OBERHELMAN ON CNBC: A RENAISSANCE IN MANUFACTURING
Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman, along with Honeywell Chairman and CEO Dave Cote, was featured this morning on CNBC’s Squawk Box on its “voice of manufacturing” day. “We’re in the very beginning of a renaissance,” Doug said about manufacturing.
Innovation is the Past and Future
Caterpillar has a long history of innovation and using leading edge technology to provide customer solutions. “We are seeing a lot of things happening inside our factories that are really cool,” said Doug. “It’s exciting.” Through Cat® Connect and other leading products, Caterpillarmachines are connected to each other, our factories, Caterpillar engineers and the equipment owners. “In the next twenty years, they will be more so,” Doug explained. “That generates more opportunity.” Caterpillar is constantly pushing forward, researching ways to move more dirt with less fuel, developing products that generate lower emissions and creating autonomous vehicle solutions. Doug repeated the message he’s telling employees every day: Innovation is key, now and in the future.
Market Access Means Sales and Growth
Caterpillar delivers its very best products and services, but that alone doesn’t ensure success. Laws and regulations around the world directly affect our operations and financial future. Doug underscored the need for pro-growth policies, including trade agreements. “We need access to markets. If foreign markets are opened even further and if the international playing field is level, we can expect even more opportunities for Caterpillar,” Doug said. “If we can … be on a level playing field, we win.”
This level playing field also includes the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Caterpillar strongly supports the reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank that supports our customers and suppliers around the world. Failure to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank may likely cede business to Caterpillar’s overseas competitors. “We need the Ex-Im bank, bottom line.” Purchases of Caterpillar products are often contingent upon Ex-Im Bank financing because if customers can’t get financing from the U.S. Ex-Im Bank, they can get comparable financing from the export credit agencies of other countries and that benefits our competitors.
We’ve Got to Win in China
Doug addressed the importance of China to Caterpillar for many reasons, including that it is the largest construction equipment market in the world. “We’ve got to play and win in China.” He went on to advocate that we need to manufacture and sell where our products are in demand, rather than “chase cheap labor. … If we’re not in China, we jeopardize our future for the long term.”
The Future of Manufacturing
It’s an exciting time to be in manufacturing. “We’ve managed for 90 years to pull through cycles,” said Doug, and Caterpillar is built for this renaissance in manufacturing.