A Bauma Already Like None Other
Published: 10/10, 2022
When the doors closed on the last day of Bauma 2019, few could have imagined the changes and challenges we would experience before the world’s construction community again gathered in Munich. To say that a lot has happened in the intervening 1,289 or so days would be a huge understatement.
The COVID-19 pandemic, of course, tops the list, with the virus’s distinctive spikes appropriately symbolizing the many ways it figuratively turned the planet upside down. How many of us lost friends or family members to the virus, or are dealing with so-called “long COVID” effects that may never abate? Who hasn’t had to adjust their work practices or develop new habits in the name of keeping ourselves and others safe?
Thankfully, vaccines, refined safety protocols, and basic awareness have helped humankind cope with and, in some cases, overcome COVID-19’s hazards. But the virus and its variant-driven ripple effects are still very much with us—from disrupted supply chains to exacerbating an already strained labor market. Inflation likewise has infected most of the world’s economies, with some faring better than others.
Even though it appears Bauma’s gamble to hold its 2022 edition later in the year stands a good chance of paying off in terms of relatively strong exhibitor and attendance numbers, there’ll still be the specter of an active war just a time zone away, its own disruptive effects yet to fully unfold.
Still, it’s important to remember that shows like Bauma aren’t held in defiance or ignorance of the world’s challenges; rather, they showcase humans’ intrinsic ability to adapt and respond to them. In the construction and demolition arena, for example, consider how many machines have become easier to operate and maintain in response to the aforementioned shortage or workers, or the energy technology that supports long hours of productive operation without the need for conventional fuels—a feature that benefits the planet as well as contractors’ bottom lines.
Though it may seem that every manufacturer offers a telematics platform today, the ability to monitor and evaluate machine performance offers a host of intriguing opportunities for streamlining operations and staying competitive while also providing customers the most value for their investment. And appropriately for a time when “supply chain” is on everyone’s mind, mega-shows like Bauma offers insights into other facets of the industry and how their innovations influence and complement what end-users do, and how they do it.
For contractors in the Americas, Bauma 2022 may offer a harbinger of what to expect next year, when Conexpo-Con/Agg reconvenes in Las Vegas. (2020 attendees will recall that it was the prospect of COVID-cancelled flights that forced the show’s early shutdown and mass exodus from Las Vegas.) No one can say what the world and the industry will be dealing with then—the same issues as today, or things that have yet to emerge.
Maybe that’s the best motivation to stage a Bauma or Conexpo. They are supersized reminders that not every problem is intractable, and that while you may not always find what you want, you may well discover exactly what you need.
If you do make the trip to Munich in October to take in some of that precious optimism, we hope to see you there.
Jim Parsons, Senior Editor