I spent time yesterday getting a status check on business—A “Hi, how are you,” approach rather than a deep “What’s your balance sheet look like?” assessment—and while the returns were mixed, I’d say they showed an up-tick over what I’ve heard over the last 20 months. Perhaps the most positive remarks came from George Smith, Topcon’s director of communications services.
“There is definitely a positive surge in the global market for machine control, telematics and robust software products,” he said. “The construction industry, in part because of the stimulus funds provided by the federal government, and due to a progressive contractor base that is getting more educated about the benefits of around-the-corner innovations in machine control and mobile asset management technology, is coming back.
“The smart contractors are purchasing equipment and technology today that will make them leaders in their respective industries tomorrow. The recession taught us all one thing: If you are not investing in technology in order to compete, you may not survive. Today’s construction companies, like those of tomorrow, are investing in technology to save time and be more productive on every phase of job, which drops more money to the bottom line.”
I like what he had to say, because it bolsters my beliefs on the role technology will play as we emerge—as we must—from the downturn. The rules by which we play in the future will be different from those of the recent past. How different remains to be seen, but for certain, those who have used this time wisely in restructuring their business will have a running start over those who have chosen to pursue a “hunkered-down” approach.