September 2014

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24 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | September 2014 A Closer Look But genuinely smart service will always be in the capable hands and minds of this unique breed of employee. BY TOM VAN DUSEN (continued on page 26) Mechanic's Truck Still the Field-Service Mainstay You've got your laptop, flash drives, and your iPads, all of them incorporated at some level by the contemporary heavy equipment industry into delivering speedy, reliable customer field service. You've got your all-encompassing Customer Relationship Management system that relies on the latest technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, service and technical support. Equipment industry field service has come a long way, baby! It has certainly become much "smarter." However, the key component is still priceless – old-fashioned human input. No matter how smart the services become, they still need qualified people to manage them, although it sometimes seems more like a case of technology managing the people. But that crucial human component is poised to suffer a serious setback. The skilled worker shortage affecting many jobsites across the North American construction industry is about to take a piece out of the most funda- mental ingredient of closing and keeping major equipment customers: Speedy, dependable field service as delivered by fully-equipped, technologically wired custom conveyances. They're the dealer workhorses that take the repair and maintenance shop out to clients stranded in remote jobsites. But the machines don't work alone. They're part of a team that equally depends on highly skilled and motivated technicians. Together, finely tuned man – or woman – and machine can prevent frustrated customers from climbing the walls when requiring maintenance and repairs to get the job back in gear. "It's all about minimizing downtime and maximizing uptime," said Jeff Shaw, sales manager for Curry Supply out of Martinsburg, Pa., one of a half dozen service truck manufacturers and dealers operating across the U.S., into Canada and South America. Since the 1990s, huge improvements have been made to the trucks themselves, the on-board equipment available and particularly the safety aspect, Shaw points out. "In the past, when it came to mechanics trucks, the safety level often flew under the radar." Disturbingly, the industry is about to lose "thousands" of

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