In its most recent survey, the National League of Cities reported that 72 percent of the nation’s cities are cutting personnel and 60 percent are delaying or canceling infrastructure projects as the economic downturn continues to take its toll on municipal finances.
For companies that supply municipalities with everything from copiers to cranes, success now depends on the ability to design products that address the challenges faced by today’s cities, towns and counties.
“Municipalities today demand efficiency, flexibility and versatility,” said Ed Samera, general manager, Badger Equipment Company. “They’re under continued pressure to do more with less and, at Badger Equipment Company, we’re focused on helping municipalities overcome that challenge successfully.”
Get a one-hour job done in one-quarter of the time
Badger’s new 470TM telescoping boom excavator has been designed specifically to help municipalities be more efficient when performing roadway maintenance. Compared to a wheeled excavator, the highway-speed 470TM can cut work time and man-hours by more than 75 percent. It can be driven to the job site by a single operator, eliminating the need for a team to load, transport and unload it from a trailer. In addition, the 470TM parks easily at roadside, won’t impede traffic and can be up and running in minutes. The result? Three hours saved for each one-hour job, every day, every week and every year.
One piece of equipment has six different uses
The 470TM also addresses the critical need for municipal equipment to be versatile. For thousands less than competitive models, the 470TM does the work of up to six different pieces of equipment: an excavator, backhoe, trencher, grader, loader and crane.
Designed for municipalities, by municipalities
As the 470TM was being prototyped at Badger headquarters, visiting supervisors from a town in upstate New York were asked to provide input. “These folks had experience with Badger as well as other competitive products, and we wanted their honest feedback about how we could improve the machine to better meet the needs of municipalities,” said Samera. According to him, the visitors jumped at the chance to provide input and Badger incorporated many of their ideas into the final excavator design. “We’re a small company so we can be flexible enough to respond to input. And we wanted a product coming off the line that was going to be right.” Six months later, that same town in upstate New York took possession of its new 470TM telescoping boom excavator.
The design and development of the 470TM telescoping boom excavator illustrates the approach suppliers must take if they’re to remain competitive in the municipal market. A supplier has to focus on efficiency, be flexible and versatile.
All municipalities today need to do more with less and, for most cities, the fiscal challenges will continue. According to the National League of Cities survey, the local sector of the economy is now fully in the midst of realizing the effects of the recession from 2007-09 and the anemic economic recovery. The effects of depressed real estate markets, low levels of consumer confidence and high levels of unemployment will continue to play out in cities through 2012 and beyond.