Through the various halls and lots at the Las Vegas Convention Center, contractors from around the globe converged to see the latest in equipment, accessories, and services for the construction industry. Held once every 3 years, CONEXPO-CON/AGG delivered the goods, and based on my interactions with manufacturers, vendors, and contractors, the overall picture was positive and forward-looking, even with an awareness of domestic and international issues at the forefront of economic growth. These issues include legislative and regulatory pressures, increased taxation, and continued shortages in the labor market. Here’s what some equipment manufacturers are focusing on for 2014 and beyond. ■
John Deere introduced its new customer support solution, Ultimate Uptime, which is designed to improve customers’ profitability by maximizing productivity and uptime while lowering operating costs. Featuring John Deere WorkSight™, the solution is fully customizable to every customer and is delivered by John Deere dealers. “When we ask customers what they want from us, we hear one answer more than any other: uptime. Downtime hinders their productivity and reduces their profitability. So we created Ultimate Uptime to keep their fleet running and their productivity high,” says Mark Germain, director, customer and product support, John Deere Construction & Forestry. Final Tier 4 was also a hot topic as John Deere announced new Final Tier 4 motor graders and wheel loaders.
CASE Construction Equipment hosted a panel discussion to highlight the problems facing American infrastructure and what can be done to remedy the situation. The panel, moderated by Adam Snider, transportation reporter for Politico, featured Jim Oberstar, former U.S. Congressman and Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; Janet Kavinoky, executive director, transportation and infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Dan McNichol, author and infrastructure expert who just circumnavigated the country to survey America’s infrastructure and raise awareness to the need for investment/development; and Jim Hasler, vice president, CASE Construction Equipment. “This discussion was vital to not only the construction community, but to the American public as a whole,” says Jim Hasler, vice president, CASE Construction Equipment.
Liebherr held a press conference and breakfast at the show. According to Peter Mayr, president, Liebherr Construction Equipment Co., “Signs of an improving economy could be found in residential and commercial building, while niche market segments, waste and demolition in particular, realized better than expected growth. Late passage of a ‘long-term’ highway bill in 2012 was a positive sign; however, it was short lived. Political challenges, lingering unemployment, and slow GDP growth likely held back a more significant improvement in the general earthmoving market. We expect to see continued improvement within our segment [earthmoving and material handling] with growth in the range of 2 to 5 percent. In general, we are optimistic regarding the next several years.”
Caterpillar continues to focus on the customer experience. To meet that endeavor, Caterpillar introduced Cat® Connect, a new framework for construction technologies and services to help customers monitor, manage, and enhance operations and gain more control of jobsites. Using data from technology-equipped machines, customers get more information and insight into equipment and performance. In many cases, expanding the use of Cat Connect technologies only requires the addition of proprietary software, and in some instances, easily installed sensors or electronic components. In addition, a key commonality across most Cat Connect technologies is the web-based user interface, VisionLink®. By providing visibility to items like equipment location, status, availability, and health, VisionLink helps people in the office analyze information quickly to respond accordingly.
Modern Contractor Solutions, March 2014

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