The question is elemental: What direct resources does the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) offer the construction contractor? In other words, why should a contractor working in Utah, Texas, Florida, New Hampshire or anywhere else give a hoot about a trade association created specifically for equipment makers?
Construction Equipment Guide (CEG) visited AEM headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis., to get answers. CEG wanted to learn about direct resources of interest to the construction contractor. Understandably, the organization is geared toward its members, which are the manufacturers of the equipment, machines and services that the construction contractor uses daily to succeed.
Founded in 1894, AEM has more than 850 member companies, representing more than 200 product lines, across the United States, Canada and worldwide. The members are manufacturers of off-road equipment, products and services for the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors.
Here’s what AEM reports as its mission:
• AEM advances the off-road equipment manufacturing industry in the global marketplace, providing the necessary tools and resources to help all members compete successfully.
• For more than a century, AEM has provided a forum for industry-wide action that transcends individual member company size, product line or individual business concerns.
• AEM works at the national, provincial and international levels to create a strong and unified voice for equipment manufacturing and the entire industry.
To help achieve its goals, the association maintains branch offices in the world capitals of Washington, D.C., Ottawa, Canada, and Beijing, China.
Again, back to the core question any construction contractor might ask of AEM: “What’s in it for me?” The answer, CEG learned, is plenty.
In a meeting with Albert A. Cervero, vice president, construction, mining and utility, for AEM, CEG learned that the Association of Equipment Manufacturers benefits the construction contractor in five key areas.
(1) Trade Shows — AEM has created and runs trade shows that help equipment buyers and sellers more easily get together to conduct business. Its flagship is the gigantic ConExpo-Con/AGG exhibition, held every three years in Las Vegas, Nev. The next edition is March 7 to 11, 2017. In 2015, AEM ran the World of Asphalt (March 17 to 19 in Baltimore) and will run the International Construction & Utility Equipment Exposition known as ICUEE-The Demo Expo (Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 in Louisville).
“Our trade shows provide contractors with the opportunity to see the newest products and technology being offered and to compare and contrast different models and manufacturers,” stated Cervero. “Contractors will typically have access to manufacturers’ experts that may ordinarily be difficult to tap. Contractors can also meet other contractors who are based outside of their markets. If cultivated, these non-competing contractors can provide valuable input and ideas well beyond the trade show.”
(2) Education / Training — Each trade show offers contractor opportunities for education and training. For instance, at the last ConExpo-Con/AGG show held in 2014, there were more than 20,000 participants in the education and training sessions held there.
“Taking advantage of the extensive education sessions we offer is a key reason why many contractors attend a trade show,” Cervero said. “Plus, we have a lot of materials available all year long through our Web site,”
(3) Safety Manuals —According to AEM, its safety materials offer equipment operators and other jobsite personnel a convenient and cost-effective way to obtain safety information. The association’s extensive array of safety manuals, videos and related training materials are designed to assist manufacturers and the off-road equipment industry in fostering safety best practices.
The manuals and materials are developed by manufacturers under the auspices of AEM working groups and are updated every few years. AEM safety materials cover more than 40 types of equipment used in agricultural, construction, forestry, mining and utility applications. Select materials are available in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French and French Canadian.
All AEM safety and training materials are available online in the AEM store (www.safetymaterials.org). Some safety materials are offered in downloadable files or in DVD format.
(4) Political Advocacy —AEM was founded with the goal of advocating for better roads among federal and state governing bodies. A core issue is the need for a superior infrastructure system for improved productivity and quality of life.
AEM’s advocacy outreach advances the interests of off-road equipment manufacturing — for the benefit of all industry stakeholders, including contractors.
The association’s “I Make America” initiative focuses on making more noise in Washington through increased grassroots support for increased highway funding and pro-manufacturing policies in the United States that improve the economy and create jobs. The program has its own Web site www.IMakeAmerica.com, where anyone can sign up for alerts and progress reports.
In 2014, I Make America greatly increased its outreach at more than two dozen member-company gatherings to sign up supporters and bring its advocacy messages to communities and elected leaders. I Make America now has more than 40,000 supporters across the United States.
Additionally, AEM is developing a much more ambitious initiative, the AEM “Infrastructure 2050 Vision,” that is intended to be a comprehensive look at the future of infrastructure, from needs to the opportunities for improvement.
(5) Industry standardization — where possible, AEM supports industry- wide standards which can help manufacturers control production costs while benefiting the construction contractor end user.
Recently, AEM has collaborated with the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) to develop and advance an industry-wide standard for telematics to boost equipment management and productivity.
In 2014, the association unveiled and delivered a final draft of the joint AEM-AEMP industry-wide telematics standard. The standard is intended to provide an end-user, who operates with a mixed fleet, the ability to collect, manage and use apple-to-apple data.
The AEM-AEMP draft telematics standard is available at no charge to end-users, including contractors, fleet managers, rental managers and dealers/distributors, as well as OEMs, systems management firms and other interested construction/industrial and related industry professionals.
To achieve a globally recognized standard for conformity worldwide, the AEM/AEMP Draft Telematics API (Application Programming Interface) Standard is in the final stages of acceptance by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
“Although the Association of Equipment Manufacturers is intended for the builders of machines and equipment, the direct and indirect benefits to the construction contractor are many,” said Cervero. “Clearly, AEM offers contractors tremendous value.”