Do Your Homework

April 10, 2013

Sponsored Blog

I heard that a lot growing up. As it turns out, my folks were right. Doing your homework helps you make informed, confident decisions... especially when taking the plunge into something you’re not familiar with... like the world of construction software, machine control and site positioning technology.

If you are interested in construction technology, but don’t know where to start your homework, here are some good information sources:

• A very good place to begin is talking with your friends and acquaintances that have already started using the technology. They should give you the straight story, warts and all.

• There are also some web-based discussion groups with technology forums that can be helpful... but keep in mind that these are just opinions from anonymous contractors.

• Construction publications are another excellent research source... but some are more credible than others. The pubs that feature articles and editorial about technology rather than all equipment advertising and new product announcements will be your best sources.

• Although they may be biased towards a specific brand, your heavy equipment machine dealer typically already knows your company and your team, which is important in giving good advice.  However his focus will of course be on machine control technology, and less on surveying tools and office software that as a complete set allow you to realize significant productivity gains and business benefits. 

• Trade shows are an excellent place to talk to both manufacturers and users. You can see the full scope of construction technology by attending a show like CONEXPO-CON/AGG, or you can attend shows that are more specific to trades such as World of Asphalt.

• If you really want to get a feel for what the technology can do for you and where it is going, you should think about attending Trimble Dimensions. This is the premier global event for construction positioning technology, with over 3,000 people attending the last one. The focus is education and training, and it features hands-on demonstrations at a “job site” with machines of every kind, site positioning products, and real time network communications that show just what is possible today... and will be possible tomorrow.

• And of course, your best source of information is still going to be your local construction technology dealer. As they take the time to understand your business needs, the type of work you do, and your team, and then educate you on the different types of technology, what you need to get going, and what you can expect in terms of return on investment... you’ll get a good sense of who you’re dealing with.  After all, you’re not just investing in technology. You’re also investing in a partnership with an organization that will be there when you need advice, support, training, loaners, etc. So it is important do your homework on the people you’re dealing with, not just the gear you’re buying.

You can read many stories about why and how customers made the decision to implement technology, and what their experience has been, at

About the Author

Johan Smet

Johan Smet is Director of Technology Consulting and Services for Trimble’s Heavy Civil Construction Division. He joined Trimble in 2004 as Director for the Construction Division. Johan holds an Engineering degree from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.