you may well ask when you look around at what was once a conservative occupation
but today is awash in a sea of momentous change affecting nearly every aspect of
our business. Time was you could pace out a site, scribble some numbers on the
back of a piece of paper, make a few calculations, add in your secret fudge
factor, come up with a decent bid, bank in a bunch of stakes, leap on your
trusty smoke-belching monster, and start pulling levers. When the electronic
calculator came along, it allowed you to add a few extra decimal places to your
initial calculations—but your secret factor rounded those off, so the end result
was pretty much what you expected it to be in before you went high-tech.
As we moved
into the new millennium, the computer began to make its presence felt both in
equipment productivity and business management systems, allowing us to meet
skyrocketing job opportunities that characterized the first half of the decade.
Then came the present situation, with its precipitous decline in projects, where
if you don’t have a pretty high-powered business software suite, you’re liable
to find yourself among the also-rans.
Yet as most of
us are wondering just what the future holds in store for us—a time in which many
have gone to the mattresses—another revolution is taking place right beneath
your tailbone, where technology is having a huge impact on the machines we
use…not only in the electro-mechanical systems that improve the human/machine
interface, but the way in which the equipment itself operates.
Nowhere is this
more obvious than in the radical changes John Deere and Caterpillar have
incorporated into their newest dozers: John Deere’s 764 high-speed dozer and
Caterpillar’s D7E electric-drive dozer. While it’s still too early to assess
their acceptance in the marketplace, there seems little doubt that they are
harbingers of things yet to come. Our upcoming issue focuses attention on these
machines, so you won’t want to miss Daniel Brown’s article, New Dozers Blaze a Trail.