Traditional manufacturers may not be thinking big enoughBy Al Cervero, AEM Senior Vice President, Construction, Mining & Utility  

What is keeping the traditional construction equipment business from thinking big?

I am reviewing technology submissions for the Tech Experience at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017. So far, some are just old school, some are mildly innovative and a few are moving forward at great speed.

BUT, by contrast, what we are seeing and acquiring for the Tech Experience from academia and new-to-market folks are some incredibly WOW ideas.

So I ask myself again, what is keeping the traditional construction equipment business from thinking big?

Let’s be honest – if we are to survive and thrive as an industry, we must find ways to achieve growth of 10 times versus 10 percent. WOW thinking needs to focus on exponential growth, not next quarter growth.

I wonder how many in our industry are considering new, independent thinking bodies at their organizations? Or giving staff one day a week to work on what they think could exponentially change the industry? Who has a Google X department? Why not?

Are you inspiring, are you linking with schools, are you encouraging failure?  Are you looking to millennials and new hires for fresh ideas? (I am continually impressed with a couple of interns we are putting to work here at AEM on new thinking projects.)

How much would it cost to create an evolving think tank of diverse folks in your midst?  Think different:  interns, part-time at-home mothers/fathers, retirees, etc. What do they know?  Maybe nothing about your traditional way of doing business.  Could that be the point?

Have you tasked anyone to research the many mobile apps on the horizon to see how your company may fit in?  Have you challenged your organization with creating an app to make your customers’ lives simpler or grow your company revenue by 10 times?  And reward them handsomely for the idea?

I hope I am wrong. I hope much is occurring behind the curtains on innovation within our traditional industry members and that greatness is lingering just beyond next year.  So I have a challenge for all of you and it is twofold:

  1. Enlighten me by submitting your company's proposal for an industry-changing technology. Submitted proposals will be evaluated and voted on by a panel of outside experts for inclusion in CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s Tech Experience
  2. If your company has a game-changing cultural innovation, philosophy or activity that seeks 10 times growth, and you’re willing to share it at AEM's Annual Conference, let's talk.

Don't miss the next 10 years, think 10x!