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The Eliminate Downtime movement takes a trip to Bauma

Google the word “downtime” and you’ll find as many definitions as there are online dictionaries. From downtime as a working period when an employee is not actively productive, to leisure time when a person is intentionally not working, the meaning of the word can be a matter of context. Equally, downtime can be defined as a machine (especially a computer) being out of service for repair, malfunction or maintenance reasons. It doesn’t end there.

As we continue to grow support for the movement to Eliminate Downtime in the construction industry, we hacked Bauma 2019 at the beginning of April. We made this journey to Munich to meet with progressive thinkers and influencers in the business who not only share the vision but are also adding their voices with others trying to increase the efficiency and sustainability of the sector.

What we found as we conversed was that almost everyone has a different perspective of downtime. And I’m OK with that, because we’re all entitled to our own view. In any case, our purpose in meeting was to add further weight, diversity and authority to the Eliminate Downtime committee. What we don’t want to do is get sidetracked trying to get agreement on a catch-all definition for downtime while the fortunes of construction continue to suffer.

Why a Committee for Eliminate Downtime?

The formation of a Committee is for the simple reason of ensuring that the leadership of the Eliminate Downtime movement is representative of the industry. We need people who are experienced throughout the value chain, from construction companies and contractors to equipment manufacturers and rental service providers, from consultancies and researchers to analysts, industry bodies and trade associations. We want them all; the established as well as the start-ups.

... no single individual or business has a silver bullet to eliminate downtime

Soeren Brogaard Jensen, Trackunit

The need for a round table is obvious. Just as no-one has a universal definition of downtime, no single individual or business has a silver bullet to eliminate downtime. We have a collective responsibility to take action rid ourselves of the mother of all our problems; lost revenue and profit, missed deadlines, wasted time, missing and damaged equipment, productivity losses, the site safety of the entire workforce including machine operators.

As of this moment, close to 20 respected thought leaders from the industry have signed up to be a part of the committee and to contribute to the journey. However, there are still open slots, so if you or someone you know should also join, please do not hesitate to reach out. We will shortly announce the members of the committee, so stay tuned.

The Bauma hack and Eliminate Downtime encounters

If you’ve never been to Bauma, you’ve missed a treat. It is a playground of monumental proportions where the great and the good of the global construction industry gathers to be inspired, see the latest innovations and do business. It’s held every three years at the Messe München, with April’s 7-day event attracting a staggering 3,700 exhibitors and 620,000 visitors. To give you some idea, it took nearly an hour of queuing just to get through the gate!

Everything is huge at Bauma

Our plan was to meet with both Committee members and other influencers either on their own booths or somebody else’s, and ask a few simple questions; what do they mean by downtime? If they were appointed President of the Construction Industry, what instruction would they give to eliminate downtime once and for all. The conversations were fascinating, and the insights gathered will be the subject of a number of blogs to be published on this site in the very near future.

Waiting for the next interview at Bauma

Some answers were surprising. Søren Rosenkrands, Chief Business Development Officer of Riwal Holding Group told me about the impact of hidden downtime. The tendency of contractors to hire spare machines on a just-in-case basis has led to 30 – 40 percent of equipment not being utilized. This is clearly a waste of money, and today Riwal are proactively advising contractors to de-hire machines not in use. However, firstly they’ve had to demonstrate the speed and effectiveness of their service team in getting equipment repaired and on the road again.

Brad Boehler, CEO at Skyjack talked about maintaining a balance between ensuring robustness, reliability and uptime, whilst also incorporating increasing levels of sophistication into new generations of equipment. In his view, some end customers prefer a “simple is best” solution on the basis of less to go wrong. However, it’s clear that there is an increasing expectation that equipment should be more technologically advanced, with greater capability to assist the operator with safe and reliable operations.

...maintaining a balance between ensuring robustness, reliability and uptime, whilst also incorporating increasing levels of sophistication into new generations of equipment.

Brad Boehler, Skyjack CEO

It was refreshing to meet with Laura Tönnies, CEO of Corrux GmbH who brings an almost entirely new worldview to the table. When construction is described as a laggard in technology adoption, we need to be clear that we’re talking specifically about digital technology. In fact, the industry is highly advanced in material technology. That aside, her view is that collaboration between manufacturers could produce an uptime bonus if there was more of a focus on sharing and interoperability.

Laura Tönnies, CEO of Corrux GmbH

If you’d like to read more about the rationale behind Eliminate Downtime, please see my last blog. If the movement resonates with you - if you can see large and small opportunities for savings and improvements, why not share your ideas with others? As a first step and to show your support, please click here to share our open letter to the industry. I look forward to receiving your ideas personally, as you act to help us meet our goal to Eliminate Downtime by 2025.

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