I’ve attended the World of Concrete trade show the last three years, and each time has been very different. In 2010 following the economic downturn, there was not much new being shown to attendees. All the main construction machine manufacturers – Cat, Case, Deere, Volvo and Bobcat – were there, but showed little new products relevant to the concrete industry. Booth traffic was slow and there were very few real conversations with customers about purchasing equipment.
When the 2011 show rolled around, we expected it to be like 2010, especially with ConExpo coming in March. Most of our competitors had the same type of displays, and not much new to show. At the Cat display, we were excited to launch the new 259B Compact Track Loader and have a wheel saw in the booth for the first time. Traffic at the show and the number of customers stopping by our booth were up slightly, but what was more important was the quality of the conversations. Customers were telling us they had survived, and were optimistic about the future.
At the 2012 show, not only did Caterpillar stand out from our competition, the dialogue was fresh. While our competitors had scaled back their booths significantly, we were there with a lot to display and talk about, including seven new products showing a complete line up of Tier IV Interim products. Customers seemed to have work coming in, and we had some great discussions about the importance of Tier 4 Interim. Everyone seems to understand that change is coming and that there is cost associated with it. We talked about how our products will bring value in terms of greater productivity, fuel efficiency and overall cost of ownership.
Overall, I thought the tone was the most optimistic it’s been in a few years, with people talking about projects in the pipeline and the machines they need to buy. Were you there? What did you notice about this year’s event? I would like to hear your thoughts on the WOC 2012.
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