Held every three years, this conference draws guests from around the world. Both Propeller and Trimble teams were in attendance with more than 160 people from across the globe.
This massive event had more presentations, activities, and equipment than you could see in a week. With over 600,000 attendees and 6.6 million square feet of exhibitor space, Bauma is the largest construction industry event in the industry.
For context on size, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has about 150,000 attendees annually; CONEXPO hosts approximately 150,000; and events like SXSW music festival have about 200,000.
For those we saw in person and those who couldn’t attend, here are our top three takeaways from the construction industry’s largest event of the year.
1. Digitization is the Future
The theme of digitization at this year’s Bauma event was hugely evident and more relevant than ever. With the growing digital transition of other industries, the engineering and construction industry, while showing signs of growth and integration, has a way to go.
With recent reports like the Bauma Industry Barometer, which surveyed over 10,000 industry experts and shows that 47% consider their investment in researching potential new technologies to be too low, we’re confident that digitization is a key component to the future of the industry. We also see the role that digitization plays on a global scale with over 34% of experts believing it to be a leading discussion topic.
The digitization of machinery, “makes it possible to check the machinery’s on-the-job performance, fuel consumption, and locations to define predictive maintenance to more precisely determine operating costs and to manage entire fleets via telematics.”
These new capabilities also open the industry up to other efforts such as automating work processes. Automation in this industry is a key component in addressing the increasingly important issue of the shortage of skilled labor.
2. Skilled Labor Shortage
According to McKinsey, “talent pools in digital native companies, even those outside the E&C industry; a particular focus should be given to candidates in other industries that have undergone a digital transition.”
This corroborates to a general increasing trend seen in construction labor costs and a reduction of young people entering the industry. The shortage of skilled labor will result in an even greater need for digital tools to support workers in not only the efficiency of their work but also the overall workload balance, as we are expecting to continue to see fewer workers entering the industry.
The Bauma Industry Barometer reports 58% of experts named the skilled labor shortage as the biggest challenge the industry is currently facing. Responses such as better employer branding, simplified training concepts, and digitally supported training options demonstrate how aware the industry is of the growing shortage and how determined they are to find solutions.
3. Move over Tesla, it’s heavy construction’s turn
Electrically powered equipment was another clear trends coming out of Bauma. Volvo launched electric versions of both its compact loader and excavator, which were big hits with the crowd.
Caterpillar’s new 988K XE loader with a high-efficiency electric drive system also showed that the possibilities of EV in the construction industry are not limited to smaller vehicles.
The third innovative release was Komatsu’s launch of a fully electric mini-excavator that can run for up to six hours.
Expect more on modernization and the global construction ecosystem’s future
Bauma 2019 showcased many new products and services, while also posing some big questions to the construction industry that we expect will help expedite solutions for growing concerns like skilled labor shortages and industry-wide digitization.
Going forward, we can expect to see more innovation and more solutions to existing concerns, along with continued conversations around the future of the global construction ecosystem.
Over the course of the seven days, we were fortunate enough to speak to attendees from over fifty different countries. Whether it was quarry consultants from Greece, big highway contractors from Serbia, or gold mining operations in Laos, we learned about the challenges and opportunities worksites face across the globe.
Whether or not you could make 2019’s event, mark your calendar for Bauma 2022. We’ll see you there!