Technology Training One Workflow

4 Steps Before Deciding What Works Best for You

Editor’s Note: When a new technology is introduced to the market, you can’t help but think, “will this give me a competitive advantage?” Unfortunately, the answer won’t come from the sales person or tech expert you’re contacting.  Only you can determine whether a technology is the right solution for the challenges you face.

Tauhira Ali, senior manager of construction technology at Milwaukee Tool is speaking about this very situation at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in March. She says that your competitive advantage does lie within construction technology, but there are certain steps you have to take in order to tap into this advantage. If you would like more information about Tauhira or her session, please feel free to reach out.

Attend the education session “Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Construction Technology” on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. Register now

It happens more and more now. A new technology is introduced to the market and you think, “Will this give me a competitive advantage?” The answer won’t come from a salesperson, tech expert or trade magazine. Only you can determine whether a technology is the right solution for the challenges you face. Here are some steps to take before investing resources in technology that you think will give you a competitive advantage.

1. IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM

“Before you can solve a problem, you need to identify it,” says Tauhira Ali, Senior Manager of Construction Technology at Milwaukee Tool. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your  current workflow and how will this change in the future? How do your processes compare with the competitive environment you’re working in?

Chances are that your challenge doesn’t exist in a silo so don’t keep your problem-solving effort in one either. Is it a process challenge? Equipment management? Productivity? Safety? Ali suggests empowering employees to better understand innovation and share their insights.  In that way you are more likely to find solutions that employees want to work with. “Focus on people and tasks. Know who you are and what you need,” she says.

2. INVESTIGATE

After you’ve identified the problem, start investigating. Technology solutions are rarely bought off the shelf these days. You need to get educated on products and solutions. Fortunately, there are many sources of information on the Internet including articles, podcasts, videos. “Find the leading suppliers in your market and invite them to help you solve your particular problem. Be vocal about what you want,” Ali says. “You are the customer, explain your needs. Tell them what your deal breakers are. While you are learning from them, they are learning from you.”  

Construction technology startup companies received $1.05 billion in investment from venture capitalists in the first half of 2018, a record high. Startups and well established companies can introduce you to something you are unaware of such as wearables to improve safety or the latest in drone technology. Convey your high standards and insist the provider you work with share or exceed that standard.

3. FIND THE OPPORTUNITY

Assess the benefits of any solution suggested. Does it fit within your existing processes? Does it offer a more efficient process? What gains will you see and when? Can you test it on a small scale before implementing something more robust? Again, know who you are and establish a process that works.

Investment in technology can bring unforeseen advantages. It can make talent recruitment easier, bringing in skilled people who use data to assist with in-house and on-site decision making. The best people are attracted to companies that are innovating and outpacing their competitors. They see growth opportunities for their careers. Ali previously created technology solutions and assessed business viability for products and platforms in the automotive and aerospace industries before joining Milwaukee Tool. “The construction industry is so ripe for innovation today and in the future of how we build,” she says.

4. PREPARE TO IMPLEMENT

Clean your house. New technology will work better within a strong foundation. That means documented processes, streamlined tasks, proven methods, and vision. It doesn’t need to be complicated, just clearly communicate how work is done and why. Define what success looks like so your progress can be measured. Be flexible. Pivot when necessary.

Market trend reports can help in assessing competition but don’t forget the value of peer groups who are not competitors. “Face-to-face communication at association meetings and trade conferences is always valuable,” says Ali.

DEWALT Enhances Three Original 60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® Tools

DEWALT’s most powerful line just got better with Circular Saw, Grinder, and Reciprocating Saw upgrades

At the 2019 Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA®) tradeshow, DEWALT announces upgrades to three products that were part of the original DEWALT FLEXVOLT® System, debuted in 2016. The new 60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® 7-1/4 IN. Circular Saw (DCS578)60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® 4-1/2 – 6 IN. Grinder (DCG418), and 60V MAX* FLEXVOLT® Reciprocating Saw (DCS389) each offer increased power versus their predecessors.

The upgrades to these three tools mean that the Circular Saw (DCS578) is up to 47% more powerful than its predecessor**, the DCS575. The Grinder (DCG418) is up to 30% more powerful than its predecessor, the DCG414**. And the Reciprocating Saw (DCS389) is up to 19% more powerful than its predecessor, the DCS388**. Each of these tools achieves this increase in performance via new motors, new software, and new controls. In addition, each of these tools will be available as a kit with a 9.0Ah*** battery. The original FLEXVOLT tools were kitted with a 6.0Ah** battery.

When 60V MAX* tools and the FLEXVOLT Battery System debuted in 2016, they revolutionized power tools, featuring the world’s first batteries that automatically changed voltage when the user changes tools. Still today, with 20 tools now in this premium line, the 60V MAX* System continues to provide tools that offer the power of corded with the freedom of cordless. Upgrades to these three tools continue the legacy of efficiency in heavy applications, with added power and long runtime. In other words, three of “our most powerful tools just got better”.

Available where DEWALT products are sold in spring 2020, the three new tools will retail bare tool (without a battery), and P kitted with one 9.0Ah** battery. More information on FLEXVOLT and all other DEWALT products can be found at DEWALT.com.

With respect to 60V MAX* – Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 60 volts. Nominal voltage is 54.

With respect to 20V MAX* – Maximum initial battery voltage (measured without a workload) is 20 volts. Nominal voltage is 18.

**When using the DCB609 battery vs. using when using the DCB606 battery.

***Amp hours are measured in 20V MAX* mode.

STAFDA is a registered trademark of Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association, which has not endorsed or approved these products.

About DEWALT

DEWALT is obsessed with how users work in the real world and is relentlessly pursuing total jobsite solutions. By incorporating its latest technology and industry innovations, DEWALT is leading the charge for the jobsite of the future. DEWALT products. GUARANTEED TOUGH®. For more information, visit www.dewalt.com 

Why Recruit Veterans

Beyond Workforce Development, Workforce Solutions

by Julie Davis,

Association of Equipment Manufacturers Director of Work Force Development.

Are you tired yet of pulling from the same employment pool? If the answer is yes, then you are ready to explore the new world of veteran recruitment. If you think that you’ve tried it, it doesn’t work for you or there is no one to recruit in your area, then you simply aren’t up to date. 

Why recruit Veterans?

Many companies find veterans to be more productive employees with lower turnover rates when compared to their nonveteran counterparts. Additionally, their past military background can give veterans distinctive capabilities and perspectives that can add insight and diversity to your team’s problem solving. Employers can also qualify for up to $10,000 in federal tax credits per veteran. 

There are multiple state and federal organizations that exist to connect employers with veterans. Many of them work with veterans before they leave active duty to ensure they have skills that can plug immediately into the workforce. Furthermore, just because you may not have a military base located near you is no longer a reason to exclude veterans from your search. Organizations looking to place veterans into employment include working to get veterans back to their home states if that is what they are looking for. Taking a few extra steps could mean providing a veteran the opportunity to truly come home.

Veteran Retainment

Approximately 40 percent of veterans leave their first job out of the military within a year of being hired. The transition can be challenging but there is some common sense, yet very real ways that you can position your company to retain your veterans. 

First, define what your motivation is to hire veterans. Then identify what skills, attitudes and experience would benefit your organization the most. (If you are not sure, simply find your best current employee in that position and identify their skills, attitudes and experiences.) 

Decide what a successful veteran hiring program for your organization looks like. Are you looking for just one or is this going to become a regular program? 

Identify the service branches, ranks and occupational specialties you might like to target. Don’t know? That’s okay because there’s multiple ways to connect. You could reach out to your state or local Veteran’ office and talk with someone or here are some great website you can connect with:

Understand the basics
https://content.iospress.com/articles/work/wor01987
(A brief introduction to military workplace culture)  
https://www.va.gov/VETSINWORKPLACE/docs/em_termsLingo.asp 
(Common Terms) 

Difference between the branches 
https://www.va.gov/VETSINWORKPLACE/mil_structure.asp

Difference between officer and enlisted ranks 
https://www.va.gov/VETSINWORKPLACE/docs/em_rank.asp

Civilian to Military Occupation Translator
https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/civilian-to-military-translator.aspx?frd=true

While building your veteran’s program, don’t forget to tap into your secret weapon – any veterans you are currently employing. Get their thoughts about skills and areas of service that might be a good fit. Don’t forget to ask them what about working for your organization might appeal to a veteran. After all, they have stayed with you! 

There are multiple employment organizations that will connect you with veterans. A few of my favorite include:

Hero’s MAKE America (Provides 10 weeks accelerated skills training for manufacturing)http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Initiatives/Military-and-Veterans/Heroes-MAKE-America/Heroes-MAKE-America.aspx 

Hire a Hero
https://www.hireheroesusa.org/hire-a-veteran/ 

Bradley-Morris, Inc. (Specifically for Skilled Technicians)
https://www.bradley-morris.com/military-recruiting-firms/field-service-technician/

Orian Talent
https://www.oriontalent.com/military-job-seekers/enlisted-technicians/

Lastly, don’t forget that to retain your veteran, you may want to consider having some supports in place to make their transition smooth. Connect them to existing veterans in your workplace, let them know about opportunities for professional growth and advancement, and consider engaging current veterans in creating the program to ensure its effectiveness. 

Veterans who are coming out of service where they have worked with heavy equipment may be a perfect fit for the construction, agriculture, mining, utility or forestry industry sectors. Don’t let taking a few extra steps keep you from your next best hire.

ARTBA Reports: Voters Approve Nearly 90 Percent of Transportation Investment Ballot Measures

Voters in 19 states Nov. 5 sent a decisive message of support for transportation investment, approving almost 90 percent of 305 state and local transportation ballot measures.
 
In total, the 270 approved initiatives are expected to generate over $9.6 billion in one-time and recurring revenue, according to the analysis conducted by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center™ (ARTBA-TIAC). Two measures in Texas are still pending.
 
“The ballot results are a great reminder infrastructure investment remains one of the few areas where red states, blue states, Republicans and Democrats can all come together,” ARTBA President Dave Bauer said.  “It should also demonstrate to lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the public will be on board for the passage of a long-term bill that significantly boosts highway and transit investment at the federal level.”
 
A complete report and an all-new interactive dashboard that filters results by state, mode, year and type of initiative are available at the Center’s flagship website: www.transportationinvestment.org.
 
The preliminary results reaffirm a decade-long trend of voters strongly supporting investments to maintain and improve their state or local transportation networks. Voters have approved 81 percent of nearly 2,000 transportation investment ballot measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC since 2010, including this year’s results.
 
“Public support for increasing infrastructure investment continues to help local governments and the transportation construction community improve safety, mobility and overall quality of life for residents as projects get underway,” said Carolyn Kramer, ARTBA-TIAC director. 
 
Voters in Maine overwhelmingly approved, by a 76 percent to 24 percent margin, a $105 million bond measure to support transportation infrastructure projects. The vote was Maine’s seventh successful transportation bond in eight years.
 
While transportation investment fared well nationwide, Washington state voters endorsed by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin a measure that reduces or repeals certain motor vehicle taxes and fees and removes the authority to impose certain new fees without their approval. This decision will cost the state nearly $4.3 billion in state and local transportation revenue over the next six years. 
 
Voters in Colorado rejected by a 55 percent to 45 percent vote a measure that would have permitted the state to retain excess tax collections in order to fund education and transportation.
 
The 305 measures tracked by ARTBA-TIAC is the largest number ever for an odd-numbered, off-year election. Although historically most transportation measures are put on the ballot in even-numbered years when congressional or presidential elections drive higher turnout, an increasing number of measures are being considered by voters during odd-numbered years and primary elections.
 
There were 57 measures in 12 states that would raise over $20 million each, compared to 21 measures in 2017.  Of that total, 89 percent were approved.  Of 25 measures that would raise over $100 million, voters approved 92 percent.  This included a bond measure in Harris County, Texas to support transit expansions in Houston under the “Moving Forward Plan.”    
 
Of the local ballot measures, most (302 of 305) were property tax increases, primarily in Ohio (154) and Michigan (15), where many municipalities consistently ask voters to renew such assessments to pay for local roads and infrastructure repairs.
 
Additionally, local bond measures in Texas appeared on 25 ballots and received 96 percent approval, which will generate nearly $6 billion. Most of these measures established municipal utility districts.
 
The approved measures will support $7.7 billion in new transportation investment revenue and $1.9 billion in continued funding through tax extensions, renewals or protections. The timing of the market impact of these actions is difficult to project as revenue approved will last up to 25 years.
 
The Transportation Investment Advocacy Center ™ (TIAC) is a first-of-its kind, dynamic education program and Internet-based information resource designed to help private citizens, legislators, organizations and businesses successfully grow transportation investment at the state and local levels through the legislative and ballot initiative processes.