The Customer’s Viewpoint

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Cement Customer’s Viewpoint

Who are our customers?

What quality requirements do they have?

What value do our customers attribute to cement performance?


The most important person in the cement manufacturing process is the customer.

Failure to meet the needs and requirements of the customer will eventually lead to the decline of the cement industry and cement being replaced by alternative construction materials.

Who are our customers/users?

Ready-mix concrete producers

Concrete product manufacturers (precast)

Builders merchants/ package distributors/ retail agents

General construction companies


Concrete Product


Why do they buy our product?

Concrete is

Strong in compression



o  Design into architecturally pleasing shapes

oVersatile, of low maintenance and  long-life.

Stable in volume

Can be made with “low tech natural” resources


What are  customers primary  usage quality needs?

Water demand (workability)



Bag quality and bag size

Service and reliability of supply


What are  customers usage quality needs? Ready Mix Concrete

Proper workability for application

28-day strength

Consistent/predictable 7- 28d strength growth

Good performance with additions such as slag, fly ash or pozzolana

Compatibility with concrete admixtures

(Alklies content)

What are  customers usage quality needs?
Precast products

More diverse than ready mix

Dependant on market segment (blocks, tiles…)

Many of the same requirements


Early strength (compressive & flexural)


Fineness/ particle size grading

What are  customers usage quality needs?
Bagged users

Pack presentation/ stability/weight

Long shelf life (no lumps)

Consistent colour

Ease of use by builders/ trade specialists (concrete, mortar, rendering, plastering, screed)

Water demand

Water demand/workability

  • The higher the water demand of a given cement, the poorer the performance from the customer’s viewpoint.
  • The additional water required to achieve an acceptable workability reduces the strength of concrete requiring a compensating increase in cement content.
  • This increases concrete costs.

Water demand and Strength



Early strength – especially for concrete product market

Late strength

Strength growth

Strength consistency

Cement strength variability

Typical distribution curve

Cement Strength Variability

Customer Data

I MPa drop = 6 kg/m3 more cement needed

Reactivity with additions


Fly Ash



Silica fume – specialist, expensive

Cost and quality of service

The technically best cement in the world is of no commercial value if:

It is too expensive to make and sell

There is no continuity of timely supply 

There is poor technical information on its use


  • Above all, the consistency of the usage qualities are of prime importance to the end user.
  • A cement of moderate strength but low variability is “better and more cost effective” for a customer than a high strength cement of high variability.
  • Customers, particularly the high volume users, invariably rank cements on this basis.

Secondary Customer Usage Quality Needs

  • Although described as secondary quality needs, these are also important to the customer.
  • Any one of the following properties can markedly influence the customer to purchase a given cement as opposed to the competitors “super quality” cement.
  • It must be realised that each of these customers may have significantly different requirements.

Secondary Customer  Usage Quality Needs

Temperature of cement

Setting time

Heat of Hydration

Storage properties

Chemistry requirements e.g. C3A, minor elements

Cement Performance in Customer Mixes


  • The needs and expectations of the customer must be met for the plant and the industry in general to thrive.
  • The customer has many diverse requirements of cement, many of them conflicting.
  • It is the responsibility of the marketing and sales team to relay these requirements to the production team who must strive to meet as many as is practicable.
  • Go beyond Natural standard requirements!

To go beyond National standard requirements!

Quality must track usage quality parameters that are important to our customers

We will begin to enhance our knowledge on products’ performance

Using more and more usage quality parameters




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