Jack of all trades, master of none

A theme began to appear as I was pulling this issue together: The idea of teamwork, idea sharing, open innovation, and working together for the greater good. Now, before you rush to grab your guitar to join in for a round of Kumbaya, consider our examples.

On page 12, our cover story features a new company's desire to meet the unheard voices of the materials handling industry, and the equipment they designed to do so. In order for the new company to accomplish its production goal, it needed outside design and development help. A quick deadline pushed its outsourced cab manufacturer to seek additional help, and the two companies collaborated for a successful equipment launch.

If you think about it, it is pretty common to work with outside resources for the design, development, production and/or testing of the manufacturing process. There are no experts of every aspect and angle of equipment manufacturing, much as the saying goes, "A jack of all trades, a master of none."

"Progressing along the Technology Roadmap," our feature on page 26, exemplifies the idea of working together—and not against one another—for a common goal. In order for the Fluid Power industry to remain competitive in the off-road equipment and other markets, the members of the National Fluid Power Assn. (NFPA) have organized under six common research and development challenges existing in the fluid power industry. 

The concept of open innovation, according to Dr. Henry Chesbrough, is that "in a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research, but should instead buy or license processes or inventions (i.e. patents) from other companies. Not all [of] the smart people work for us. We need to work with smart people inside and outside the firm. External research and development can create significant value”.

You can read more about open innovation, and how it was used during a collaboration between PT Tech and Rj Link to create a custom clutch solution for Airport Technologies' high-horsepower runway snowblower on page 20.


Our special CONEXPO & IFPE section on page 44

A new column, "Legal Affairs" covering a wide range of legal topics. This issue, David A. McClurg, head of the Labor & Employment Section at Cook & Franke, covers unions on page 77.

PLUS....THE RETURN OF "OFF-HIGHWAY HEROES" on page 86! The Historical Construction Equipment Assn. will be supplying OEM Off-Highway with equipment gems of the past. We are ecstatic to deliver this wildly requested column back into our pages and on our website, www.oemoffhighway.com