CEWEF speakers advocate culture of change

By Helen Wright03 October 2012

The CEWEF panel - from left: Ulrich Hermanski, Topcon European sales and marketing director, Interna

The CEWEF panel - from left: Ulrich Hermanski, Topcon European sales and marketing director, International Construction editor Chris Sleight, Volvo CE senior vice president of strategy & business

After lively panel discussion and expert presentations at CEWEF in Brussels, Belgium, attendees heard the speakers agree that the industry need to embrace a forward-looking culture of change.

Over 130 senior industry figures from across the international construction industry were present at the event, which is a networking and discussion platform that took place on 1 and 2 October.

In his opening remarks, CEWEF president Thierry Schuermans said one of the aims of the event was to find answers to some of the industry's open-ended questions.

High profile speakers including Carl Lockwood, senior vice president of strategy and business development at Volvo Construction Equipment, and secretary general of the European Rental Association (ERA) Michel Petitjean, were among the speakers at the event.

Summing up the mood of the event, Carl Lockwood said, "A culture of change, driven from those at the top of the industry, is what we all need to embrace."

He highlighted current telematics trends and activities as a key "paradigm shift" for the industry.

"In the future, we could see machines operating in an automated production chain with zero unplanned stops and guaranteed uptime, with zero emissions for the complete life cycle of a machine, including production, and intelligent machines that function autonomously and highly efficiently, with zero accidents.

"Customers are changing, the markets are changing, technology is changing and competition is changing. We must change with the trends, "Mr Lockwood said.

Call for standardisation

Indeed, telematics was a hot topic at the event, and another major issue was highlighted by Mr Petitjean from ERA, who said the rental industry was calling for more standardisation.

"Many OEMs have implemented telematics to their lines of equipment, and it is very cumbersome to make rental equipment compatible with all of these. The rental market is calling for standardisation in some data feeds such as geo-fencing, immobilisation, safety devices and alerts."

The other CEWEF speakers were International Construction editor Chris Sleight, Babcock business development director Simon Purchon, Van der Vlist Transport business development manager Bart Witzier, and Topcon European sales manager Ulrich Hermanski.

Additional topics covered included a discussion of the trends and forecasts in the industry, asset management, logistics, site management, the rental market and a look at the future of the industry. The speakers also engaged in a lively panel discussion, and faced questions from the audience throughout the event.

Industry forecast

Attendees also heard a cautiously optimistic forecast for output in the global construction industry this year from iC editor Mr Sleight.

"Overall, we can expect to see +3.5% growth this year, fuelled by emerging markets, but held back, on the other hand, by the developed world - particularly Europe," said Mr Sleight.

Video footage from the event will be available on khl.com soon.

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