The expo by Caterpillar was treading on the fact that there are those who are good, those who are better and then there are of course those who are deemed as the best in a given field! Just think the likes of Tiger Woods, Pele, or even Billy the Kid, and this event was about looking for the Tiger Woods, Pele and Billy among excavator operators. The event was about identifying the superstars among equipment operators and within the spectrum of Caterpillar’s products, the Global Equipment Challenge competition held at Con-Expo on March 2020 was all about excavators, excavator hire companies and operators. Bauma, the well-established German construction machinery show managed the officially launch of the Global Operator Challenge that saw participants from more than 30 countries and 70 dealerships taking part as mentioned by Jason Conklin, who at the time was the vice president of global construction and infrastructure.
The challenge was initiated at the regional levels (Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia from which 9 operators or ‘top dogs’ if you prefer hit Las Vegas Cat’s outdoor booth on March 10, 2020 which was the official opening day for the launch of the Con Expo. The tasks that were assigned, were certainly not for the novice or average operator as the lined up task apart from general excavator tasks also required the operators to operate wheel loaders, dozers, articulated trucks, compact track loaders, and a variety of excavator ranging from the mini excavator right up to the behemoths. These operators were judged based on their turnaround or speed, their level of accuracy and precision use of the hydraulic system. Now for those of you wondering why would Caterpillar go to such lengths? The answer is simple, it is not only about the operators, it is also about the excavators and what better way to promote or market expensive equipment than to have the best of the best behind the controls. Caterpillar also took into account that their customer’s revenue generation capacity depended on both the operator and the excavator and the company made it a point to measure the time difference between the champion and the 10th place winner which was significant enough for customers to revise their on boarding and training formats. The difference of 580 hours which was noted between the champ and the 10th place operator meant almost a year of additional work, not to mention 8,000 liters of additional fuel. Now these are the top 10 guys in the world probably, what about the losses a construction outfit would incur due to hiring an average or novice operator. Apart from that there was also the point of the new features that Caterpillar wanted to unveil to potential customers which actually played out well for the heavy machine manufacturer. Putting it all together, what was achieved in the end was a plus for not just the manufacturer, but also a plus for the promotion of the profession which will go a long way for industry players.