In this growth period, we are focused on shipping more machines out the door, developing new products, and making sure a quality product is delivered, as well as making sure we have technicians ready to repair machines in the field, as cranes will break down.

Technology is moving pretty fast. There’s our 1,000t mobile coming out in the first quarter of 2008, and the CC 8800 twin-boom, scheduled to be delivered to Al Jaber in September. These are machines that are at the very high end.

Technology has also caused us problems. In 2005, we retrofitted over 400 machines with an IC-1 computer upgrade. We did this in the interests of the customer. We could have easily said that it was an upgrade only for new machines. It cost us some money, but I think it was our duty.

Part of the reason that the problem occurred was that when we acquired Demag in September 2002, it had no products in the range from 100-350t. We brought out close to 15-16 new models in two years. When you bring out so many machines, you’ll have hiccups, and that was our experience. There were too many machines launched too fast, with all of the technology going into them, and the launches needed to be planned better. Before our acquisition, Siemens owned Demag for three or four years, and it didn’t want to invest in new product development, so one of our first missions was to fill it up.

It bit us on the backside, and we learned from that, and we are now looking at things differently. We are now using a gate process in product development, and the end of each gate has to be signed off by me personally along with local management. This is a huge change in new product development of Terex Cranes.

The first gate is the initial stage of product management: going out to customers, relaying with engineers, working with marketing to determine the market potential. For example, the market wants a new 300 tonner, this is the market, these are the general specs. We started this process with the MAC project at Terex-Demag and our RT 1120 in the US.

The second gate is R&D and engineering, to start taking a look at feasibility, drafting specs, and establishing a target cost. The third gate is more into the supply base and purchasing. If we were to come up with this model, could we get the steel from the supply chain? Could we actually have our suppliers design a 300t-capacity cylinder? And so on. The fourth gate is bringing out a prototype, and costing analysis. The fifth gate is prototyping it, whether it’s one unit or four, putting it out in the field with certain customers for testing, bringing it back to do upgrades. At the end of this cycle it goes into production.

We have done this with machines coming out at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008: the new 300, the 1000, the Waverly RT 1120, the TC 60.


The global AT crane doesn’t exist today. We need a simple AT for the Middle East, and one that has all the bells that Ainscough might want

We are trying to differentiate where you can put technology, and how our customers will use it, and where you can’t. When you want to get into higher-capacity cranes, such as the CC 5800, CC 6800, CC 8800 Twin—and we are number one in crawler cranes over 300t capacity—you have got to have a certain level of innovation and technology built into the machine as you design it. The smaller machines, the 50t or 100t mobile cranes are fairly simplistic in design and technology.

I would say we don’t do a good enough job to talk with customers and explain why some machines need a level of technology and then listen to what they say and take it back home, and put it into a machine to sell worldwide.

The global AT crane doesn’t exist today. We need a simple AT for the Middle East, and one that has all the bells that an Ainscough [of the UK] might want, for example.

This is less of an issue with tower cranes, which don’t have hydraulics and are fully electric. RTs always remain simple, they don’t move along the road at high speeds, they don’t have single-cylinder pinned booms to complicates the machine.

In ATs, the reason why everyone has single-cylinder pinned booms is to get the dead weight out of the end of the boom when it is telescoped to maximum length. That is a demand from the customer. To do that kind of operation, we need to have the IC-1, the Liccon, the Ecos, as a trade-off to more capacity. We overcomplicate the machine in order to get an extra tonne, or two tonnes, out of a 50t or 200t-capacity crane.

PPM still has full-proportional hydraulic booms, which is why we want to continue to develop the French design, and see how far we can develop it. Today we can go up to 60t.

Customers know what they want. There is not enough dialogue between them and us. We are working on a plan with engineers to get them more out in the field to understand what the customers want. Part of the five-gate process has been putting product managers in place, which we did about 12-16 months ago. Those product managers are going out with engineers. The key thing is for the product management to play catch-ball with the engineers: if we do this, there will be trade-offs. The project managers are like an internal customer, they see with the eyes of the customer into our organisation. That’s what we didn’t have in the past.

I’ve seen this strategy be a success with the AC 1000, for which we already have substantial orders. Customers appreciate seeing us more in front of them asking questions.

Steve Filipov, president and CEO of Terex Cranes Steve Filipov, president and CEO of Terex Cranes The global AT crane doesn’t exist today. We need a simple AT for the Middle East, and one that has all the bells that Ainscough might want The global AT