Tag Archive for 'Construction Industries'

AEM Discusses 5 Ways Leaders Can Motivate and Inspire Remote Teams

By Judy Gaus, AEM Vice President of Human Resources and Operations

The sudden onset of remote work has impacted companies and organizations across the United States and around the world.

It happened almost overnight. The COVID-19 pandemic led business offices to close their doors and employees to find a way to conduct their work from home. We all went from congregating in meeting spaces and around cubicles to interacting “face to face” via our computer screens. For the past few months, we’ve found ourselves catching glimpses of each other’s homes, hearing dogs barks, and listening to children yell and laugh during video conferences. While we’ve never been farther apart from our colleagues, it’s nice to know it doesn’t always have to feel that way.

Now as the U.S. opens up and some offices begin to welcome back employees into their facilities, we know some members of the workforce will continue to remain remote for the time being. With that fact in mind, AEM wanted to share 5 useful and common-sense ways in which business leaders can motivate remote teams and help them keep pace with organizational demands and goals:


Whether it comes in the form of asking a quick question, clarifying a detail, or soliciting feedback on an idea, find a reason to reach out to your team members. Not all that long ago, it was so easy to simply swing by a colleague’s workstation and have a quick conversation. Now, with so many people working remotely, doing so requires being more intentional. And while technology certainly helps to facilitate communication while working remotely, it’s only useful if you’re willing to set aside a few minutes for video chat “face time” with one or more of your teammates.

While it can easy to feel like you may be intruding or imposing on others, you’re really not. And, by checking in more frequently, you’ll eventually become more comfortable and convey a message that regular interactions should continue to take place.

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Making an effort to socialize and have fun with your team is critically important to establishing stronger inter-office relationships. For example, my team and I get together on video chat every other week over the lunch for about 30-45 minutes. We catch up with one another, take a break from our work, and talk about a favorite book we’ve read or a movie we’ve recently seen.

Ultimately, engaging your teammates and facilitating a bit of fun helps promotes a sense of belonging and community – something that’s incredibly important during these uncertain times.

In addition, AEM recently held an all-staff online meeting where we asked everyone to wear a crazy hat and we randomly selected individuals to share their favorite quarantine memory. This 30-minute meeting exclusively focused on fun and sharing personal stories. It was a great way to connect on a personal level without having any business on the agenda, and feedback has been very positive.


The “traditional” workday is traditional no more, and flexibility is everything these days. As a leader, you need to know that your team members have a lot going on in their lives right now. Some may not be able to work the typical 8 a.m.-4 p.m. or 9 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule, and they need to know they can stop and address certain situations as they arise at home.

Few things will motivate your team members more than having a flexible boss who trusts them to manage their days effectively. Let them take care of their personal business, as they will likely go out of their way to re-engage later in the evening or early the next morning.


With how everything has unfolded over the course of the past few months, it’s no secret that priorities within organizations are constantly changing with time. Organizational pivots are stressful experiences, and they can cause quite a bit of anxiety and uncertainty among employees.

If you’re a leader, one of your top priorities right now should be maintaining communications with the members of your team. Let them know if their roles are changing, and be sure to convey how their positions fit into the organization’s “bigger picture.” They’ll appreciate the fact that they are continuing to add value, even if comes in a different form than it did in the past.


There’s no better time than right now to encourage your team members to step up, expand their skill sets and take advantage of available training opportunities. Let your employees be leaders, and allow them to come forward and let you know how they want to get involved.

As an established leader, you need to be flexible. Lead with empathy and understanding, and be sure to set your employees up to be motivated and productive by ensuring they have the support, tools and resources they need to become leaders themselves and – ultimately – bring greater value to your organization.  

United Rentals Announces Digital Learning Series Focused on Improving Worksite Performance

Webinars Explore How Companies Can Unlock Smarter Worksites

United Rentals, Inc. (NYSE: URI) today announced a digital learning series on improving worksite performance, which takes place in five weekly sessions from June 30 to July 28. These free educational events provide advice, safety guidance and innovation from the experts and leaders across multiple industries to help navigate these changing times.

In today’s already-complex worksites, safety and work practices can change frequently, and requirements are even more stringent. The webinars – with all sessions conducted online – will provide helpful and practical tips to identify and mitigate those risks. Decision-makers, owners, contractors and consultants can gain insights from the team to update their best practices to unlock opportunities for a more productive – and profitable – worksite.

“Companies face a major challenge in managing worksite complexity and see a huge opportunity to improve performance,” said Ty Campbell, Director, Sales and Online Services at United Rentals. “This learning series will provide companies with actionable information to take control of equipment fleets to improve how they consume and utilize equipment, and deliver real savings to the business.”

Digital Learning Series Schedule

Anyone can attend the educational sessions offered in this learning series. To register, please go to https://www.unitedrentals.com/our-company/webinar-series#/.

Here are the webinar session topics and schedule:

Frictionless Fleet Management: Accelerating Opportunities for Cost Savings. Managing fleet and equipment rental needs across multiple projects, worksites and departments is inherently complex. This session explores how using a single-source, online platform to manage owned and rented fleet helps tame that complexity and alleviate friction points in the process. It will show how to access insightful information and deliver actionable data and context to teams. Offered: June 30 at 1 p.m. EDT.

The New Normal: Safety and Productivity in a Changing Environment. Equipment cleanliness is a foundational element to a successful safety culture. As companies look to rent equipment to address worksite needs, they need to have confidence an equipment rental provider adheres to best practices for disinfecting equipment touch points. This session reviews steps companies can take to safeguard equipment fleet is sanitary and ready for use. Offered: July 7 at 1 p.m. EDT.

The Data Said So: Using Analytics to Drive Process Improvement and Cost Savings. Updating processes and changing the way business gets done on-site can be challenging, but when done correctly, it is extremely rewarding. Data and analytics can be a catalyst to change, and ultimately, success. This session examines one company’s process improvement lifecycle and provide insights into how they used analytics to drive double-digit equipment fleet cost savings. Offered: July 14 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Why Now? Effective Change Management in a Remote World. Adoption and implementation of change can be a challenge for any organization and can be even more challenging when team members are working remotely. This session discusses best practices to guide companies through the change management process smoothly. It will look at tools and resources available to help companies adopt cloud-based workforce performance management. Offered: July 21 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Better Together: Success Through System Integration. System integration can help a company streamline business processes and create efficiencies. This session reviews the different types of solution integrations and how they are applicable. It addresses the multiple points in the procure to pay process, from ordering management of on-rent items, all the way to invoicing and payment. Offered: July 28 at 1 p.m. EDT.

Total Control Solution

United Rentals Total Control is a cloud-based worksite performance management solution that helps companies make the most of an equipment fleet to utilize assets better and cut annual equipment rental costs by up to one-third. It provides a single system of record delivering visibility to manage both rented and owned equipment fleet, including excavators, trenchers, backhoe loaders and other pieces of equipment. Total Control allows companies to get a handle on what equipment they have, where it is located, how much they are paying for it, how often it is being used and when they need to return it. They can pinpoint the exact location of any piece of connected equipment, and measure and track its utilization to boost performance.

About United Rentals

United Rentals, Inc. is the largest equipment rental company in the world. The company has an integrated network of 1,164 rental locations in North America and 11 in Europe. In North America, the company operates in 49 states and every Canadian province. The company’s approximately 19,100 employees serve construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities, homeowners and others. The company offers approximately 4,000 classes of equipment for rent with a total original cost of $14.63 billion. United Rentals is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, the Barron’s 400 Index and the Russell 3000 Index® and is headquartered in Stamford, Conn. Additional information about United Rentals is available at unitedrentals.com.

252 AEDF Technicians Certified Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic Since Early March

The AED Foundation Works with Schools and Dealers to come up with innovative testing solutions while social distancing is in place.

While much of the nation has been put on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The AED Foundation (AEDF) has been innovating new online testing opportunities to ensure technicians are still able to get certified. The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program holds technicians to an industry-recognized standard that helps them gain the skillset and qualifications to succeed in their careers. Since the beginning of March, 252 technicians have become certified.   

To make this number possible, The AED Foundation has resourcefully implemented online proctoring during this time, ensuring that students and technicians do not have to put their education plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an excellent accomplishment for dealers, schools and The Foundation to develop a timely solution allowing test-taking to continue. Online testing proves to be valuable to dealers to keep their technicians educated during this time. Thanks to this innovative testing solution and the flexibility of dealers and schools, online testing can ensure integrity that meets The Foundation’s standards. Online testing has not only offered a solution but allows ease for students and instructors as remote testing with proctoring is available 24/7.   

While many schools and dealerships, including Anderson Equipment Company, implemented online testing, some found other solutions to test students through the pandemic safely. Many of the CAT ThinkBIG programs, which represent approximately 1/3 of AEDF accredited college programs, divided students into small groups to comply with social distancing guidelines. These groups were sent to multiple CAT dealership buildings within the area to provide proctored tests without compromising students’ safety.   

This solution demonstrates that The AED Foundation is always willing to do what it takes to help students and technicians succeed. The Foundation’s Vision 2024 goal strongly focuses on certifying more technicians to combat the industry workforce shortage. Jason Blake, COO and Executive Vice President of the Foundation stated: “The efforts of The AED Foundation’s accredited colleges and dealers to implement new testing solutions during this time displays a commitment to education and workforce development within the industry that will build a bright future of skilled technicians.”   

The AED Foundation is proud of the accredited school programs and dealers they have been able to assist in achieving this high number of certified technicians despite the challenges the past few months have presented. The Foundation will continue to look for ways to improve students’ and technicians ’ experiences and accommodate them through whatever difficulties may arise.  

Association of Equipment Manufacturers Announces New “Equipped to Vote” Campaign

Today, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) announced the launch of “Equipped to Vote,” a full-fledged digital campaign designed to engage, educate, and mobilize the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry leading up to the general election this fall. The goal of the campaign is to educate supporters on the policies that matter to the industry, encourage greater civic engagement, and help elect pro-manufacturing candidates.

Earlier this year, AEM unveiled the “2020 Manufacturing Express,” a cross-country, campaign-style bus tour to discuss the issues critical to the continued growth and success of equipment manufacturers in America. AEM has been closely monitoring the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the health and safety of the industry top of mind, AEM has postponed the initiative until 2021. A new launch date will be announced later in the year. The “Equipped to Vote” campaign, designed to give a voice to the 2.8 million men and women of the association during the election, will be the central focus for the association until the “Manufacturing Express” hits the road.

“The equipment manufacturing industry is the backbone of our economy and is essential to America’s post-pandemic economic comeback. During these unprecedented and challenging times, it is more important than ever that our industry comes together in support of pro-manufacturing policies and candidates,” said Kip Eideberg, AEM senior vice president of government and industry relations. “In keeping with the spirit of innovation that is at the core of America’s equipment manufacturers, AEM will leverage the latest digital tools and tactics to creatively connect with supporters in the safest and most effective way possible. This effort is vital not just to this election—but to the future of our industry and our country.”

Launching in August, AEM’s “Equipped to Vote” will highlight the issues that matter to the hardworking men and women who build, feed, and power communities across the country. Those issues include the urgent need to rebuild America’s infrastructure, smart trade deals that expand opportunities, and vibrant agricultural communities. The campaign will also serve as a call to action for supporters to engage in the electoral process and hold lawmakers accountable in November. 

The centerpiece of this new effort will be an online election center with tools and resources, interactive programming, and educational games for supporters to test their knowledge about public policy and win prizes. The digital format will greatly expand the reach and impact of the campaign, and will allow more of the association’s member companies to participate in the effort. To date, more than 60 equipment manufacturing companies across the country have signed up be part of this first-of-its-kind initiative for the industry.

Equipment manufacturers support 2.8 million jobs and contribute $288 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Earlier this year, AEM released a comprehensive report on the economic impact of the industry.

More information about AEM’s “Equipped to Vote” campaign will be available on the association’s website in the weeks to come. Please follow Twitter and Facebook for the latest developments. 


ABOUT AEM AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry in the United States supports 2.8 million jobs and contributes roughly $288 billion to the economy every year.

Why Recognizing Your Construction Company is a Project Business is Critical for Success

By Daniel Bévort

How would you categorize your construction company? If you think about it, the construction part of it is just about the type of projects you do. Essentially, your company is a project business, a company that provides products or services for their customers through projects. 

Project business is an industry just like Retail and Manufacturing because projects are their primary business function. For example, if we think of a retail business, it’s about reselling goods to consumers. It doesn’t matter what goods you sell. Whatever it is, if you sell it to consumers, you are a retail business. The same goes for a manufacturing business. It doesn’t matter what products you make, if you manufacture it, you are a manufacturing business. 

Project business is the same. Whatever the product or service is, if you are running and delivering projects to your customers, you are a project business. The same holds true in construction – 80 percent of what you do is about managing projects.

Project Management as a Central Component of a Project Business

Oftentimes, people think managing a project and managing a project business are interchangeable. They’re not. Project management is something that a business does, regardless of the type of business it is. Project management applies knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to complete projects and is a central component of a project business. Since projects are temporary, managing a project is also temporary. On the other hand, project business is enduring and as such, managing a project business is an enduring activity. 

Characteristics of Project Businesses

Although we can compare project business to traditional industries like retail, distribution or manufacturing, there are several major characteristics unique to project business. Unlike traditional industries:

Projects are Temporary and Unique to Each Customer

Retail, distribution, and manufacturing companies produce or sell the same goods repeatedly. This allows these companies to take advantage of standardized processes and KPIs, automation, and economies of scale more easily than project businesses. As a result, these traditional businesses are more predictable and can replicate procedures and processes easier than project businesses.

Project Business Processes Can Differ Depending on Who is Doing Them

In traditional industries, processes and data are standardized no matter who is doing the work. In a project business such as construction, it all depends on who is executing the task. With the amount of detail included in a specific project plan, processes can differ between different project managers who have different preferences. Even the data that is considered important and used to make critical business decisions can be different across the company. This makes project businesses more complex than traditional businesses. Since project business processes aren’t uniform, it’s difficult to manage the business functions and establish standard metrics to measure performance.  

With all that in mind, it’s no surprise we’ve seen productivity in traditional sectors continue to grow while it has remained stagnant in construction and other project industries. This increase in productivity has largely been attributed to technology. The construction market has been slow to embrace digital technology solutions compared to other business sectors. It’s a lot easier to apply technology to standardized processes and data in order to automate and increase production. However, it’s not so easy with project-based construction businesses that have unique products and non-standard business practices.

And while there’s been advancements in equipment and mechanical tools in construction, streamlining business processes and boosting productivity through technology has remained a fragmented prospect. 

The important thing to keep in mind is if you’re not integrated and automated on the back end with your business processes, you’re not going to improve to the degree you want no matter how effective you are in the field.  

Identifying as a Project Business is Key to Growth and Success

In order to improve productivity and optimize your business for success, it’s important to first identify as a project business. Once you do that, it’s easier to see how you can improve, structure your project business processes, and identify what systems and solutions are possible.   

Project businesses need to govern their business activities in the same way traditional industries have. More specifically, they need to be able to control their business processes to optimize business performance. To do this, first look at the core activities for a project business.

Project Businesses engage in the following activities:

  • Scheduling, resource management, change control, risk and issue management, time and expense
  • Costing and estimating, budgeting, cost control, EAC/BAC, cash flow management
  • Earned value analysis and management, forecasting, KPIs, profitability
  • Project-owner collaboration, portfolio/program management, HR management, sales, customer service, business intelligence and financials

These are the key areas you need to focus on when building a successful business foundation for your construction company. When your business depends on the successful delivery of projects to your customers, it’s critical to be on point here. Recognizing your construction company as a project business is the first step to setting the foundation for expansion, growth and profitability. Failing to identify as a project business will lead to challenges in business productivity and performance. 



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This feature appeared in the April 2020 issues of the ACP Magazines:

California Builder & Engineer, Construction, Construction Digest, Construction News, Constructioneer, Dixie Contractor, Michigan Contractor & Builder, Midwest Contractor, New England Construction, Pacific Builder & Engineer, Rocky Mountain Construction, Texas Contractor, Western Builder