Caterpillar, Innovation and the Internet of Big Things

June 10, 2015

In remarks at the Caterpillar Inc. 2015 annual stockholders meeting, Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman said the “incredible” Wamego employees are like every one of Caterpillar’s 113,000 employees around the world – dedicated to constant improvement and constant innovation. Wamego manufactures work tools – the buckets, blades, grapples and forks that make Caterpillar’s machines so versatile and valuable to Caterpillar customers.

Oberhelman also said that when Caterpillar thinks about innovation, they don’t think outside “boxes.” Caterpillar thinks inside and outside the machine.

For 90 years, Caterpillar has designed, built and delivered breakthrough innovations inside their machines and engines, from the diesel engine and the elevated sprocket to the hybrid excavator and dynamic gas blending, just to name a few.

Oberhelman’s remarks lauded that legacy and outlined an even stronger future of innovation inside the machine. He gave multiple examples, including how the company will use big data to help its customers.

“This isn’t difficult,” he said, because Caterpillar specializes in big – big trucks, big machines and big engines. “Big data is just the next big on our list.”

He highlighted some recent acquisitions, investments and plans for outside the machine. They include the next generation of predictive data analytics that analyze, diagnose and provide operating recommendations for Caterpillar machines and engines wherever they are in the world; an expanded power generation portfolio; venture capital and strategic investments in promising technologies and business models.

Caterpillar currently invests more than $2 billion each year on research and development, has R&D centers and proving grounds around the world, and holds more than 15,000 pending and granted patents worldwide.

In the industries Caterpillar serves today, they have the largest population of connected machines and engines in the world. That’s why Oberhelman said, “Caterpillar goes beyond the Internet of things, to the Internet of big things.”

He said Caterpillar is “investing in companies that think and act differently than we do… We are trying to disrupt ourselves in our own way, before others can disrupt us.”

Oberhelman described Caterpillar today as a “mighty and diverse” workforce and said that diversity promises even more innovation in the future. He concluded by stating that innovation is Caterpillar’s promise to stockholders, customers and employees.

“It’s how we will keep our 90-year-old company forever young and strong.” 

13 Innovations Highlighted in Oberhelman’s Remarks at the 2015 Annual Stockholders Meeting

When we think about innovation, we don’t think outside “boxes.” We think inside and outside the machine.

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CEO Doug Oberhelman’s Full Remarks at the 2015 Annual Stockholders Meeting

We have an incredible legacy. While we look back with pride, we also look forward to an even stronger future filled with innovative products and services.

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