Equipment Type

Equipment Expertise, Part I

July 23, 2012

Rod Sutton is editorial director of Construction Equipment magazine. He is in charge of editorial strategy and writes a monthly column for the magazine, The Sutton Report. He has more than 30 years in construction journalism, and has been with Construction Equipment since 2001.

I spoke to the July 2012 Construction Equipment Management Program at Georgia Tech last week on the state of the profession. Since my presentation had been teed up by the Program’s founder and primary instructor, Mike Vorster, as a “commencement” address, I wanted to give attendees some applications to take with them: Three reasons their expertise will be needed in coming years.

Attendees ranged from seasoned managers to young (25 was the youngest), and included a couple of female managers, too. As I interacted with the group, I was encouraged by where the profession is heading.

After explaining my observations about The Waterboy Syndrome, I encouraged them to apply their equipment-management expertise in their organizations. The first area: emissions.

Two manufacturers, Navistar and JCB, provided timely examples of how the equipment professional’s expertise can help a fleet stay on top of emissions. How many fleet owners or senior managers were asking their equipment managers how many Navistar engines were in their fleet, responding to Navistar’s jettisoning of the Advanced EGR strategy? On the flip side, how many equipment professionals had been able to contribute to the truck-buying decisions over the past three years with knowledge about urea, SCR, DPFs, DOCs and Advanced EGR in order to make informed decisions?

Then JCB announced its new Ecomax engine, which it says can be recalibrated to run on regular sulfur fuel. Although not a major concern for fleets in North America, which have access to USLD, in five years this engine may provide an opportunity for fleets to sell used machines into areas of the world that do not need or have access to USLD.

Equipment professionals should also apply their expertise to internal discussions on whether to rebuild or repower machines in order to delay capital investments in Tier 4 equipment. Frames last decades; perhaps there is value in evaluating a rebuild program.

Finally, expertise can be applied to the overall acquisition strategy as it relates to emissions compliance. Rental firms are positioning themselves as suppliers of the latest machines, handling all the compliance paperwork themselves. That leaves the equipment-using organization free to focus on its core competency: construction.

Where else do you see opportunity for equipment pros to influence the emissions compliance strategies of their organizations? Add your comment below or email me.

Next time: Ignorance and wisdom.

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