It turns out this company has been innovating for decades and its most recent innovation is a refuse truck that loads with an automated All-Can grabber that can reach side-to-side—the only one of its kind. You might ask, “so what?” The truck comes fully equipped with a joystick-controlled robotic arm with a claw, used to automatically lift and tip wheeled bins into the truck’s hopper. The Automated Side Loader only needs one operator, where a traditional rear load garbage truck may require two or three people. Less labor and thus less cost; more profits for the waste management company who invests in these trucks.
Companies like McNeilus are an inspiration to entrepreneurial minded businesses. They add value to their customer’s operations (in this case increasing their bottom line by eliminating not only labor cost, but also benefits and worker’s compensation cost). Engineers at this Company are relentless in their pursuit of designing and implementing new concepts in a very mature industry.
Here are three key takeaways:
- Innovate passionately. Calling attention to problems or identifying opportunities is often easy. What business leaders seek are solutions. New concepts that will either complete the missing piece of the puzzle, or will contribute to profitability and growth in a whole new way.
- Push your thinking. We often think that ideas, like the side loader, come from aliens with massive brains and high density super computers. When faced with difficult business challenges, dig deep, get rid of the distractions (start with your smart phone) and force yourself to think it through. Collaboration with colleagues is another way to get clarity of thought.
- Make a difference. Not all creative thought has to be as dramatic as the Side Loader. The key is to end each day with this question “Did I make a difference today”? With a shrinking employed labor force, business leaders and their customers are looking for innovative problem solvers who make a difference.