An Interview with...

By Staff | September 28, 2010

AEMP is honored to welcome Komatsu America Corp (KAC) as one of its newest AEMP Partner for Growth members. Komatsu started marketing its products in the U.S. in the 1960s, and established North American operations in 1970. Today, Komatsu is the second-largest fully integrated manufacturer and supplier of construction equipment in North America, employing approximately 2,000 people.

Komatsu manufactures and markets a full line of integrated construction equipment from the smallest compact construction size to the largest mining size. The company's product line includes hydraulic excavators, wheel loaders, crawler dozers, off-highway trucks, motor graders, skid steer loaders, tractor loaders and backhoe loaders. All KAC groups are supported by Komatsu Parts and Service and can be financed through Komatsu Financial.

AEMP spent some time visiting with Ed Powers, Vice President & General Manager of the Construction Marketing Division North America.

AEMP: What motivated Komatsu America to become an AEMP Partner for Growth?

Ed: Many of the topics and areas of concern that AEMP is addressing are the same ones on which we are focused. AEMP is a good conduit between distribution, OEMs and end-users, especially when it comes to dealing with important industry issues that will impact all of us. We joined the association to assist us in getting a better understanding on today's industry challenges; how Komatsu is addressing these issues and as a result of AEMP's member footprint we have an opportunity to receive feedback directly from the market/end-users.

AEMP: What specific industry issues is Komatsu America focused on?

Ed: We are very focused on the “lifecycle cost analysis” which is a key decision-making tool in today's industry.

As we are all aware, the shortage of qualified personnel at many levels in our industry is a major concern. We are pleased AEMP is addressing this issue, offering scholarships and working with universities to improve the situation, and working on effective ways to recruit and retain personnel.

We are also paying close attention to the new, more stringent emissions regulations and how they will impact our business. Requirements will vary between states, and everyone in the industry needs to be aware of all the various regulations that will exist. We want to be as proactive as possible in support of those customers who maybe negatively affected. I am pleased to know this key concern is on the top of AEMP's list and that the association is assembling a focus committee specializing in this area serving as a facilitator in keeping all members updated and well informed as each states legislation is enacted.

AEMP: You mentioned recruiting more students into the equipment management profession. Can you tell us more about that?

Ed: We currently offer a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, and subsidize the cost of a college education jointly with our distributors. We work to recruit students into the program, and in the near future we plan to extend scholarship offerings to various other Universities. As an extension of our mission, our distributors and now AEMP will support our efforts toward recruiting interested young talent into our profession. The AEMP recruiting process this will allow us to touch a larger base of potential people to educate and develop about our industry.

AEMP: Any other issues that you see challenging the industry in coming years?

Ed: Yes, I'm interested in the compatibility of GPS systems. This technology has revolutionized our business and we have yet barely scratched the surface of what is yet to come. With today's rapid growth of this technology there are so many different types of software and streams of retrievable information that are not compatible with one another. If you want to utilize various manufacturers' GPS systems into a mixed fleet, you're setting yourself up for a huge headache.

The commonality of data and software is a problem, and there needs to be a solution to make different systems more compatible and easier to integrate. AEMP will aid in this effort to build a consensus when it comes to developing industry standards for interoperability.

AEMP: Any closing thoughts concerning Komatsu America's affiliation with AEMP?

Ed: We're all in this together, whether you're from an OEM, dealer or end-user side of the business. It all comes down to relationships, and in reality it's a family. We may compete in the marketplace, but we all are impacted by the same critical issues. AEMP provides us the opportunity to work together as one team and a voice for the industry.

AEMP: Ed, thank you for your time, and for Komatsu America's support of AEMP and the profession.