”
Wuori said in his experience the text message system works better than asking face-to-face. “The fact that this is a digital solution helps them speak their mind without any pressure,” Wuori said. “This gives them a chance to share their feelings in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re showing weakness.”
The system gives the employee a chance to include additional comments with their daily ratings, and in the future, Wuori said Pavewise might also include suggestions for how to resolve common issues.
“A lot of people don’t realize the happiness of the employee directly affects the quality of the job,” Wuori said. “When an employee is not happy or satisfied with their work this can lead to distractions and/or safety issues for them and their crew members. If they have a negative attitude or do not care about the environment they are working in we have the obligation to remove them from that opportunity or correct the opportunity.”