Tag Archive for 'Training'

CONEXPO CON/AGG and IFPE 2020 to Take Place in March

Registration is still open for the co-located CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2020 exhibitions, North America’s premiere events for the construction industries and the fluid power, power transmission and motion control industries. CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2020 will be held March 10-14 in Las Vegas.

Both CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE have already set exhibit space records and will feature industry-leading education programs. Several show ticket options are available, and all tickets include a monorail pass. New for 2020 is the opportunity to mix and match education sessions between CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE for one price.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE come around every three years for a can’t-miss event. No other shows bring together as many segments of the construction industries and of the fluid power, power transmission and motion control industries in one place.

Attendees will have up-close access to the leading manufacturers and suppliers, latest product innovations, and knowledge resources to help their businesses thrive. For 2020:

  • The Tech Experience returns with two locations.
  • The show campus has expanded with the new Festival Grounds for a total of 10 areas to explore.
  • Plenty of show shuttles and hotel shuttles will run during the event, plus information stands and staff will help attendees easily navigate the show campus.
  • CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE make it easy to prepare with an interactive online exhibitor directory and a show mobile app that will continuously synch to your online customizable show planner.

Education is always a vital component of both CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE to help attendees not only survive, but thrive in a changing and global industry.

Attendees at the 2020 shows can take advantage of more than 180 education sessions packed with timely and actionable information, developed with the guidance of leading industry groups, and delivered by industry experts. 

New for 2020 are mix-and-match sessions between CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE for company teams to cost-effectively obtain learning sessions targeted to their needs.

“The line-up of programming is not only larger than it has ever been but includes a fresh line-up of speakers stacked side-by-side with core programming that is always highly attended,” said Eileen Dickson, Vice President of Education, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and CONEXPO-CON/AGG Education Committee chair.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 education features 10 tracks covering a variety of equipment applications, site development, fleet management, business best practices, technology, safety, and attracting and retaining talent.

IFPE education is grouped in two tracks: Hydraulics and Pneumatics at Work and The Business of Fluid Power. Its popular College Courses return, and new is an IFPE Research Symposium.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG Education – Targeting the Construction Industries

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 education tracks will offer the latest trends and best practices focused on: aggregates; asphalt; concrete; cranes, rigging and aerial lifts; earthmoving and site development; equipment management and maintenance; business management; and safety, plus technology solutions and attracting, engaging and retaining talent.

“The education committee took great care in putting together a program that grows attendee knowledge on building their business on all fronts, whether the technical skills needed in the field or best practices to build their business,” said Graham Brent, CEO of the NCCCO Foundation and CONEXPO-CON/AGG Education Committee vice chair.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020 education includes:

  • Driving New Innovation at Complacent Companies – James Benham, JB Knowledge
  • Drones on Construction Sites for All Contractors – Ryan Murguia/Zach Pieper, Quantum Land Design
  • Gain a Competitive Advantage Through Construction Technology – Tauhira Hoossainy, Milwaukee Tool
  • How to Win the War for Talent – Gregg Schoppman, FMI
  • Safety Training Ninja – Regina McMichael, The Learning Factory, Inc.
  • Technology Trends: Lessons Learned – Helga Jacobsen, United Rentals
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Construction Businesses Fail – Larry Kokklenberg, Center for Business Development

IFPE Education – Focused on Fluid Power

The IFPE College Courses emphasize hands-on technical knowledge on the effective use of hydraulics in mobile equipment. Content includes Fundamentals of Hydraulic Systems; Electro Hydrostatic Actuation; Safety Hydraulics, Best Practices for Modern Machinery; Hydraulics in the Digital Age: Hydraulic Fluid Properties, Efficiency and Contamination Control; and Digital Design.

The IFPE Research Symposium is hosted by IFPE co-owner National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) and runs during lunch (11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) March 11-13. Sessions will showcase the latest fluid power research at U.S. universities being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to improve energy efficiency of off-road vehicle hydraulic systems.

“We focused on developing education programs that offer attendees the latest ideas and innovations in fluid power technology, applications and research. Our classes and sessions deliver critical information for engineers and others involved in the design and manufacturing process,” said Eric Lanke, President/CEO, NFPA. 

IFPE 2020 education includes:

  • Additive Manufacturing – Vince Anewenter, Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Industry of the Future – Prasad Ganorkar, McKinsey & Company
  • IoT – Sharing Data Across Customer Boundaries – Adam Livesay, Elevat
  • Mobile Hydraulic Robotics – Autonomous Machines – Chris Woodard and John O’Neill, Danfoss
  • Workforce Development – Lynn Beyer, NFPA

Learn more and register online at conexpoconagg.com and ifpe.com.

Technology Training on Workflow Helps Address the Need for New Workers

By Jeff Winke

It is a scary world out there for you construction contractors who struggle with tight deadlines, demands for regulatory-governed quality, better productivity, lower costs, more time in a day, and that ominous need for a competent workforce.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) released a study of construction firms in the United States.A few key statistics included in their Workforce Shortage Report include:

  • Eight out of 10 construction firms cannot find sufficient qualified employees
  • 19 percent are investing in labor saving equipment and tools that require smarter workers
  • 82 percent believe that it will be more difficult to find qualified workers over the next 12 months

“As the U.S.-based construction workforce becomes increasingly thinly spread,” the AGC report stated, “owners and managers of construction firms will be required to approach the problem of labor shortage creatively, in order to convert these problems into opportunities. A key to overcoming the labor shortage, in the construction industry, is to invest in current employees to increase their skills, knowledge and abilities, as well as to support existing employees with labor-saving tools and equipment.”

Investing in existing employees has definite advantages, when compared to hiring new employees.

  • Current employees know how the company operates and manages its project sites. 
  • Current employees are a known entity. Managers know their strengths and weaknesses and may be better able to manage and lead them than new hires.
  • With new employees, there are start-up administrative costs, drug testing, equipment and safety training, and general acclimation to new managers, co-workers, and procedures. 
  • Current employees pose less risk. Studies have confirmed higher injury rates among workers who have been on the job for less than a year. Consider also that hiring new employees with less experience and then moving them quickly into the field to meet demands may create greater risk.

Clearly, on-going skills and technology training of existing employees can prove to be critical not only for retention but the success of the company.

“The penalty for not keeping current with technology is longer project timelines,” stated Ron Oberlander, Vice President, Global Professional Services, Topcon Positioning Group, Livermore, California. “Successful training focusses on the work process which yields greater efficiencies and better results.”

An Emphasis on Workflow

With the training emphasis on workflow, employees can develop a broader perspective on construction projects and all that goes into the tasks that culminate in their completion. The emphasis on work processes demonstrates a respect for the intelligence of employees and invites them to think in a partner role, which can strengthen their commitment to the job and the company.

“I’ve completed a couple of training programs conducted by Topcon and I am scheduled for another in the next six months,” said John Poirier, Project Manager with Warman Excavating & Trenching Ltd., Waldheim, Saskatchewan, Canada. “It is well worth the time; and the cost is inconsequential compared to what I learn. Unbelievable trainers, seasoned experts with 20 to 30 years of experience, are training me. They know the products, the market, and understand the workflow.”

“Technology changes too frequently,” said Oberlander.”When we host attendees – distributors and end users – at our training sessions we focus on workflows and how the key features of our products and systems improve the productivity and efficiency of end users.”

With the strong job economy today, it is sometimes difficult to find talent to fill open positions.A benefit of training and the power of easy-to-use technology means that contractors can hire less-skilled talent.They can either send them to instructor-led courses or put them through e-learning-based training.Either way, the knowledge and skills gap can be bridged.

Technology Evolution

Since every construction project is unique, and may require different technology and solutions, it is important – actually imperative – that workers at all experience levels engage in training regularly to remain up to date.

“Think about the advances in consumer technology such as the Apple iPhone,” Oberlander said, “The innovations and high-powered processors that upgrade the iPhone annually are being used in construction equipment. Look at the displays and systems inside of a new excavator, dozer, or other heavy equipment which now make them more productive to run and service; and in turn, makes the contractor more efficient and profitable.”

Oberlander went on to describe how GPS machine control has evolved during the past 20 years from little adoption of machine automation to a market where some machine manufacturers are integrating machine control technology direct from the technology-provider’s factory floor into their machines or even wiring heavy equipment so that they are capable of later adding aftermarket systems.Some government agencies are even specifying that contractors working on their projects must employ GPS machine control on their equipment.

An Investment in Training

Topcon Positioning Systems’ current project is an example of the interest and commitment to training occurring in the construction industry. The company is investing by building state-of-the-art training facilities in the United States, Italy, and Japan. 

The new 6-acre training facility in the U.S. is being constructed at the Topcon campus in Livermore, California, and will cover training for construction, geo positioning, and paving. Vertical construction and layout training will include a half-built building for real-world demonstrations. Two state-of-the-art classrooms will be included. The training facilities in Italy and Japan are being built to the same parameters.

“Since we focus heavily on workflow training, our training will mimic live applications that take place at a typical construction site,” Oberlander said. “The main difference is we can focus on the application and training without distractions of a contractor’s live jobsite. We always offer on-location training at the contractor’s jobsite or home office, but we believe that it is important to establish a baseline of education with a contained workflow at our training center.We also offer the students a tour of our manufacturing facility so they can see how the products they use are made.”

Construction contractors struggle with the need to keep up to date on the latest technology and trends that make their projects more efficient, while attracting and keeping a full workforce in a tight labor market. The answers may be found in training both existing employees and new inexperienced workers on labor-saving technologies with a focus on the work process which yields greater efficiencies and better results.

What do you tell others considering training? Poirier said: “Go for it. There is 100 percent benefit to training; otherwise you’re looking at your technology being the world’s most expensive paperweight. Training gave me knowledge and confidence to feel comfortable with the technology. I recently set up a new excavator using a system I had mounted on a different machine. It works great and would have cost me $42,000 to have someone come in and set up and initialize the GPS system on the excavator – all work I did myself.”

Clearly training can benefit contractors. It can add knowledge, skills, and the confidence to succeed.

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.

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.

5 Ways to Shake Up Your Safety Training

Safety is always an important topic because it’s always an important part of our lives, especially in construction where exposure to risk is a constant.

“Safety Training Ninja” will be presented on Thursday, March 12, 2020 from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

Here’s a look at what you can expect, courtesy of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG:

5 Ways to Shake Up Your Safety Training

At 20-years old, Regina McMichael’s husband died after falling off a roof at a jobsite where he was working. That was the day her safety career started. Thirty-three years later she is still laser-focused on making the industry safer by improving the way we teach safety training. Her energy, humor, and engaging style as a speaker and trainer has earned her rave reviews throughout the industry. She recently shared five key ways to change your safety training to make it more effective.

  1. Identify What the Learners Know and What They Need to Know

“The gap between these two areas is what you teach to,” says McMichael. “Nothing more, nothing less.” She teaches trainers to use the ADDIE Model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) to first analyze and then design training.  “We need to respect our audience and not waste time teaching them things they don’t need to know, like the 29 CFR 19….– they don’t need to know that to be safe,” she says.

  1. Make Training Interactive

It’s time to put away those deadly PowerPoint presentations. McMichael recommends engaging workers with problem-solving activities. “Give them a scenario and ask how would you fix this? It will be much more interesting and fun,” she says. “Have the workers help develop the solutions and train themselves.” Use case studies, group discussion and competition to gain their interest and attention. “Friendly competition makes classes fun and makes things stick,” she says.

  1. Use Multiple Avenues to Train Workers

In construction there are a huge number of small firms without someone in a dedicated safety role. Those tasked with safety training are frequently overworked and can find themselves in a position of having to teach a topic they don’t have any expertise in. McMichael advises firms to use multiple training tools, such as local classes, online training, in-person training, and one-on-one jobsite training with supervisors to help lessen the burden on those in the safety-training role. “There is no one magic solution,” she explains.

  1. Bring Humanity Back to Safety

“If we’re going to be successful, safety training cannot be about compliance,” says McMichael. “We have to let human beings know we care about them and let them know we want them to stay alive.” Jobsite pressures can often result in workers not taking the time to be safe. Employers need to show they value workers by providing them with the knowledge and best practices to ensure they go home to their families.

  1. Support Your Trainers

McMichael believes a commitment to safety and effective training will enable companies to move from compliance-driven checklists to humanity-based solutions. One of McMichael’s classes, Getting a Seat at the C-Suite: What Every Safety Pro Should Know, focuses on how to get management to support safety initiatives. Another, titled Safety Training Ninjas, based on her recently released book, “The Safety Training Ninja” equips trainers with a process to develop effective training, and tools to make it valuable and something people want to learn. Trainers also learn how to develop learning objectives and demonstrate objectives were achieved. People not Policy, is about bringing humanity back to the safety world. All three programs will be offered at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2020.

For free safety training resources and information about McMichael visit www.safetytrainingninja.com or http://www.reginamcmichael.com.

CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s comprehensive Education Program is the leading source for contractors, business owners, construction material producers and end users to obtain cutting-edge information for today’s challenging economy and business model.

About CONEXPO-CON/AGG

Held every three years, CONEXPO-CON/AGG is the must-attend event for construction industry professionals. The next CONEXPO-CON/AGG will be held March 10-14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information on CONEXPO-CON/AGG, visit https://www.conexpoconagg.com.