Tempting showcase

04 March 2008

SC&RA is proud to be among more than 85 supporting industry organisations from around the world expected to participate in the ConExpo-Con/Agg exhibition, 11-15 March in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. If you want to learn about our industry's latest equipment, products, services and technologies, this is the event for you.

Held every three years, the 2005 exposition became the largest US trade show ever in terms of attendance and exhibit space. This year's exposition stands to be even bigger. More than 2,000 exhibitors will span 2.1 million net square feet (195,090 square metres). Attendance should surpass 125,000.

If this all seems a little overwhelming, keep in mind that most of the crane and transport related exhibitors will be outdoors in the Gold Lot's Trucks, Utilities and Lifting areas. Just look for the crane booms. At least 10 companies from SC&RA Allied Industries Group will be exhibiting equipment in this area alone.

Of course, a great place to start is SC&RA's booth. You will find us at L-3214. In addition to sharing information about exciting new developments in our organisation, we can help direct you to the booths of specific SC&RA members. When you are making purchasing decisions, we encourage you to consider SC&RA companies first because of all they do to support the industry.

Seeing so much bright, shiny, new equipment can be very tempting. SC&RA members who typically attend equipment expositions suggest their primary challenge is to balance the urge to purchase new equipment with other significant factors, such as current equipment inventory, the debt being serviced on that equipment, the scope of projects underway and further down the pipeline, and projections about the likelihood of securing new jobs on the horizon.

The balancing act is complicated by today's volatile economic conditions. As I write this, the stock market is taking a hit in the United States. Stock markets from other nations are feeling the fallout.

In response, the U.S. Federal Reserve Board Reserve slashed the fed funds rate from 4.25% to 3.5%. This should help stimulate the lending environment and is likely to prompt even more short-term volatility in the markets.

Who knows what economic conditions will prevail next week – much less when this column is published in mid February. Despite the uncertainty, overall conditions remain positive for our industry. Although the housing market continues to suffer, the outlook for heavy commercial construction in our niche appears favourable for 2008, with generally positive signs for 2009.

The trick is to avoid being caught in a down market with an overabundance of equipment still being financed. Experience has proven repeatedly that companies owing very little are most likely to survive economic downturns and be positioned to thrive quickly after the rebound.

Still, this might be the optimum time for you to purchase new equipment. Has your old equipment simply worn down to the point where repairs no longer make sense from a standpoint of safety or profitability? Are lucrative jobs becoming available that you cannot successfully undertake with your existing equipment? Do new crane, truck and trailer designs provide ease-of-operation and efficiencies that might help margins and help you retain valued drivers, operators and riggers?

Only you can answer such questions. If you decide you are in the market for specific equipment, ConExpo-Con/Agg will offer a wealth of information you need to reach the right decisions on equipment and technology. On the spot, you may be able to make side-by-side comparisons on price, availability, service, reliability, features, and more.

Most of the exhibitors are eager to help you make informed decisions. They know if you are pleased with your purchase, other purchases are likely to follow in the years ahead. Plan to do more listening than talking, ask plenty of questions – and enjoy the process.

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