Education remains important. "The issue confronting the industry is equipment-manufacturer training," says Richard LeFrancois, president of EMI-Global. "Once the technology comes off warranty, end users have to come up with an internal program for managing the technology—or go out of business."

Global Competition: Restructuring for New Markets

Major executive moves have shaken up equipment manufacturers over the past year as U.S. companies refocus their efforts to reach out to global customers.

A notable departure was Tim Frank leaving his CEO role at Sany America. Frank now leads International Construction Products, which is brokering Chinese equipment brands to North America. Mike Rhoda, Sany America's new CEO, has an international background, having held positions at both Doosan and Volvo.

Chinese manufacturers are going big at CONEXPO in their continued pursuit of customers in North America. Zoomlion is bringing all five of its rough-terrain crane models, and China-based Liugong is seeking partners to help it get into the U.S. It is offering Liugong-branded Twinlock Powerlatch couplers on its excavators, as part of a tie-up with Miller.

Manitowoc's crane division has seen some executive shuffling, with the entire senior management team now responsible for the global market, including related Crane Care services.

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