A Global PerspectiveWritten By: Dale Leppo
Article Date: 12-01-2006
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
We need to be conscious of the potential for change that globalization creats.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) held its Annual Meeting in November, and Cindy and I were invited to attend along with Toby Mack and Matt Di Iorio from the AED staff.
It was interesting to see how equipment manufacturers view the world, and how they run AEM's meetings. I noticed one significant difference between AEM and AED, but I also noted at least one important area of common concern.
The key difference that was apparent to me is that many of AEM's member companies have manufacturing plants and distributors located around the world, and those manufacturers have to take a global view of their businesses. There are some exceptions, but most AED members conduct the majority of their business in the United States or Canada.
Because global manufacturing issues are important to AEM members, we heard presentations entitled "A Global Economy - A China Influence" and "Doing Business Around the Globe." A discussion entitled "International Lessons Learned" focused on the differing legal and regulatory environments that companies encounter while conducting business globally and the importance of understanding the different rules of the game in the markets in which companies participate.
The message of this part of the meeting seemed clear to me: The world of construction equipment is becoming more of a global market every year, and AED and AED's members need to be conscious of the potential for change that globalization creates.
While we were at the AEM meeting, we had some interesting discussions with several Chinese equipment manufacturers about how construction equipment distribution functions in North America, what our customers expect in the way of product support, and how manufacturers and distributors can work together to serve their customers' needs. I expect we will see a couple of Chinese equipment manufacturers attending the 2007 AED Annual Meeting & CONDEX in Las Vegas.
An area of common concern I heard at the AEM meeting are the challenges all companies face when running their businesses today. It doesn't matter if your company is a manufacturer, a distributor or a bank.
Author Jason Jennings, one of AEM's first speakers, said the issues that concern the leaders of most companies are:
If you want to know Jennings's answers to these concerns, he has written several books, including "Think Big-Act Small" and "It's not the BIG that eat the SMALL....It's the FAST that eat the SLOW."
- The need to constantly increase revenues
- The need to constantly increase earnings
- Pressure to innovate
- Recruiting, training and retaining people
- Finding a place in today's crowded markets
- Blurring of channels
- Constant attack on gross margins
- The need to "WOW!" customers
His presentation to AEM and his books are based on his research of the real world of business. He says he's has located only 20 companies in the world that have had both double-digit revenue growth and double-digit profit growth every year for the last 10 years.
In my mind, that shows how hard it is for all of us to continue to be successful. It also demonstrates why it's important to attend events where speakers challenge us and force us to question what we're doing.
AED tries to do both at the Executive Forum and AED's Annual Meeting & CONDEX.
If you come to the AED Annual Meeting January 16-18, we hope to challenge your view of the world, expose you to new ideas, and give you the opportunity to meet and talk with others executives in our industry.
I hope to see you at the meeting in January.
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